Notes On The Fretboard In Standard Tuning (EADGBE)I'm sure many of you (if your new) have no idea what notes your playing. Well I have a simple method for you to memorize the entire fretboard (As long as you know your ABCs at least...)! The secret is, there really is no cryptic code language for the notes on the frettboard, they are in alphabetical order (ABCDEFG, then repeat with whatever letter you started with...), and they repeat after the 12th fret. The notes are (starting with the open string, ending at the 12th fret)
E string: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E B String: B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B G String: G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G D String: D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D A String: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A E String: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, Enotice how all the notes are the same at the twelfth fret? Well, they all repeat after that. We'll delve into the sharps in the next section.
Half-Steps, Whole StepsYou've probably heard of these, that they are the same increment as the black keys on a piano, or something similar. Well what does that mean? A common question that I find confuses most of us who are just learning about music for the first time. Well Same as the notes on the fretboard, I have a simple answer. Think of half steps and whole steps as a measurement of distance (such as miles or Kilometers) Each half step (on the guitar)is one fret, and a whole step is two frets. Look at the notes on the fretboard listed above. An F is a half step away from E on the E string (high or low) and and F# is a whole step away from that same E note. Simple enough eh? Well thats pretty much all there is to half and whole steps (bear in mind, I'm only explaining the basics here, how to apply this stuff will be in more complex theory lessons) Now you might have noticed a pattern that works on most of the fretboard.
- E string: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E - B String: B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B G String: G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G D String: D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D A String: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A - E String: E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, EThese notes switch from flats to sharps at the same frets! And there is a reason for it. Actually, on most instruments, the B String would be the same as the GD and A strings, and that is what takes us to our next topic
IntervalsAs simply as I can explain them, intervals are the difference in the number of steps between two pitches(notes). Its not the number of frets you go down, but rather the ones in between. E to A is an interval of a fourth because there are 4 half steps in between them. The guitar is tuned in 4th, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th intervals. This explains the distance between the notes of the open-faced tuning. It is also totally unique in design to the (standard) tuning of any other instrument. For Example, 5 frets (a 4th) down from the E string, you get an A (the tuning for the next string), Then 5 frets (a 4th) down from the A you get a D (next string), 5 down (4th) from the D and you get a G, but the interval goes down one for B, so you only go 4 frets (3rd) down from G to get it. Another 4th (5 frets) from B however, you get an E. So an interval is merely the amount of half-steps in between two notes. E to A Sandwiches 4 half-steps in between each other, making a fourth. E to G sandwiches 2 half-steps together, which would make a 2nd... and so on so forth.
Reading Music And Using A MetronomeIt is not essential to read music, and I can't even read a lot of it myself. Thats what tabs were created for. However there is a great deal tabs cannot do, and I'll explain how to get the basics of note reading down, as well as how to effectively use a metronome to practice. Quite simply, Tabs can't tell you how long to hold a beat for. This is fine with modern programs like power tab, or even for songs you know. But what do you do if you are presented with music you've never heard before? A Tab tells you what to play, but not how fast, or how long in between notes. This will also help you write tabs with programs like power tab or guitar pro, as they follow musical theory principles to work... There are 5 types of notes, and each represents a certain number of beats. A Sixteenth note - .25 (1/10) of a beat An Eighth Note - .5 (1/2) of a beat A Quarter note - 1 beat A Half note - 2 beats A Whole note - 4 beats most music is in 4/4 format (4 beats in a bar). So under that format, one bar would fit one whole note, two half-notes, four quarter notes, 8 eighth notes or 16 sixteenth notes per bar. Now how long is a beat? Well, thats not something I can give a physical answer to. I'm not sure exactly how many milliseconds between beats there are for every tempo. Thats where our metronome comes in. A metronome is a device (more likely a computer program in our age) that indicates how long a beat is at a specific tempo. Most produce a noise of some sort on each beat. Hold the note for one beat for a quarter note, 2 for a half, 4 for a whole, 1/2 of a beat for an Eighth, or 1/10 for a Sixteenth.
Ending NoteI hope this was useful to you in some way. I know it doesn't seem like I taught you anything useful now, but I guarantee you'll realize otherwise if you take on the task of learning musical theory. Throughout this article I have tried to explain the basics of music that are seldom taught if you haven't been studying music since grade school. Some of us are just starting to play now, at age 17, like me, or maybe even older, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have the same opportunity. Hell, Even starting late I still say it is possible to get up there with the best of the virtuosos. Who knows, maybe I'm just an idiot who couldn't figure all this stuff out on his own for a long time. But maybe, just maybe there are others like me out there, and hopefully this guide will make all the difference in their musical advancement.
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