Saturday, February 28, 2009

Understanding Musical Notes on the Guitar

Hello Folks,

Since you asked me about How to play the Guitar - this is a start. Below is a figure of the neck of a guitar. There are six strings. To play a note on a guitar, you use one hand to press your finger just above "the fret" and string of that note and hold a guitar pick with the other hand and "pling" that string. Now to play chords that make up a group of notes, you place a few fingers spread out across multiple strings and strum the set.

Well, this is just to get you started. After understanding note placement on a guitar, it makes it easier to go along. Do you see a pattern of the alphabet on each string? Note that the B and C notes and the E and F notes do not skip a fret. All the other notes have one fret between each other. This accounts for sharp and flats. One fret down the neck is a sharp (a higher pitched note) and one above is a flat. For example, F sharp is the same as a G flat and would be the 2nd fret on either the 1st or 6th string..

Now, if you strum a guitar with your right hand from that fat E string through each string to the lighter E string, without touching any of the frets with your left hand-- you are playing what we call "open" strings - and the notes played are E A D G B E.

I like to remember the open notes by a simple (or silly) phrase. I use something silly like "Eat At Daves Green Banana Enterprise" - E A D G B E. Now once you know what note the open strings are... you can work you way all the way down the neck of the guitar, just by knowing the alphabet and that every note skips a fret except for the B-C and the E-F notes... Look and see !

Do you think that playing the guitar takes a long time? Well, practice is involved. I once was impressed by a Guitar book author that said that too many people want to get to heaven without dying first. In other words you gotta practice hitting these notes cleanly so that when you press just above the fret and you play the note clean and learn and practice putting them together to make beautiful music. Then there are hammer on's, slides, and bends that are really fun and sound cool.

Now here is something... There is an easy way to read guitar music for playing your favorite song. It is called tabulature that can make things easier.. for just fun playing... The more classical way would lay out the notes on sheet music. But tabulature is a faster way to get to the matter of just playing a song as it is more intuitive.

Tabulature lays out a song in an intuitive way that is easy to understand. You can look at tabulature and immediately know how the finger placement on the frets should go for that song. I will explain about that in a future post.. or you can look it up on the net. There are many web sites that you can get "tabs" from for you favorite song and explain it further.

For now, understand how the notes are played out on the neck of a guitar. If you get a beginnng book on the guitar, it will explain further and show how the classical notes look and delve into more of a formal musical theory and go through some of the songs you can play...

But do you know something? If you want to play a song, there may be people who explain that song on You tube. It is a lot of fun. All you gotta do is go to You tube and do a search on that song with Guitar - and you may find it explained. Here's an example, from Bobby Cristy teaching ... Pink Floyd- "wish you were here" . This one may be a little tough for beginners but you can get the idea.

There's lot's of good stuff like that on you tube for guitar pickers!

Well, stay tuned. If interested in more, scroll down.

happy pickin'