#1
So ive been wanting to learn how to read sheet music for a while now. I feel kinda stuck with my songwriting, especially if i try to write music for other instruments besides guitar, so i figured i have to learn some music theory. So i tried that, and while i got a bunch of knowledge from there, its still kinda hard to utilize without knowing how to read music. So then i leaned how to read staff notation, and with a lot of effort i can finaly figure out what the notes are and even decipher the rhythm of the part. It takes a while, but i guess with practice im gonna get used to it.

However i have problems applying this to guitar. The piano has just one of each note, but the guitar has a bunch. How do i know which one is the right one to play? Thats basicly my biggest problem. Then there is also problems with downtuning, since i have to learn like 3 different sets of notes on the fretboard. How do you deal with that? Anyway, all help will be apreciated!
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#2
I would recommend that you start somewhere between the fifth and seventh frets. Playing at this part of the neck gives you a wider range of notes at your disposal - ie you can move down or up from this default position, whereas if you're based down by the nut you can only shift upwards.

Middle C on the guitar is the tone of the 3rd fret A string or 8th fret low E string.

All notes on the guitar sound an octave lower than written, but this is nothing to worry about. It's just a bit of extra knowledge to have.
Last edited by mdc at May 18, 2016,
#3
Just as a short aid if you need it. Also of note, in sheet music for guitar, the treble cleff should have an 8 under it, to indicate that what is written will sound an octave lower on your guitar. However, this is often left out entirely, so don't let your ears throw you off there. Everything will sound an octave lower compared to playing it on a piano.



As for how to actually deal with having multiple sets... well, I'm afraid that's a question only you can answer. Because that is the freedom you have as a musician and interpreter of the music.

You can decide to play it a certain way because of tone, or because of practicality, and in cases like for example Villa-Lobos 1st Prelude, because of how it looks when played. That is your choice, and it simply takes time to get comfortable with yourself and your style of play, and where you'll want to take more risks or a different sound. That is one of the many great feats of the guitar.

Good luck.
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
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Last edited by FretboardToAsh at May 18, 2016,
#4
Quote by gorkyporky

However i have problems applying this to guitar. The piano has just one of each note, but the guitar has a bunch. How do i know which one is the right one to play?
Any one you like! That's the great advantage of guitar.

The choice is basically down to two things:
1. Ease of playing
2. Sound

Ease of playing depends mostly on context. Obviously any single note is easy enough in any position it's available. But a particular phrase will usually sit under the fingers better in one place than another. Depending on the music in front of you, it may take some experimentation to find the best position.

Sound: the higher on the fretboard you play any single note, the more mellow it sounds because you're using heavier strings. So (if a few different positions are equally easy) your choice can depend on that. Also, if the choices include an open string, that has a different effect from a fretted note.

Quote by gorkyporky
Then there is also problems with downtuning, since i have to learn like 3 different sets of notes on the fretboard. How do you deal with that?
Don't downtune?
Not sure what you mean by "3 different sets of notes". If you mean you commonly switch around between 3 different tunings, then yes, the notes are going to change their positions, so alternative tunings naturally make it more difficult. That's the choice you make.
Eg, if you downtune by a half-step, you have to get used to the fact that what you may recognise (from EADGBE tuning) as an "E" chord shape is now making an "Eb" sound, because the notes are all different. If you're reading from sheet music, and you see an E, you have to play what you previously thought of as F.

However, there is one area where downtuning (or using a capo) might help if writing for horns. If you downtune by a whole step, that's like putting your guitar "in Bb", like trumpet, tenor sax, clarinet, etc. So if you play an "E" chord shape, what comes out is a concert D. So if you want to write a riff for tenor sax, you write out what the notes look like (not how they sound) in your new tuning. 1st fret B string? Write a "C" on the sax part. It comes out as concert Bb on both sax and guitar.

If you want to write for alto or baritone sax, you can put a capo on fret 3 (if in standard tuning - if already tuned down a whole step, capo fret 5). Now your "E" shape will be making a "G" sound, just as an "E" note on an alto part will come out of the horn as a G.

Of course, there are still octave considerations . For tenor sax, that 1st fret B string (sounding as Bb when tuned down) will be written in the same place as it would for guitar: C on 3rd space up. For trumpet and clarinet, you'd need to write it an octave lower. Alto and baritone sax are likewise an octave different.

