Watch the Chapter 1: The Fretboard online guitar lesson by Frank Vignola from Modern Method for Guitar
In addition to explaining the guitar's layout, the first lesson covers basic concepts and terms that will be used throughout the book.
1. From lowest pitch to highest, the six guitar strings are named E-A-D-G-B-E.
2. We refer to each string with a number. The top E string, which is highest in pitch, is the 1st string, the 2nd is B, the 3rd - G, the 4th - D, the 5th - A, and the 6th is Low E, the bottom string.
3. From the low E to the A string is an interval called a 4th. From the strings A to the D and the D to the G are also a 4th apart. From the G string to the B string is a 3rd and then from the B to the high E is another 4th.
4. The frets are metal wires embedded in the fingerboard. They are numbered from 1 up, starting at the 1st, the fret farthest from your body.
5. Each fret is a 1/2 step. A whole step is made up of 2 frets.
6. The fret board is arranged based on the chromatic scale, which contains all 12 notes played sequentially.
7. The musical alphabet is 7 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
8. There is a whole step between notes A and B; there is a natural 1/2 step between notes B and C, whole steps between C-D, D-E and another half step between E and F.
9. Think of a piano keyboard: the white keys that are not separated by a black key are B and C and E and F. Unlike the guitar, which is arranged on the chromatic scale, the keyboard is laid out based on the major scale.
10. If you start at C on the piano and play every white key until you get to the next C (octave), you play the C major scale.
11. Each note or step of any major scale can be referred to by Roman numerals. More commonly we refer to notes in the scale with numbers, such as the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.
12. Roman numerals refer to the chords that can be built on each note of the major scale. I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, and vii. The root chord is built on the first note of the major scale, so the first note here is the I chord; the chord built on the 5th note of the major scale is referred to as the V chord. Uppercase Roman numerals indicate a major chord; lowercase indicate a minor chord.