May 16, 2008

The Notes of The Guitar

The Fretboard and The Notes

Sounds like a good title for a movie that would bomb at the box office, even if it were to be pitted against "The Richard Simmons Story", don't you think?

Anyways, it is very important to establish some basic principles about the guitar. I really despise using the word "basic" because it carries the wrong meaning, but for those of you who are new to guitar we need to establish the "landscape" of the fretboard for you.

First of all, you should never feel overwhelmed by anything. Never feel overwhelmed about a passion. In regards to all guitarists, you can never learn everything that there is to know about the guitar. Its really impossible. Some may see this as a negative, while I choose to see it as a challenge and "a wink and a smile and a
knod", telling me that the world of art in general, is endless.

So if for some reason you feel like you will never reach that level of personal expectation, get it out of your head. Don't ever pitty yourself. I still have a long ways to go (infinity) before I reach my own expectations of perfection, and I love that. If I ever reached that level, there would be nothing left to accomplish.

So, we're all in it together, would be my cheesy point.

My job is to get you up to par. I can do this by elevating you up to my level of playing. That's not being arrogant. I can't elevate you to someone else's level of playing. When I reach the next plateu, I will be more than glad to give you a hand,
but hey, who knows? maybe you'll beat me to it ;)

Here's what you need to know about the fretboard.

1. The silver bars, running top to bottom along the neck,
are called fret wire.

2. The space in between any two pieces of fret wire, is
a fret.

3. You have six strings.

string 6 (thickest string) is your Low E.
string 5 (next one down) is your A string.
string 4 (next one down) is your D string.
string 3 (next one down) is your G string (tee-hee)
string 2 (next one down) is your B string.
string 1 (thinnest string) is your High E string.

E = 1st
B = 2nd
G = 3rd
D = 4th
A = 5th
E = 6th

Each fret is naturally a specific note. I could sit here and tell you the formulaic pattern of how the notes run, but I have instead prepared for thee, a nifty little
diagram that best displays how the notes are arranged. You'll notice that the frets are listed and that the notes are color coordinated. By having specific colors assigned to specific notes, this should help in the process of being able to distinguish a note in multiple places along the fretboard.

Grab a guitar - study this.
Start with the Low E (thickest) and play each fret, calling out the fret and then calling out the note. Starting on the Low E it would sound something like "1st fret - F!" and so on. Once is not enough to accomplish this task of memory. Do it over and over and over again. It doesn't take that long and you'll be glad that you did it.

One more thing. When a string is played without fretting it, it is referred to as an open string, or fret 0. Go ahead and start on the Low E by declaring "fret 0 - E!".

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