If you're never going to write for horns (or ever have to read music written for horns) - FORGET ALL THIS! IT'S JUST A BAD DREAM!
Last edited by jongtr at May 18, 2016,
#6
I would like to know how everyone looks at his fretboard. Meaning, do u see everything as numbers? To build arpeggio's, and to keep connection to the scale?

I'm srr I'm highjacking this topic, but this forum won't let me post a topic for some reason.
#7
Quote by Shredding_j
I would like to know how everyone looks at his fretboard. Meaning, do u see everything as numbers? To build arpeggio's, and to keep connection to the scale?
I see a combination of notes (note names) and chord shapes.
I think (it was a long time ago) I probably learned both together, steadily over the first few years, working my way up the neck. Here is a chord shape, these are the notes on those frets, this chord contains these notes. That sort of thing. I did know about major scales, so that fed in too, but I didn't learn scale patterns as such. I obviously use scale patterns (and know all my scales), but in terms of viewing the fretboard I see/feel them around particular chord shapes.
Last edited by jongtr at May 19, 2016,
#8
Quote by Shredding_j
I would like to know how everyone looks at his fretboard. Meaning, do u see everything as numbers? To build arpeggio's, and to keep connection to the scale?

I'm srr I'm highjacking this topic, but this forum won't let me post a topic for some reason.

Ideally, you shouldn't see the fretboard, you should hear it.

A scale only becomes truly useful to you when you can tell by ear what notes work, arpeggios and chords belong to it.

Diagrams are there to help you, but sound is king, ear training and transcribing. It's very difficult to get people motivated enough to transcribe for the reason it is slow and painful... in the beginning, but the results are superior.

Hear and play things in context.
Last edited by mdc at May 19, 2016,
#9
Quote by mdc
Ideally, you shouldn't see the fretboard, you should hear it.

A scale only becomes truly useful to you when you can tell by ear what notes work, arpeggios and chords belong to it.

Diagrams are there to help you, but sound is king, ear training and transcribing. It's very difficult to get people motivated enough to transcribe for the reason it is slow and painful... in the beginning, but the results are superior.

Hear and play things in context.


Sure, but diatonicly speaking, when u play let's say in the key of C major, do u see all the chords of the key not as numbers? Like IV got 4,6,1 V, 5,7,2 etc. That way u stay connected to the scale. Anyone?
#10
Quote by Shredding_j
Sure, but diatonicly speaking, when u play let's say in the key of C major, do u see all the chords of the key not as numbers? Like IV got 4,6,1 V, 5,7,2 etc. That way u stay connected to the scale. Anyone?
I see it something like that, but I wouldn't describe it in those terms. I see shapes for all the chords all over the fretboard, and I know how the scale fits between the chords everywhere.
I don't exactly think in either note names or numbers, but I know the roots, 3rds, 5ths, 7ths etc in relation to each chord, as well as to the key. I kind of see all that without thinking.

And - to follow mdc's point - I know how each chord tone and extension will sound (although I know some better than others). Eg, I know what a maj7 sounds like and what a 6th sounds like, or a 9th. So when I'm improvising I can choose my effects, chord by chord. Do I want the sweetness of a 9th? The directness of a root? The warmth of a 5th? I know the effect of certain melodic intervals too (notes following one other, as opposed to simultaneous in a chord).

Naturally this is the result of a combination of learning processes over many years (decades). I learned chord shapes; I learned note names; I learned to play songs (melodies first chords later); I wrote my own songs; I improvised. You learn sounds and labels (theoretical terms) along with fretboard positions and patterns. Every element supports all the others; it's one big picture in the end.

If there's one main thing, the most important thing to learn - that ties everything else together - it's melodies. Learn to play tunes. Don't just strum chords, learn scales and arpeggios, or licks. Play melodies. That's where the "music" is, the expressive vocabulary. (At the same time, learn everything else too! Multiple routes will get you there much quicker and more reliably than a single route, because it's about making connections.)
Last edited by jongtr at May 20, 2016,
#11
Quote by Shredding_j
Sure, but diatonicly speaking, when u play let's say in the key of C major, do u see all the chords of the key not as numbers? Like IV got 4,6,1 V, 5,7,2 etc. That way u stay connected to the scale. Anyone?

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