#1
I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a beginner, but when it comes to theory I am clueless on the guitar. I took a music fundamentals class in the fall at my local college which covered the basics of music such as key signatures, intervals, scales, triads, inversions, 7th chords, etc. Problem is, we used pianos in the class...

What would be some practical steps to mastering the guitar? The guitar isn't like the piano; it has six strings! For example, forming triads on the piano is simply 1, 3, 5. The basic GMaj chord on the guitar is 1, 3, 5, 1, 3, 1. I understand the CAGED system, but I'm not even sure how the triads were formed in the first place.

And scales on the guitar become confusing as well. When we play a simple CMaj Natural Scale, which strings do we play it on? BTW I completely understand how to find the notes on the fretboard.

And lastly, reading music for guitar. How does one go about learning this?

Many musicians have told me the internet is the best tool for learning an instrument, but when you don't know what to look for, it can be very frustrating. Thanks, any help would be greatly appreciated.
#2
Up front: I can't help you with reading sheet music. At all. Please don't ask me about it.

Secondly:

The first thing to understand: the strings don't really change how theory works. Your Gmaj chord example: the notes are still the 1, 3 and 5, there's just repeats and they're not in strict order. The important thing to realise is that the order of the notes don't really change the chord, inversions get a bit less simple but as long as it's those three notes then it's that chord. The pitches don't matter, the notes do. A lot of people don't realise that those things are different.

Same kind of thing applies to scales: the strings don't change how scales work, they just alter the physical configuration of things. The C major scale is still C D E F G A B, and (essentially, this is an oversimplification) where you find those notes you'll find the C major scale. You can choose to play them however you like. Generally for efficiency you'll be playing scales with three notes on each string so if you wanted to play C major straight up the scale you'll play it like this:


e|----------------------
b|----------------------
g|----------------------
d|-----------------9-10-
a|---------8-10-12------
e|-8-10-12--------------


That's basically just a suggestion though, there's really nothing stopping you from playing scales in any way you like. The important thing is that you know where to find the notes you're looking for to get the music from your head out in to the world.

That's what we're all practising for really, don't lose sight of that when you're going through all this theory and technique.
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#3
Private lessons. A teacher who can evaluate your playing and determine what comes next in your skills can be very useful. Everything you need to know is indeed out there on the net but knowing "what comes next" is often difficult to see as a student.

Essentially, begin with vocabulary and learn all your chords and scales while applying each step you learn to relevant songs.

Jam with other players and learn from them, learn to listen and compliment each other.

Play live in front of an audience early and often. Music is meant to be experienced.
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#4
Try learning some of your favorite songs, It will be more fun and you'll slowly start to realize and see the patterns and techniques used in the style of music you wish to play.
The most important thing is to play something and build on it or you'll spend endless time researching and getting all this theory stuff without actually knowing how to apply it.
Practical application first and learn the theory as you go from time to time.
#5
All sound advice so far, but I would like to add that piano and guitar (and every other instrument) share the same rules when it comes to key signatures, intervals, scales, triads, inversions, 7th chords, etc.

Just take what you learn(ed) and apply it to the guitar.
#6
I been learning for 2 months its hard just partice every day reading sheet music is kinda easy.
There are some you tube videos explaing it just learning the notes
#7
Quote by jomorgan582
....[ ]....And lastly, reading music for guitar. How does one go about learning this?
I'm taking a leap here, and I'm thinking you can read music for piano.

With piano notation, middle C, is on a line between the G and F clefs.

With guitar notation, middle C is at "F, A, (C), E, the second space from the top of the G clef. In piano notation, that note would be "high C" (an octave above middle C).

So, the guitar sounds an octave lower than it's written. This is done to place the range of the guitar entirely on the G clef. Put another way, with the G & F clefs, you have one for each hand. since the notes are all on the fretboard, (basically), with one hand, there's no need for 2 clefs.

If you asked me to sight read and play a piano concerto, you would be met with a blank stare, and some instructions as to what to do with that request..

OTOH, I think it helps a great deal to be able to read the top line of a song's melody. if only to make certain you're singing the melody correctly. It also helps allow you to place some of the melody note into the chords you're playing, making the song more recognizable.

Music that is notated for guitar generally has the chords, (and in some cases the fingering patterns), above the staff.

It's embarrassing to admit this, here at the bastion of guitar tablature, but I sometimes do better with the musical staff than I do with tabs. But knowing how to read both can come in handy, even within the same song.
#8
With guitar notation, middle C is at "F, A, (C), E, the second space from the top of the G clef.

