New here, so hello everyone!! Ok, so I have finally decided I really want to learn theory. I have been reading "Learning Music Theory. The Beginning" in the lessons section of UG. First of all thanks to slash_pwns for this one. However I am stuck on The Circle Of Fifths.

Starting at the top, at C there are no sharps or flats. As you turn clockwise (To F) you add 1 flat to the key signature, until you get to Gb. Same with going to G. You add one sharp to the key signature. How do you know what sharp or flat to add? Well, here is the order:

F C G D A E B

Sharps to the left, and flats to the right. So if we know D has two sharps, then we look at the line here. F# and C# are the sharps in the key of D. Now take Eb. We know from the Co5 that it has 3 flats, and the line tells us the first 3 flats are B, E and A. So we know Eb had Bb, Eb, and Ab in it......

According to the F C G D A E B thing sharps to the left. First to the left of what? The left of D? That would be G# and C#. Almost, however it is F# and C# in D. So thats not it. Now the only way to get those two would be to start at G. Now, am I just not getting it? Is the FCGDAEB not for that? Could someone explain how to know what sharps/flats are in each key with ease a little better? I can see that if I know what sharps and flats are in each key I could know the major scales like nothing.

Oh and one more thing. I want to learn every note on the guitar. What is the best method of memorizing what note is the 5th fret on the b string. Any tips on this. I'm sure it would make learning scales a breeze.

Oh and thanks for reading all of this, I need to go buy a theory book I think. Any recommendations for a step by step theory book?
I am not really sure if this will make sense or not but I will try. The circle of Fifths is for C G D A E B F sharp so on. It is like this because u take the 5 note of the scale and you get the root note for the next scale. To get the sharp of the next scale you take the fourth note.

The C scale for Example. The C scale is C D E F G A B C. As you see from there G is the fifth note so that would be the root of the next scale and since F is the fourth note in the scale you would make it sharp. Does this make sense.
I understand what you are saying. However I do not see any relevance to the F C G D A E B order slash_pwns is referring to. Basically what I am asking is, I understand that you add 1 flat to the right and 1 sharp to the left, however how do I know what note gets that sharp/flat relating to F C G D A E B. Basically what I am confused about is when slash_pwns stats "Now take Eb. We know from the Co5 that it has 3 flats (yup, I understand that completely it's very helpful), and the line tells us the first 3 flats are B, E and A." Now how in the world does that line of F C G D A E B tell us the flats are B, E and A? I mean Eb is kinda the given, however I don't understand the B and A. I am able to figure it out if I do the whole stupid WWHWWWH, however that is what I am trying to eliminate and I think that is what the "line" eliminates .... right?
The F C G D A E B is the circle of fifths. F has one flat, from there u use circle of fifths to move to C which has no sharps. From there to G which has 1 sharp, next would come D, then A, E, whihc is then followed by B.

For your second part. Circle of Fifths is adding sharps to the next scale which is what I explained in my first post. The opposite of the Circle of Fifths is the Circle of Fourths. It works kind of like the Circle of Fourths but instead of using the fifth of a scale, you use the fourth note of the scale. I'll use the C scale as an example. The notes are C D E F G A B C. As you can see from there F would be the fourth note so your next scale would start with F and since B is the seventh note in the scale, the F scale would have a B flat. So you end up with F G A B(flat) C D E F. Does this make sense or am I confusing you?
I almost get it. Thank you for re-explaining it, because I am just having some trouble for some reason. I totally understand it for like G C and F major scales, however what about something with more than one sharp/flat. So F G A Bb C D E F. Bb is the 4th so that is the next major scale. I add two flats to the already flat b so I have a total of 3 flats? Is that how it works or is it just the total of flats. Bb C D Eb Fb(?) G A Bb? I know that E was the 7th so that would also be flat. However I should have a total of three flats, right? So uh how do I find the other flat? Oh and if there is suppose to be a TOTAL of 2 flats, then could you explain it for like the key of Eb? Thanks again for helping me through this.
................................C.......................................
.......................G........l........F .............................
....................D...........l...........Bb........................
...................A ...........l............Eb........................
....................E...........l..........Ab..........................
......................B.........l.......Db.............................
.............................F#/Gb...................................

