How To Read Guitar Notes

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There are two basic needs for anybody wanting to learn guitar. One is to work on the motor skills you need to play music. The other is the necessity to learn to read the notes on the guitar. I can tell you what notes are on the guitar fretboard but learning how to read the language of the guitar notes is a new skill that will need some hard work put into it.

The two sets of lines you see on piano music are the leger lines. The high notes are on the top set of lines and the bottom set of lines is called the bass clef shows us the low notes. The good news is that in guitar music we only need to read the high notes. In order to read these notes you will have to put in a few minutes every day. You can learn to read notes using many high-falutin’ methods but you really only need one of those music primers you can get at any music store.

The notes on the open strings of the guitar are (low to high) E A D G B E. The lowest note on the guitar is the thickest string played without your fingers at any fret. The next thickest string is the A string, the next is the fourth string – D, the third string is the G, the second B and the first string is E again. The two E’s are two octaves apart.

An essential tool for learning how to read the guitar notes is a guitar fretboard diagram. If you look at it for a while it will start to swim before your eyes. If you look at it for a little longer you will start to see some patterns. You will see that some notes have an empty fret between them and some are next to each other without a fret between them. The frets between the notes are the accidental notes – the sharps and flats. I do not know why they are called accidentals because their appearance is has its own pattern.

Let us take a look at these so-called “accidentals”. The note on the first fret on the sixth string is an F. The next note is not G, but F sharp which is written F#. It can also go by the name of G flat, written as Gb. The reason for this is that it is not only the note ABOVE F but also the note BELOW G. Accidentals do not appear between the notes E and F or B and C.

The guitar notes go along each string and from string to string. Part of the work of learning to read guitar notes is to put the guitar fretboard up on a wall and play the notes on your guitar. Looking at the notes on sheet music will show you that every note appears different as it progresses further up the fretboard. To learn the notes as they appear on the sheet music you can take note that the notes in the spaces between the lines spell the word FACE. The notes on the lines spell EGBDF. Nobody knows what this word is but you can use it as an acronym for Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit.

These few basic facts are all the material you need to begin to read and understand the guitar notes. It will be very rewarding for you to go on now and work out more patterns for yourself.

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