I was wondering if I could get some help reading Treble Clef for a guitar. Now I see that Treble Clef have 5 bars, so why 5 and not 6 since guitar has 6 strings (sorry a noob at this)? My real problem is this:

- Say I number each line of Treble Clef starting at the top as 1 and last line as 5. Now I was wondering about these three things:

1) If I have a whole note that is in between 1st line and 2nd line, why does this represent playing an open string on the first string of the guitar? How do I know it is the 1st string and not say the 3rd string or even the 6th string?

2) Now why does a whole note that is on line (overlapping line 1) represent me playing the first string with my first finger at fret 1?

3) If I have a whole note that is above line 1, why does represent a G note that is played with my third finger at the third fret?

So I guess I am having trouble converting Treble Clef to tab form. Does any one know any tips or a site that may help? I do understand that each line in the Treble Clef starting from line 5 to line 1 is EGBDF and that each space between the lines is FACE.
The Clefs are not 'for' the guitar specifically. Each line and space represents a note (EGBDF from bottom to top on the treble clef)
I think you need to look more into how clefs are used/work (try wikipedia and google) before you try and tab from them, otherwise you're going to have a difficult time working out what you're doing.
EDIT: True that, typo error.
Last edited by uk.mace at Feb 6, 2009,
You're looking at standard notation entirely in the wrong way. Instead of numbers on the fretboard you have to look at it like notes on the scale (letters). Its very hard to explain online. However, I think this site does an OK job of explaining.


Can you get a musician to sit down and explain it to you? That's probably the easiest way to get a clear understanding of the staff.
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The treble clef makes no reference to any string - it just shows which pitch/frequency (and therefore note) to play.
dont listen to guitarplaya, hes wrong, uk.mace is right
and uk.mace is also probably the most correct here
but i think the reason everything is played in first position is because its easier to play those notes. obviously you could add ledger lines to play higher on the guitar (or lower) but its not the way a treble clef works
you have to remember that the clef is for other instruments other than guitar, so it may not make the most sense, but its the most correct in musical theory
Quote by Justin_Brodie
dont listen to guitarplaya, hes wrong, uk.mace is right

Actually, he's not right, guitarplaya is right in saying that the lines on the treble clef from bottom to top represent EGBDF.

In reading music for the guitar, there are two things you need to know: what the note is on the stave, and what that notes corresponds to on the fretboard. I'm assuming you've just been using tabs. So, you're gonna have to learn to read the notes on the fretboard. I assume you already know what each string on the guitar is, but if you don't, its EADGBe (from lowest sounding string to highest). Try a mnemonic to remember this: Eddie Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie, or if the inverse is easier for you, Easter Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter.

Then you have to learn the notes on the stave. guitarplaya1331 was right in saying that for treble clef, the lines from bottom to top represent EGBDF (another mnemonic for you: Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit). Also, note that the bottom E on a guitar is represented by the space under the third ledger line under the stave (if you don't know what this is, you should also revise on your musical terminology).

Basically, if you can read what a note is on the stave and find the corresponding note on the fretboard, you can read music for guitar. However, its obviously not that simple. There are other things to be taken into account, such as rhythmic notations (crotchets, quavers, rests, etc.), key signatures and accidentals ("sharps" and "flats") and various expressive techniques.

If you need a site to help, then wikihow.com is pretty useful for stuff like this. Also, try finding some simple scores on the internet or at a music shop and try reading them for guitar.

Good luck
Last edited by kenan6346 at Feb 6, 2009,
I am right the Bottom line on the treble clef is E then going up it is G then B then D then F is the top line in treble clef.
Another thing to help you out is that the open A string is 2 ledger lines below the bottom line and that should help out.
Quote by guitarplaya1331
I am right the Bottom line on the treble clef is E then going up it is G then B then D then F is the top line in treble clef.

Yes, you're right. You can tell because a treble clef is also known as a G clef, which is why the treble clef sign circles around the line representing G.

The lines in a treble clef from bottom to top: EGBDF
remember the lines on the staff in this way:


(Bottom to Top)

For the spaces, the notes are


(the word, FACE, bottom to top)

Sharps (#) and Flats (b) will change the note to its respective sharpened or flattened note.

this means it either decreases a half-step/semi-tone (flat, b); or increases a half-step/semi-tone (sharp, #)

The open string for the low E is located a space in between ledger lines (lines above and below the staff).

It sits in the space below the 3rd ledger line down from the staff.

To increase your reading of ledger lines, remember this:


Take the low E (0 Fret), below 3rd bottom ledger line.
The next space note up, only two ledger lines, is a G.

G is the 3rd note away from E in the musical alphabet (A B C D E F G).

The space notes and line notes will always be three alphabetic notes away from each other (DO NOT count the enharmonic notes, which are sharps/flats, as they are denoted by their respective symbols beside the note they are modifying)
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This just shows all the notes on the staff.

When you come across a #(sharp) it means raise the note one semitone.
When you see a b (flat) it means lower the note one semitone.

Here is each note and the various places you can find that note on the guitar neck. I trust you can read tab.

Any questions just ask.

The best way to get used to this is by practicing. Pick up a book of sheet music of songs you know well that has simple melodies. Then slowly work them out. The more you do the more you start to just recognize the notes instantly without thinking about it. Also when you work on your ear training and tab a song out write it out in standard notation also.

There's a cool site you can print sheet music with tab lines or in any other way you want. It can be found HERE (link).
Last edited by 20Tigers at Feb 6, 2009,