This is easy to get this down if you learn one string at a time. Learn just one string per day and really focus on memorizing it. That may seem slow at first, but in 6 days you’ll have it down. If you take on too much at once, you won’t progress as quickly. Do as many exercises as you can, as often as you can. 10 minutes at a time, 5 times a day is more effective than two hours all at once. Leave everything setup so you can get started quickly.

For these exercises, use your first finger on the first fret, your second finger on the second fret, and your third finger on the third fret, no matter what string you’re on.

Try to get each note to ring out clearly. Place your finger just behind the raised wire called the Fret Wire.

  • If you place your finger too far back or don’t press firmly, you’ll get a buzzing sound.
  • If you place your finger on top of the wire, it will dampen the string such that the string will not ring out clearly.

Tip: It will help if you sing out the name of the note as you play it. This builds your ear as well as internalizes the note names, note recognition and frettings.

Day 1

fretboard first position - 1st string

1st String Exercise.pdf

Go ahead and start reading the next lesson on Reading Music. It explains the standard music notation you see in the exercises. You won’t have to understand it all right away because we will be starting with simple notations. You will naturally pick up more details as you go along.

Day 2

fretboard first position - 2nd string

1st and 2nd String Exercise.pdf

Day 3

fretboard first position - 3rd string

1st through 3rd String Exercise.pdf

Day 4

fretboard first position - 4th string

1st through 4th String Exercise.pdf

Day 5

fretboard first position - 5th string

1st through 5th String Exercise.pdf

Day 6

fretboard first position - 6th string

1st through 6th String Exercise.pdf

Day 7

Get an easy book of music in the key of C (no sharps or flats) and practice sight reading.

* Note: Fake Books typically have just the treble clef line vs. left and right hand keyboard parts. Some fake books only have chord names and maybe strumming patterns. For these excises, we want the treble clef melody line of notes.

** Note: A book “for C Instruments” is not at all the same as a book “in the Key of C”. The word “Easy” in the title is a better indicator that all the songs have been transposed to the Key of C, which is easier to read.

If you are ordering a book, go ahead and get started on the Ear Training – Melody Lines lesson over in our Learn Music section while you’re waiting for your book to arrive.

Once your book arrives, set your metronome or click track to 60 BPM, or slower if necessary, and Play straight through from page 1 to the end of the book, whether you know how the song goes or not, then repeat.

Even if you make mistakes, keep moving. It’s ok to sound mechanical at this point. You’re learning to build your reading skill. As you get better, increase the metronome speed slightly. This builds your sight reading skills in a way that working on one song at a time, or one section at a time does not.

Before buying a metronome, read our Practice Aids page in our Guitar Gear section.

Reading music is an important skill to have. As you internalize it, you will overcome the fear or resistance to reading music.

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