The guitar differs from keyboard instruments in that the same note can occur
in different places. This is an advantage, because different tone colorations can
be achieved by playing notes in different positions. Also, it also often facilitates
keeping the hand in position without having to leap backward and forward to find
the right notes.
Learning the equivalents is a device that some people use to memorize the higher
position notes. For instance, you can see that the fifth fret of the second string
is an E, and that it is the same note as the familiar open first string. Logically,
the next note up will be the F, the same note as the F at the first fret on the
first string. Continuing this research, you will find that every note in the fifth
position is the same as one in the first position, with the exception of the higher
notes A, B, and C on the first string.
You can even memorize notes when you’re away from the guitar by simply working
out where the equivalents have to be. Using logic to work this out helps fix the
notes in the mind.
Here is an exercise to start familiarizing you with the fifth position. Try very
hard to find the notes from the music notation before checking with the tablature
below. The tablature is a crutch, and the sooner you can throw it away the better.
The circled number indicates the string in standard notation.