I was reading this book on music theory, i just want to confirm with everybody here if my understandinng is correct. See screenshot below

enter image description here

On the B string 1st fret and 3rd and also on the E string 1st fret.

I think this would be a typo? Because notes are supposed to be laid out from A-F consecutively on the 1st to 3rd fret of the guitar. And based on the image above it doest not follow it.

So my understanding is on the B string it is supposed to be B(open) - C - C# - D

And on the High E string it would be E(open) - F - so on

Additional information, the book brokedown the fretboard into 3 parts for easy memorization. The above image is the 1st block (1st -3rd fret)

Please do correct me if I’m wrong. Im a beginner by the way and started to understand music theory

  • 4
    Yes, note number 13 should be a C, and number 16 should be an F. Also, on the 3rd string C♯/A♭ should be G♯/A♭, and note number 14 should be a D. I would be a little wary of a book with so many mistakes on a simple fretboard diagram.
    – user39614
    Mar 22, 2018 at 2:56
  • Ohh yes thank you, its a good thing i understood the concept i wouldn’t have noticed the error. Anyway, what book would you recommend for a Dummy like me? Im using music theory for dummies by the way. I rather prefer books which is simple to understand and a bit less technical on the terms. Thanks
    – lemoncodes
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:00
  • @ lemoncodes- Another theory book along the same lines and written for common people is "idiots guide to music theory". It was useful to me when I started studying theory. I still study a lot, but like anything else, I feel I've advanced past the scope of that particular book, but I think it gave me a strong basic understanding of music theory and made it so I could advance. Mar 24, 2018 at 22:23

2 Answers 2


You are correct. The notes on the diagram are wrong - should be as you stated.

First fret on the G string is also wrong: It's G#, not C#. @DavidBowling mentioned another error too - I didn't look through it all carefully now.

We don't give specific recommendation here, but Music theory for Dummies is generally considered a pretty good book. I have it and I've found it to be helpful on certain points. It takes a logical, well thought out approach from the ground up, it's quite comprehensive and the content seems accurate, although I haven't diligently read it from cover to cover.

What often happens is that the people making the diagrams are not the people writing the book, so the diagram isn't necessarily a reflection on the book at large. It might just mean that the editor didn't check the diagrams carefully or didn't know all the technicalities of the subject matter.

You should also be cognizant of the fact that a guitar method book and a general theory book are two different things. How to play a particular instrument correctly is different than learning music theory. There are some very good players who don't know much at all about theory, and vice-versa: Excellent theoreticians who aren't very good players at all.

I've found that a pretty good way to get an idea of book's quality is to look for popular books on Amazon - they will generally have any number of reviews from people who have used the book, detailing its strengths and weaknesses, its target audience, etc. Spend some time going through the reviews - the good one and the bad ones.

You can often preview a book online too - look at things like the introduction, table of contents and index to get and idea of whether or not a book is for you. A poorly indexed book, or one that has poorly written intro is often a tip-off that the book isn't very good. One thing is for sure: "Don't judge a book by its cover"Ignore the fantastic claims on the cover: These Three Licks Will Make You a Guitar God!... Sight-Reading Like a Pro in 3 Days!... and evaluate the book by its contents and its reviews.

  • Yes i agree, i was just reading the books for the note relationship (scale, chord, intervals, etc) before i dive in playing a specific instrument. Basically i want to learn the very basic of music before diving into specifics( in my case, guitar ). The reason is i don’t want to learn chords via memorization (pattern) but i want to learn how a specific chord is constructed.
    – lemoncodes
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:16
  • 2
    @lemoncodes -- I haven't seen the Music Theory for Dummies book myself, but I have heard of several people liking it for a first look at theory, and a quick glance at the Amazon reviews suggests that it is OK. Keep reading carefully, as you have been, to catch other typos or mistakes in diagrams. You might consult some good online resources to supplement what you find in the book. Justin Guitar seems like a pretty sound resource, though I haven't been through that site in detail. And you can always ask questions here as they arise :)
    – user39614
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:26
  • 2
    @lemoncodes - OK well - we're not here to give you a whole program of guitar study. I'd suggest you take some lessons from a good teacher - face to face. You don't have take lessons forever - 6 months or a year might be plenty to get you going. But there is no substitute for a good personal teacher when you're just starting and trying to find your way.
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:26
  • @lemoncodes - This is also a good theory book: Harmony and Theory: A Comprehensive Source for All Musicians It's more concise than Dummies and covers a lot of territory well, although it requires more work than Dummies.
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 22, 2018 at 4:32

I've come across a specific method to make it easier to learn the notes on a guitar fretboard by first learning the notes on all six strings at the fifth and twelfth frets (same as open), and then referencing the location of the other notes on the individual strings relative to the fifth and twelfth fret. This is a system recommended by Ted Greene, a highly respected teacher and author of guitar studies in the U.S.


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