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How GoodNotes Helps Me Practice Guitar

A few months ago, David Sparks and I interviewed Michael Hyatt for the Focused podcast. Michael talked about the value of a coach in learning a new skill, and shortly after I started taking guitar lessons with someone through Zoom. It’s been a lot of fun, but also very challenging. As a self-taught guitar player who picked up the instrument in college, I’ve never really studied music theory and I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to scales and modes.

Playing guitar

My teacher sent me a photo of a hand-written sheet that has been the basis of a lot of our lessons so far. He’s written down the exercises he wants me to practice, as well as the different modes on the guitar neck in the key of G major. As I’ve been practicing, I keep going back to this image for reference. But I also want to cement these shapes and patterns in my brain, and to recreate these myself as a form of self-test. So, I started looking for some blank PDF guitar fretboard charts online.

I quickly came to two conclusions:

  1. There’s lots of stuff available for free.
  2. I didn’t like any of them.

Most of the PDFs I found included fretboards that were either 12 frets or 24 frets long, but I wanted 15. I also wanted 7 on a page, so that I could write out all seven modes on a single page.

So, I created my own in Affinity Designer.

Blank Guitar Fretboard GoodNotes

Once I had the PDF, I added it as a custom template in GoodNotes and created a new notebook in my GoodNotes library. Now I can open the Guitar notebook in GoodNotes and drag from right-to-left to create a new blank page using my custom template. From here, I just annotate the PDF if I want to “practice” by writing out my modes and scales using the tools in GoodNotes.

Guitar GoodNotes Fretboard Scales

(Here’s the link if you want to download it and use it yourself.)

Being able to use custom templates like this is one of the things that makes GoodNotes our pick for the best app for taking handwritten notes on the iPad. Shawn has also written before about using his own custom productivity templates in GoodNotes. Heck, our 2021 Digital Planner is even built for GoodNotes!

We’ve even got a few productivity templates that we’re giving away for free, along with detailed instructions on how to use them below.

Wait. There’s a Bonus….

Custom Productivity Templates

We have a set of custom productivity templates that work well with the iPad app, GoodNotes. And if you want to try them out, we’ve put together a free guide that can help you.

We’ll show you…

  • How to create and save custom page templates in GoodNotes.
  • How to use those page templates to transform GoodNotes into your own productivity notebook (or any other type of notebook replacement).

Plus, we also have included a couple of our custom productivity templates for you to get started with. These templates are right out of our popular productivity course.

The custom templates and the guide are available for FREE to our email subscriber community. And you can get it right now. By joining the Sweet Setup community you’ll also get access to our other guides, early previews to big new reviews and workflow articles we are working on, weekly roundups of our best content, and more.