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Note reading 2

Twelve notes

Here are all the notes that exist in Western music:


A  A# (or Bb)  B  C  C# (or Db)  D  D# (or Eb)  E  F  F# (or Gb)  G  G# (or Ab)


Twelve notes. That’s it.


Accidentals (sharps and flats) can be a pain because each one has two possible names. But you’ll get used to that.


Where are they on the guitar?

The problem is to locate them on the neck of the guitar.  As it turns out, it’s ridiculously logical.


Start with the open strings – E A D G B E.


Let’s take the low E string and look at the first fret. All you need to do is count up one from E in that 12 note sequence that I have above. Doing that brings you to an F. The first fret’s name, therefore, is F.


Keep going up fret by fret. Every time you get to a new fret, go up one in the 12 note sequence. The second fret’s name is F#, the third fret’s name is G, etc. Do the same thing with every string.


Take at look at figure 1.





This is where all the notes are on the guitar, up to the 12th fret.  But not every note is created equal. An A on one fret may not be the same A on another fret.


Confused? You should be.


Here’s what I mean.


Too many choices

There are four different A’s on the guitar.  They look like this.


4 As


There are two places to play the first A; four different places to play the second A; four different places to play the third A; and one place to play the fourth A. This makes the guitar one of the most difficult instruments to read music on. No wonder people use tab.


But don’t worry. We’re going to stick to one area of the guitar, and only use one choice for every note we play. In other words, each note we play will always be in the same place.


I promise you that it won’t take long before you can look at a note on the page and know where it is on the guitar.


For now we’ll boil it down to the notes without accidentals.


These are: A  B  C  D  E  F  G


I’ve given you some background. The next post will be more specific. It’ll focus on notes in a single position.

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