Get to Know he Notes on the Guitar - Lesson 1
Written by Philip du Toit   
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 13:08

 

The best way to learn is to learn with your left and right brain.  Try also to see where the notes are in pictures (e.g. the low E is the lowest open string, F is on the first fret).  Many guitars have dots on the neck that serve as markers for specific notes.  In the picture below, notice how the open strings on a guitar correspond to the notes on a piano.  Try and learn these open notes by heart (EADGBE).  This will also help you to tune the guitar.  Remember to practice your ear by listening to the same notes on a piano or keyboard.  Notice where Middle C is (to the right). 

 

Each descending or ascending fret on a guitar  is a semitone (half tone) higher or lower than the previous note.  See how this corresponds to the notes on a piano (each adjacent note on a piano is also one semitone).  It is important that you know how the notes follow on a piano in order to know which note each fret on the guitar represents.  E.g.  you have to know that the note following a B is a C (not a B# or a Cb), and that the note following an E is an F (not a E# or an Fb), for on the piano, B and C is a semitone apart (and next to each other) and E and F is a semitone apart (and next to each other).  So, on the guitar, a C will follow a B directly (next fret) and an F will follow an E directly (next fret).  All the other adjacent frets will be a sharp or a flat. 

 

Take time to understand this...

 

 

It will be very useful for you to learn where on the guitar the following notes are, especially if you later learn how to play bar chords:

 

On the first string (lowest string), memorize where on the guitar the following notes are:

E (open)
G (third fret)
A (fifth fret)
B (seventh fret)

(If your guitar has dots on the neck, see where these notes lie relative to these dots)

 

On the second string (second lowest string), memorize where on the guitar the following notes are:

A (open)
B (second fret)
C (third fret)
D (fifth fret)

(If your guitar has dots on the neck, see where these notes lie relative to these dots)

 

All the notes in between you can work out as you go.

 

A sharp   is a semitone higher on the guitar (one fret up) from the plain note.  (e.g.  on the first [lowest] string F is on fret 1 and F# is on fret 2).
A flat  is a semitone lower on the guitar (one fret down) from the plain note (e.g. on the second string B is on fret 2 and Bb is on fret 1).

On a guitar, a C# and a Db is therefore the same fret / note (as is an Eb and a D#, etc.). 

 

Take time to understand this...

 

 

Depending on which key you are in, you either use flats or sharps (e.g. you use sharps in the key of D, E, etc. and you use flats in F).  To understand this, you need to understand basic scale theory.

 

 

  Advance to:

 

  Lesson 2 - Basic Scale Theory


 

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