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5 questions – Beginner guitar

How to Find the Notes on the Guitar Fretboard?

Musical notes represent sounds of definite pitch. When we perform, we are constantly searching for sounds and notes; therefore, we need to learn how to find them on the guitar fretboard.

Generally, we will not remember with precision where they are merely by memorizing the visual position or by using any form of logic. You will remember where to find a sound—or more accurately, a combination of notes—as no note comes alone, by identifying the sound preceding its location on the guitar fretboard.

Once you are able to sing what you want to play, you will be ready to find the sound on the guitar. All groups of sounds, phrases, melodies, and passages are generally in a specific tonal center. This means that the note you are looking for will be one of, more or less, seven notes to choose from.

Why Sing Before You Play: Enhancing Your Guitar Learning Journey

At the Creative Guitar School, I will teach you how to find the notes by learning the scale patterns, but most importantly, how to effectively locate the desired note by recognizing its pitch and singing it before playing it on the guitar fretboard.

Furthermore, the pitch on the guitar fretboard can increase in different directions. If you first understand that the sound you are looking for is either going up or down in pitch, you will not be confused about which direction to take on the guitar to find this change in pitch.

In our first lesson for all beginners’ guitar courses, we cover all the notes of the C scale on all strings. We quickly learn them by singing and naming them in tempo. We promptly identify the distance between notes and understand the concept of semitones and tones.

I strongly urge all students to repeat this exercise daily at the appropriate tempo to become quickly familiar with the sound and, consequently, the notes on the guitar fretboard.

When practicing the guitar, please keep in mind that all exercises must be repeated daily to ensure proper memorization of the task. However, I understand that repetition can sometimes be tiresome. Don’t worry; I am here to provide you with new weekly challenges and to modify any exercise so that you can maintain a constant interest in your daily practice routine.

how to improvise on the guitar

Why do we Learn Chords on the Guitar?

Not all musical instruments are capable of playing chords; however, it is presumed that beginner students must first learn to play chords on the guitar.

A chord is just one of the tools we can use to create the accompaniment for a song. A song encompasses tempo, groove, melody, background lines, bass lines, harmony, and sections. We need to acquire all the fundamental tools necessary to play a song from start to finish. Essentially, a song is a melody—the vocal line—and all the other elements serve as tools to bring that vocal line to life.

Chords serve to define the groove of a song. While a drummer establishes the groove with sounds that lack specific lyrical pitches, a bassist shapes the groove by playing melodic lines in the low register, which in turn define the chords.

As a guitarist, when you play a chord, you establish the song’s groove with more than one note at a time. And since the variations between chords introduce changes in intensity, a sense of flow and forward motion is created in our playing.

However, it’s equally essential to learn how to play melodies—the vocal line—since that is what the song is fundamentally about. At the Creative Guitar School, you will not only learn how to play chords and develop your own rhythms but also focus on mastering the song’s melody. This includes creating variations to maintain a seamless flow.

The melody—the vocal part without lyrics—is the heart of a song. Immediate mastery of playing melodies is crucial to prevent frustration and the feeling of being stuck when playing the guitar.

How to Create Strumming Patterns?

At the Creative Guitar School, I teach you how to develop your own strumming patterns. To achieve this, you only need to understand the components of the patterns, which include:

  • The subdivisions of the beat,
  • Accents,
  • How to identify and replicate a groove.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll be able to create your own powerful grooves and strumming patterns. This skill is essential for all your musical productions.

However, constant practice in your daily routine is necessary to achieve your musical goals with satisfaction. Striving to always play in tempo is crucial, as it reduces the time needed for learning. It enhances focus and minimizes unnecessary, never-ending repetitions. The more consistently you play in tempo, the faster your learning will progress.

When should I start concentrating on technique?

In the initial stages of your learning, you must be able to identify:

  • Melodic values,
  • Rhythmic patterns,
  • Understand song structure,
  • Maintain a tempo, etc.

Once you have a solid grasp of basic musical knowledge, you will then be ready to develop speed, accuracy, and guitar technique to further enhance your expression.

Technique may come naturally through completing exercises and learning songs. However, as a teacher, I will quickly identify your learning obstacles—something we all encounter—and provide exercises to overcome specific technical difficulties.

To improve your technique, it’s crucial to practice at the slowest speed possible, focusing on anticipating position changes and the resulting sound. Try to avoid placing your finger in any position if you’re unsure of the desired sound. Prior to placement, have the intended sound in your mind, sing it, and then position your finger where you believe that sound is located. Without having the sound in your head, you won’t remember where to find it.

This hurdle can be overcome through reading, although reading might hinder our ability to truly hear the sound. While reading, we often follow placement and tempo instructions. In the early stages of guitar learning, we might not audibly perceive the sound until we’ve played it. The learning process can be challenging and occasionally frustrating.

Can Scales Unlock Musical Creativity on the Guitar

Scales consist of groups of 7 notes that establish a tonal center, which serves as the song’s resting point. The scale functions as a tool for crafting melodies, generating bass lines, improvisation, creating chord variations, and crafting fills. In simpler terms, learning the scale equips you to start playing. Familiarity with the scale provides the essential knowledge of where to find the desired sounds on the guitar.

You’ll also need to learn how to craft melodies, bass lines, and melodic harmonic grooves. At the Creative Guitar School, I will guide you in experiencing boundless enjoyment with this exquisite instrument across various music styles, whether it’s jazz, rock, blues, funk, flamenco, and more.

Please bear in mind that all students, regardless of their level, are encouraged to regularly compose and record their songs at my Recording Studio.

Thomas Lorenzo

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