As we’ve been covering barre chords in previous articles, Here’s a way to memorize the notes of the A string, so we can identify the barre chords all over the neck.
First, we’ll come up with a “Fifth String Tune”. Memorize the following pattern of notes, taking care to notice where your fingers fall in relation to the dots on the neck.
The first 3 notes are D, E, & F. You should be at the 5th position, meaning your first finger at the 5th fret of string 5, using your 1st, 3rd, and 4th fingers. The next two are lower, they are B & C, using 1st and 2nd fingers. Then jump up to the 10th position to play G & A with 1st and 3rd fingers. Recite the names as you play them in the order presented: “D, E, F, B, C, G, A.” This is how we can memorize the names of the natural notes. Do this at least once every day, whenever you pick up the guitar, until it is memorized.
Realize that a sharp/flat note shows up anywhere that there isn’t a fingered note. F#/Gb is between the F and G notes. G#/Ab is between the G and A notes. A#/Bb between A and B, C#/Db between C and D, D#/Eb between D and E. When we get to the 12th fret, the notes start over again. The note at the 13th fret has the same name as the note on the 1st fret. Think of the 13th fret and above as the “little guitar neck”. Dots at the 15th fret, 17th, and 19th frets correspond with the dots at the 3rd, 5th, and 7th frets.
Using the chart below, play the A Form barre chord, with it’s root on string 6, and move the chord up and down the neck to play the correct chords. This isn’t going to sound overly musical, but it will help you memorize the notes on the neck.
When you’ve completed this exercise, you’ve played all of the major chords that can be played on the 6th string, without going over the octave. We don’t generally play chords past the 10th fret. In this exercise, we’ve got a couple above the 10th fret in order to learn the notes on string 5.