Yes, i understand how to read a little piano. So, from what you're saying, all notes on the guitar lie on the G clef (Treble) with middle C being on the third space? F A (C) E? The F clef (Bass) is left over for the bass guitar? Thanks.
Last edited by jomorgan582 at Dec 26, 2014,
#9
Quote by jomorgan582
Yes, i understand how to read a little piano. So, from what you're saying, all notes on the guitar lie on the G clef (Treble) with middle C being on the third space? F A (C) E? The F clef (Bass) is left over for the bass guitar? Thanks.
You're quite welcome. Yes, all the notes of the guitar are forced onto the G clef. Keep in mind there are going to be a ton of extension lines above and below the G staff, since it only covers, (written for guitar), from D-3, (the open D string), just under the staff, to F-4, (the 1st fret on the top(skinny) e-1 string. The highest note that doesn't require an extension line, is G-4, the 3rd fret on the e-1 string

But yes, middle C is the 3rd space counting up from the bottom, or the 2nd space counting down from the top.

The bass guitar's range begins well down on the F clef. The (standard 4 string bass), is tuned one octave below the lowest 4 strings of the guitar. Given octave numerical values, the E string (lowest) on the bass is E-1, while the E-6 (lowest) on the guitar is E-2.

I hope I didn't confuse the issue for you.

Maybe this will help. This image is guitar notation from the open E-6 string to the B note on the 17th fret (high e-1 string).


The C in red is middle C, the E at the far left is the open E-6 string.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 26, 2014,
#10
A wise man once said, "A guitar has 6 strings and a minimum 21 frets - that's 126 place to play a note."

How am I to tell, for example, where the low E (open 6th string) and high E (open 1st string) are located? There isn't even enough space to cover all 126 notes!

And is it possible to just pick up any sheet music written in treble cleft and play it on guitar?

Thanks.
#11
Quote by jomorgan582
A wise man once said, "A guitar has 6 strings and a minimum 21 frets - that's 126 place to play a note."
I wouldn't say that learning the 4th grade multiplication tables automatically qualifies as making someone "wise".

Quote by jomorgan582
How am I to tell, for example, where the low E (open 6th string) and high E (open 1st string) are located? There isn't even enough space to cover all 126 notes!
First, if you can't find the E-6 or e-1 string, you should likely return to the piano. That's a literal statement based on the phrasing of your sentence.

There are only approximately 48 notes on the guitar, or just shy of 4 chromatic octaves, the other 78, are duplicates.

Quote by jomorgan582
And is it possible to just pick up any sheet music written in treble cleft and play it on guitar?
Yes, As long as your aware of what octave you intend to play . If you play the note as it's written for the piano, the melody will be for a soprano, if you play it in guitar notation, the melody will be in the baritone range. As I stressed the first time, it simply depends which location on the staff, you intend to name middle C.

As far as finding the notes goes, I gave you a full chart of guitar notation in my last post. (Pay particular attention to the fact there aren't, "126 notes").

As far as learning the names of the notes on the fret board, that's something you'll have to do for yourself.

As far as lessons go, these forums are a place to ask specific questions about a specific topic. They aren't a place for experienced members to type a complete course on music reading, music theory, and guitar technique, every time someone asks.

So, with that in mind go here: http://www.justinguitar.com/ for an extensive free course on guitar.

You sound frustrated. I don't know how much headway you'll be able to make until you calm down, and let the bigger picture of this music nonsense, settle in.

That's how basic theory seems to work. For weeks and months it might not make a whole hell of a lot of sense, until one day, it all does. Music theory, is a mathematical matrix, an array. As soon as you learn the names locations of notes in that array, along with a few simple rules for forming and naming keys and chords, it will all make perfect sense.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Feb 2, 2015,
#12
Quote by Captaincranky
I wouldn't say that learning the 4th grade multiplication tables automatically qualifies as making someone "wise".

Agreed


As far as finding the notes goes, I gave you a full chart of guitar notation in my last post. (Pay particular attention to the fact there aren't, "126 notes").
.

Also agreed, i deliberately phrased it as "126 places to play a note" because a lot of those notes will be the same - the guitar fretboard covers around four octaves (exactly 4 on a 24 fret guitar)
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#13
All about music theory by Mark Harrison is a good book to have if you want to know how to read music for guitar. It is also a good music theory book in general.
#14
Quote by Cajundaddy
Private lessons. A teacher who can evaluate your playing and determine what comes next in your skills can be very useful. Everything you need to know is indeed out there on the net but knowing "what comes next" is often difficult to see as a student.


This.