Recently I got this interesting comment from a Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy member.


“When I first started playing, I could play songs note by note without tab. In other words, I had learned the notes on the fretboard well enough to use them to read the music. Somewhere along the line, I lost that and that makes me very sad. I am determined to get it back as it was so very useful. I’m going to use this lesson to get back what I lost.”


Learning the notes on the fretboard is a crucial skill as you develop.

Not just because it will give you more understanding of what you play…

…but because it will also help you connect many of the dots of music, allow you to play things in different ways across the neck…

And have freedom on the guitar to create, jam, arrange, and improvise.


Being able to quickly recall various notes on the fretboard is a key skill that helps to separate an intermediate and a beginner guitarist.

So how do you learn this skill?

There are multiple ways such as these:


Learn the notes on the low E string – this is a great starting point, but be methodical and don’t try to learn them all in one go.

Use theory – such as the fact the E and F notes are always one semitone apart, meaning they are one fret apart wherever you are on the fretboard.

Fretboard patterns such as the “Octave Jump” – this is where you use patterns to find the same notes in different places (I talk about this in my Guitarists Get Theory book).


And then there is another way…

One of my favourites.

It is practical and fun and uses real music.

I do this with private students and here’s how it works:

I give them a song but I don’t teach it to them.


Instead, I tell them the notes needed to be able to play the song.  e.g. G F# B, etc.

…And I tell them an area of the fretboard or a string to find these notes.

If they can find these notes, they can play the song.


Very simple, but not easy.

Yet, it’s a highly practical challenge that is like the reverse of how many people learn the fretboard.

…But when it comes to learning anything faster and more effectively, attacking the subject from different angles is proven to make a big difference.

Plus, this little method is fun as it applies theory AND real music.

So, it’s well worth getting a friend (or a teacher if you have one) to do this for you if you can.


If you want a ready-made challenge like this, then on Wednesday I’ll be releasing one of these in the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.

We’re taking the first part of a famous Christmas carol and applying this method to it.

I know it’s only October, but it’s never too early to get learning Christmas tunes in my opinion (side note – I have a student who practises “Silent Night” all year round – she loves it that much.)

Anyway, you can find out more about the Academy below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. If you join the academy, you will also get my Guitarists Get Theory book posted to you for free (this book expands upon the fretboard and teaches this stuff in a super easy to digest way).

Soon I’ll be running out of copies of this book.

After that point, I’ve decided I will no longer be giving out any more free copies as a gift for future new members…

So, if you want to get my book on theory for free and the new lessons, here is the place to get them.


P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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