How to find the notes on the guitar

How to FIND notes on the Guitar Fretboard – Video transcript

This is the transcript of lesson 1 of the Beginners Guitar Course. Please follow this link for next available starting times.

What are you going to learn 

To identify by sound and name the notes of C scale, on all strings and frets on the guitar.

You will also learn a song,  a rhyme that you will sing and play, to teach you how to anticipate aurally and visually, the next note of the scale you wish to play.

You will also learn to think in a musical way so as to emulate what goes through the mind of the professionals, when we play.  This will drastically increase the speed and fun of your learning, on how to find notes on the guitar.

Why learn how to find notes on the guitar?

So you can locate visually and by sound, the scales, chords and melodies we will use in our course.

What will you do differently after this lesson

You will be able to create musical phrases of four beats duration, which are one of the basic building blocks of music. As a consequence, this will open up  a pathway for your learning that simulates the real thing. 

You will be able to coordinate your left and right hand to play the C scale in tempo, all over the guitar to help you in your how to find notes on the guitar.

And you will be able to look  for sounds horizontally or vertically,  as  on the guitar ,pitch can increase vertically, decrease vertically, or increase horizontally, or decrease horizontally.

How are you going to learn to find notes on the guitar?

You will learn to find notes on the guitar in four simple steps

  1. First of all , you will learn the names of the strings, that correspond to pitches, musical sounds.
  2. Then you will learn the relationship between the pitches of the C scale, and the frets on the guitar.
  3. In step 3, you will learn a melodic rhyme to help you find all the notes in relation to a beat. 
  4. In step 4, you will create your own practice routine, to develop the skill with fun.

Rules

Apply at all times when you play the following 3 rules:

  • Always sing what you are playing. 
  • Always play in tempo.
  • Always tap your feet or move your body to the beat. 

If you do not, you will not be feeling the context, the music,  therefore you will not learn.

Names of the strings 

The guitar has 6 strings: E A D G B E. Each string is adjusted to produce a specific pitch, a musical sound we can sing. These pitches have defined names. In English, we use the letters of the alphabet C D E F G A B to define them.

The fatter guitar string produces the lowest pitch. As we jump from string to string,  the strings get thinner, they also vibrate more quickly  and the sound increases in pitch.

The fatter string is tuned to a frequency we call E. It is commonly called the E string but please remember that this is relative, as this can change, this is not an E string but a string tightened until it produces this pitch, we call E .

So if I press the string somewhere else, Do I produce a new sound? Yes.
Is this new sound an E?

No . It is not  since it  does not sound like an E. It sounds higher in pitch. There fore it has a different name. It is called the G note .

So what frequencies do we generally tune the open guitar strings to ? 

Starting from fat to thin they coincide with the frequencies  of :

E

Acronym

You can remember the names of the pitches, frequencies of the strings, by using an acronym. I like to use the following: 

E very to remember the name of the E string

A  pe  to remember the name of the A string

D  eserves to remember the name of the D string

G  reen to remember the name of the G string

B ananas to remember the name of the B string

E veryday ( to remember the name of the high E string

Play along with me this acronym

Every, Ape, Deserves, Green, Bananas, Everyday

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Step 2  Find the notes of C scale

Take it easy

All musicians including myself,  struggle with new exercises. This is absolutely normal.  However, music is a discipline where you learn by repetition. Do not expect to fully understand the following new concepts until you have repeated the exercises, a lot. So , just sit back and enjoy the ride and in a few minutes time you will have learnt the C scale all over the guitar.

The C scale has seven notes

The C scale has seven notes: C D E F G A B . After the B we go to C D E F and so on.

So this is a low c and this is a high c. The high C doubles the frequency of the low C. The frequency is the number of times the string vibrates per second.

Therefore, as I go up in pitch, I start  to repeat the same notes, but in a higher octave, a higher pitch,

Frets and notes

In order to answer how to find notes on the guitar,  all you need to understand is that between the notes of E F,  and B C there is only one fret distance and between all the other notes there are two.

