How to learn all the notes
Welcome to the starter guitar lesson to teach you how to play guitar songs, and learn all the notes on your guitar’s neck. If this is your very first time playing the guitar, make sure you check out: How to play guitar: lesson 1, and How to play guitar: lesson 2, for more guitar lessons that teach you the fundamental basics.
If you have already learned how to hold the guitar and play basic notes, you now need to memorize which notes you are fretting going all the way down the neck. Normally, about 18 out of the 24 frets are used in most standard guitar songs. The higher you go up the neck, the higher the pitch of the note will be. In this lesson we will try to break it down in a nice and easy explanation so that you can learn every single note on your guitar, no matter which string or fret you are playing. It really isn’t that hard, but for beginners it will seem a bit overwhelming. Take your time and learn it slowly, there is no need to learn everything all in one day.
We will use the basic saying of “Every, Boy, Goes, Down, A, Elevator” to first locate the open string’s name, that little saying will help you to memorize all of the open strings, and from there you can learn all the notes going down the length of the guitar’s neck.
Each string’s open note is the first letter for each word:
String 1: Every (E)
String 2: Boy (B)
String 3: Goes (G)
String 4: Down (D)
String 5: A (A)
String 6: Elevator (E)
When learning music, no matter which instrument you are playing, all you have to do is say the alphabet.
There are only 7 notes to learn: A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, after the last G note it repeats back to the beginning to A again. As you can see this is exactly the same as the normal alphabet.
It only gets slightly more complicated because there are also five Sharp notes, the two notes that have no sharps are the B and E notes. An easy way to remember this is with yet another saying: “Every note is sharp except for BEEs”, repeat that a few times to remember it.
So the real musical alphabet looks more like: A, A#(
So when learning the musical alphabet, try to remember to say the letters in order and then add: “Every note is sharp except for BEEs”.
The Alphabet test
We will take a small test to see if you understand the musical alphabet. So if you look on your guitar and you start with the 1st E string, what comes next in the alphabet after E?
Place your finger on the 1st E string on the first fret. That is right; you are now playing an F note. From there we go straight down the line of alphabets to learn each note. Next play the second fret of the 1st string; that will now be an F# note. Now play the third fret 1st E string; you will be playing a G note. Understand?
The 5th string near the top is the A note. So now that you found the string, what note comes next on the first fret, of the 5th A string?
If you answered B, that is incorrect. The correct answer is A# (
Why? Because the musical alphabet is:
A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#.
If you were to use the Musical Alphabet for the 2nd B string, the next note would be C, followed by C#, then D, and D#.
Take some time to look this over to make sure you really understand it all. It may not sink in until you actually start saying it out loud and playing the notes on your guitar.
Alright, now for the next part in this lesson; learning some basic songs.
Playing the guitar for the first time
Now to put everything we learned to the test. We will only be using the first three strings of E, B, and G. We will take a quick side lesson in learning Tablature, or TAB for short. TAB is an easy way to learn music by reading numbers instead of notes. I highly recommend that you learn how to do both. If you were to play the first fret on the guitar it would be labeled with a number 1 on the TAB sheet music. This means that you use your left hand and place your finger on the first fret. If you were to play the second fret, it would be labeled with a number 2 on the sheet music, and so on. There are six lines in TAB, one line for each string. Every fret you play has a number that represents its position on the guitar. It may sound confusing right now, but the best way to learn it is to actually do it. So here is some free sheet music for you to learn how to play TAB. This is a basic arrangement of the song “Mary had a little lamb”. The notes you will be playing are: A, B, and G. I like to call these notes “BAG”. It is a very easy pattern and you can learn several songs using these three simple notes. Take some time practicing these songs to learn how to fret notes and play TAB.
(Formating for songs might be off depending on screen resolution)
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB:
HOT CROSS BUNS:
That ends our current lesson. Go over these basic steps for at least a week so that you can memorize everything that you learned today. You can learn more about the notes on your guitar by reading my guide to basic music theory.
( Follow my link here for-> Six Beginner Guitar Tips for Teaching Yourself How to Play the Guitar
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