Lesson One - Notes

Part 1- Know the Notes

The first lesson! Let's begin, with the basis of all songs, the foundation of all melodies- the musical notes!
We'll start by listing them. Don't be intimidated, I will explain everything after.

A- A#/Bb - B - C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A

#= "sharp"        b= "flat"

Now that we have our notes listed, I will colour code them, because I've found things are easier to understand when they're colour-coded!

A- A#/Bb - B - C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A

Let`s look at our red notes. They are red because each pair of red notes represents the same note. A# (A Sharp), is the same as Bb (B flat), C#(C Sharp) is the same as Eb (E flat), etc.

Feel free to call them either way.

Now, lets look at our purple notes. They tend to trick most people. There are no notes between B and C, and between E and F. Remember this!

And the blue notes... they're just regular ol' notes!

Now I shall explain half-steps and whole-steps. If you start at a note, and move 2 notes over from it, you've made a whole-step. 1 note over is a half-step.

Because there are no notes between E/F, and B/C, they are a half-step distance between eachother!

A- A#/Bb - B - C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A

Using the "A" note as an example, each red note represents a whole step from it.

Now look:

A- A#/BbBC C#/DbDD#/EbEFF#/GbG - G#/AbA

Each Blue note represents a half-step. A half step is simply moving one note over, so all the half-steps would be all the notes!

Now, let's use the "C" note as an example of a whole step.

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A- A#/Bb

The whole steps for C are different than the whole steps for A. This is because there are 11 notes in the musical alphabet.

If you keep playing notes up the scale, you will eventually run into the same note, except this note is called an octave higher. If you keep playing notes down the scale, you will eventually hit the same note, which will be an octave lower. Basically, the note vibrates twice as fast (octave higher), and twice as slow (octave lower).

This may all seem a bit too much at first, but at this point it's just a good idea to reread all of this, think about it, and let it all sink in. The bottom of the page will have resources pertaining to this lesson.

Part 2- Notes Applied to the Guitar

     Now that we have the notes down, half-steps, whole-steps, and octaves, let's move onto the note positions on the guitar.

Look at the diagram below:
Guitar Fretboard
Notes on the Guitar Fretboard

     The diagram above shows all the note placement on the guitar, in standard tuning. Standard Tuning is, starting from the lowest string, the tuning of (EADGBE). An easy way to remember standard tuning is by using an acronym, for example:

Elephants And Dogs Got Big Ears

Now, looking at the note chart, it`s a lot of notes! But, you have to remember them all, so that your brain automatically knows where they are. Sounds hard? It is! But I will give you tips to memorize all these notes. Firstly, when starting, don't worry about the sharps and the flats, once you know the notes well, you can easily place the sharps and flats.

Use this diagram instead:

Notes on the Fretboard, Excluding Sharps and Flats

     All these notes must be memorized, and I will introduce techniques into helping you do this. Just remember- don't expect to get all the notes down in one day! Knowing the note placements on the fretboard is best learned as a gradual process, and should be worked on everyday. As long as you are working on it everyday, you can continue onto other lessons without mastering note placement.

I've Decided to make Memorization of the Fretboard it's own lesson, as I have many resources and tips for that.

To go to the next lesson, Memorizing the Fretboard, Click here

Supplemental Resources

Here are various resources related to this lesson, to aid in your learning, such as webpages and games.

The Guitar Notes

Discover the Notes - This webpage shows another way of looking at the musical notes.

Know Your Notes - This page offers a very good explanation of the musical notes, diagrams from this lesson were borrowed from this page

Guitar Notation Introduction - If you also want to learn music notation, this page had a good introduction to it that relates to this lesson.

Music Note Shooter- Great, simple, game that doesn't help memorizing the notes, but instead memorizing the sounds of the notes.

5 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow i loved the way you explained all this! have a nice day, I'll be checking the next lessons! :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the kind comment! I need to start making more then! :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree. Your method of explaining is very easy to understand.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you like this person's method, wait until you see the book I'm putting together. It's going to knock your socks off!

    Chad Collier

  5. Anonymous says:

    wow thanks for all the help i can acualy start lerning music theory without getting tired of it and stopping.

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