Play along Lesson – Step 1 – Find the home fret

Find the ‘home fret’ and lock

The ‘home fret’ (in yellow) as the name suggests, is what I think of as the ‘home’ for your song, and it will be in a different fret depending on the key of the song playing. From the home fret, you will be able to lock into the ‘magic’ pattern and place chords.


  • Sit comfortably with your guitar, making sure that its tuned correctly to standard tuning.
  • Pick a song from your collection, preferably with a strong melody. 
  • Put the song onto ‘repeat so you don’t have to be interupted when doing this excercise

Find the pattern!

You are looking to find the above pattern of notes on your D string. Its like two skipped frets bookended by two notes next to each other.

  • Listen carefully to the melody and on your D string (That’s the third string down)…
  • … Find a note that sounds right when played along the song. Usually this is one of the main melody notes. 
  • Once you have this note, feel around this note by play some notes above on the same D string Until you find the pattern.

The home fret is located on the centre note.

Tip: when you find two notes together, this could be either the top or bottom pair. You’ll need to experiment to find which it is by playing notes above and below until the pattern fits. Sometimes the pattern seems to fit, but is not quite right – This usually means trying some chords in each suggested spot – you’ll learn these chords later, but for now concentrate on the pattern. In essence, if its not quite sounding right, try moving the pattern so the two top are now the two bottom notes and vice versa. This gets easier over time and is a fun puzzle in itself!

Second Tip for Mode Decoder users: This fret is the same as your Location 3 fret – so if you already know your key or mode, you can set the Mode Decoder to that key and find the fret easily! In time you will find that many songs are written in the same keys – A minor / C Major; E minor / G major are popular and you’ll find a joy in recognising these when you come across them.