How to find the notes on the guitar
How to find the notes on the guitar

This is one fret distance. This is two frets distance.

So let us start with the sixth string.

What is the frequency we tune the 6th string to  ….. E  ? So this is an E sound. 

Play the note

Sing the sound

What is the next letter in the alphabet ?

F

How many frets is F away  from E? 

One 

Play the F  

Sing the sound 

So F is a musical note that is higher in pitch than E, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by one fret. 

Next note

What is the next letter in the alphabet after F  ?

G

How many frets is G away from F  ?

Two

Play the G

Sing the sound

So G is a musical note that is higher in pitch than F, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

A

How many frets is it away from G ?

Two

Play the A 

Sing the A 

So A is a musical note that is higher in pitch than G, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note B

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

B

How many frets is it away from A ?

Two

Play the B

Sing the B

So B is a musical note that is higher in pitch than A, and we produce the sound by shortening the string two more frets.

Next note C

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

C

How many frets  is C away from B?

One

Play the C

Sing the C

So C is a musical note that is higher in pitch than B, and we produce the sound by shortening the string one more fret.

Next note D

The next letter in the alphabet is:

 D

How many frets  is D away from C?

Play it

Sing it

So D is a musical note that is higher in pitch than C, and we produce the sound by shortening the string  two more frets.

Next note E

The next letter in the alphabet is: 

E, So we are back to the E , but a higher E 

How many frets  is E away from D

Play it

Sing it 

So  E is a musical note that is higher in pitch than D, and we produce the sound by shortening the string by two more frets.

Step 3 The Musical Rhyme

You will now learn a short musical rhyme to play in tempo the notes of the C scale, in a manner that will help you memorise both names and sounds and increase the speed of your learning drastically and ther fore learn how to find notes on the guitar.

The C scale on the 6th string 

Notice: that I sing the sound of the note I play,   and then sing what I will do next with the same sound,
Also notice that the rhyme lasts 4 beats, four taps of your foot.

Play along with me, 6th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 6th string.

Play along with me 

Stop the video , rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 5th string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 5th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 5th string to  ….. A  ? 

So this is an A sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 4th string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 4th string.

What is the frequency we tune the 4th string to  ….. D  ? 

So this is a D sound

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 3rd string

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 3rd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  3rd string to ?

So this is a G sound. 

Play it

Sing it

Play along with me 

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Play along with me, 2nd string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 2nd string.

What is the frequency we tune the  2nd string to  …?   B  

So this is a B sound. 

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need to.

Play along with me, 1st string 

Let´s play together the rhyme on the 1st string.

What is the frequency we tune the 1st string to  …?  E

 So this is an E sound. 

This is also an E sound,  but this E is higher and this E is lower in pitch.

This low E vibrates exactly four times slower than this E.  They are the same notes, but in different octaves.

Play it 

Sing it

Play along with me  

Stop the video, rewind and repeat this exercise as many times as you need too.

Assignments

Now it is time for you to complete the assignments for this lesson on how to find notes on the guitar.

  • Play along 

Repeat twice a day all the play along examples of lesson one.

  • Fill it in 

Fill in the blank sheet with all the notes of the C scale .

  • Quiz

 Please submit your replies to our google group for peer review. 

  • Why are there different Cs on the guitar ?
  • Why are there different As on the guitar?
  • Why do we have two strings tuned to E?
  • Indicate with an X on what two other strings and positions can you play the C note, you create on the B string  when you press the second fret.
  • Record and create

Record yourself singing the rhyme, non stop on 6 different strings and send it to me.

Note: Choose a very slow tempo 

Check questions

  • Are you singing the notes in exact relation to the beat?
  • Are you tapping your foot non stop while singing and playing ?
  • Are you moving to the new note only just before you sing it ?
  • If your answer is no to any of the these questions, repeat 4 more times all the play along examples.

What will you be able to do at the end of the course?

Students that complete the two beginners course will move on directly to Guitar for songwriters focused towards music production.