I just picked up a guitar book, thats supposed to teach me how to play the guitar. I can read tabs pretty well, but the book also includes standard musical notes to help me with the rhythm since tabs dont give you a good idea.

That means I dont have to learn how to read music from standard notaion that has 5 lines and then translate that for a guitar that has 6.

The only thing is that I dont understand what a whole note, half note, quater note mean when it comes to playing. I have looked every where.

When the tab simply reads

-o- < (What does that mean, its called a whole note?)


The thing is that I know it has to do with time, and how long I am supposed to hold the note. And most music is 4/4. Does that mean that I hold this note for 4 seconds.

Thats what I dont get. How many seconds or what length of time am I supposed to hold the note when I get these different symbols.

Some are like (Sorry I cant really draw it too well on the pc)
/ /
* *

What does that mean?

Thank you.
I have a hard time believing that this is not explained in your book. Almost any beginner's musician website will have this information in detail.
Well, it's all based on the speed of the music, or the tempo. A whole note means you hold it for a whole bar of music. The only way you're really going to know how long this is is if you get a metronome. When it says 4/4, that means there are 4 (the top number) quarter notes (1 / the bottom number). So, when you are playing a song in 4/4, you will count "one, two, three, four" for every bar. I hope this helps.
if it's a tab, just listen to the song

if it's in 4/4, play it ≈3-4 seconds.

Or play it the whole "mesure" (in french because i don't know the word in your language )
Measure is the right term, but bar is also used on occasion (or at least I use it)
In 4/4 time, a whole note is held for 4 beats, a half note for 2, a quarter note for 1, and so on. A beat doesn't have a specific length of time to it, just a constant length (usually) throughout the song. 4/4 means that there are 4 beats in one bar, and a quarter note gets one beat. 3/8 would mean 3 beats to a bar, and an eighth note gets one beat.
ok, tap your foot to a song, got a tempo going? well if its in 4/4 time, a whole note will get 4 taps, or beats. i think the last thing was an eigth note, which gets half a beat, or one up or down beat. now a half note will get 2 beats, and a quarter note gets 1 beat, but this may change with the time signature, but that is for later, more advanced sheet music.

Edit: and just to be certain you get it, one whole beat is your foot tapping down and up all the way.
Quote by Dan Steinman
You know you are a guitar player when the kids in the elementary school band can read sheet music better than you
I think you'll find everything you're asking for here:


The lessons titled "Measures and Time Signature" and "Note duration" should pretty much answer the questions.

Quote by MarXHalvick
if it's in 4/4, play it ≈3-4 seconds.

That's not too good advice since a whole note's time duration in seconds can vary a lot and there's no standard that a whole note should last 3-4 seconds.

Note lengths are in relation to the song and it's tempo, not real world time.
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