OK, there's your circle of fifths. See how it's divided down the center? It should be much clearer if you actually look at it as a circle; the reason for its usefulness is its simplicity and the base for its simplicity is its circular shape. So it should be much easier to understand. See, now you can go clockwise around the circle or counterclockwise and find out the sharps and flats of each major scale.

here's a good way to look at it:
C - 0 sharps
G - 1 sharp
D - 2 sharps
A - 3 sharps
E - 4 sharps
B - 5 sharps
F# - 6 sharps
C# - 7 sharps (often written as Db)
--------------------
C - 0 flats
F - 1 flat
Bb - 2 flats
Eb - 3 flats
Ab - 4 flats
Db - 5 flats
Gb - 6 flats
Cb - 7 flats

There is a certain order for the sharps/flats:
The order for sharps is F# C# G# D# A# E# B#. The order for flats is Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb.

Look at the chart and notice how the top half shows that F# has 6 sharps, and the bottom half says that Gb has 6 flats? F# and Gb are the same thing; however if you go counterclockwise you look at the sharps of the notes, and if you go clockwise you are looking at the flats. They are still refering to the same notes in the scale, just with a different name bcause one describes them as flats and the other as sharps. (for example, A# and Bb are the same notes, but they have different names.So if Gb uses Bb in the scale, F# would use A#).

Hope that clarifies anything. By the way, you might find it interesting that the last 3 keys in the circle are known as enharmonic keys because of their overlapping properties. All 3 have two different names; one uses sharps and the other uses flats. But they're still the same scale.

Enharmonic keys:
B/Cb
F#/Gb
C#/Db

Intersting, huh?
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Last edited by philipp122 at Oct 20, 2007,
Oh sorry, I was going through my Theory Guide and picking out all of the info on theCoF. I'm done now lol.
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Quote by philipp122
................................C.......................................
.......................G........l........F .............................
....................D...........l...........Bb........................
...................A ...........l............Eb........................
....................E...........l..........Ab..........................
......................B.........l.......Db.............................
.............................F#/Gb...................................

OK, there's your circle of fifths. See how it's divided down the center? It should be much clearer if you actually look at it as a circle; the reason for its usefulness is its simplicity and the base for its simplicity is its circular shape. So it should be much easier to understand. See, now you can go clockwise around the circle or counterclockwise and find out the sharps and flats of each major scale.

here's a good way to look at it:
C - 0 sharps
G - 1 sharp
D - 2 sharps
A - 3 sharps
E - 4 sharps
B - 5 sharps
F# - 6 sharps
C# - 7 sharps (often written as Db)
--------------------
C - 0 flats
F - 1 flat
Bb - 2 flats
Eb - 3 flats
Ab - 4 flats
Db - 5 flats
Gb - 6 flats
Cb - 7 flats

There is a certain order for the sharps/flats:
The order for sharps is F# C# G# D# A# E# B#. The order for flats is Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb.

Look at the chart and notice how the top half shows that F# has 6 sharps, and the botom half says that Gb has 6 flats? F# and Gb are the same thing; however if you go counterclockwise you look at the sharps of the notes, but they are still refering to the same sharps or flats in the scale, just with a different name (for example, A# and Bb are the same notes, but they have different names).

Awesome, so that clears up my misunderstanding of "adding a flat/sharp as you go to the left/right." So it isn't adding it is the total number of. So that means that Bb would be Bb C D Eb F G A Bb. Great. I understand flats and sharps completely. I understand pretty much everything except for one thing.......wait wait. Duh, I get it. So stupid. Why didn't I just think of it earlier. So Eb there are three flats in it. Obviously Eb is one. So if I go back to Bb I know it's 7th is A which means the Bb's 5th would have it for its other flat. So that mean Bb is the last flat in the major scale of Eb since Bb's 4th is Eb, which means that Eb's 5th would have to be Bb according to the circle of 5ths.

I'm pretty stoked I understand it all finally. Such an easy concept for me not to get right away. Well thanks Phillip, slash_pwns, and TheNextJimi!!!!