As we learned on the Introduction to notes page, music is comprised of a sequence of 12 notes that repeat as many times as your instrument can manage. Think about a standard piano keyboard with 88 keys. These aren’t all different notes, rather the 12 note sequence has been repeated 7 1/3 times. The guitar isn’t mapped out as visually as the piano (with its symmetric pattern of white and black keys), but we still follow the same sequence of twelve notes.
On a guitar, the more frets you have allow you to play more notes of the sequence. All guitars have at least 12 frets, so we know that they can hold at least one octave worth of music. A standard 22 fret neck goes 10 notes higher in the sequence.
Do you remember the string names from the Using a Digital Tunerpage?
“Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye, Eddie!”
(6th) (5th)(4th) (3rd) (2nd)(1st)
(LOW/thick strings) (HIGH/thin strings)
Let’s try to figure out the notes up the Low E (6th) string. We start on that note and count through the next note in the chromatic sequence. You can use this chart as a reference:
Starting here and counting “up” >
*Remember- it doesn’t matter where you start in the sequence. Just keep counting from one note to the next. (When you get to G#/Ab, the sequence starts over again on A).
If we count up (going L to R in the sequence)from the letter E, we get:
E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb E
Here is how it would look on the guitar:
*You can find the rest of the notes on the Low E string by simply continuing the sequence until you run out of frets. You can fill in this chart using the same method that we used for the Low E string. Simply find the open string letter and count up the sequence from there. You will know you did it right if the 12th fret (the double dot) reads EADGBE again. We know there are only twelve notes in music, so wherever you start on a string, you can count up 12 frets and be on the octave of the same note you started on. (We don’t count the number we start on-that’s why you don’t end up with 13).
Hopefully you’ve already read the “GUITAR PICKS” article, because we’re going to begin this lesson with picking.
Q: “What’s the best way to hold your pick?”
A: The ideal way would be to hold it between your index and thumb, with the point of the pick aiming at the body.
* try holding the pick in the center-it’ll give you more control.
Your picking hand should be “anchored” when playing scales and single-note passages. This just means that your hand should be sitting on the bridge (or Low E string) of the guitar. Don’t try using your pinky to hold up your picking hand. It’s just plain wrong and other guitar players will point at you and laugh.
And NEVER try to play single note runs using what I call the “Claw Machine” technique. This is when a guitarist tries to play with their hand suspended in mid-air.
When strumming chords, your hand should move freely across the strings.
holding the pick, fingerstyle, “clawing”, RH tapping. pinch harmonics? CAR PICKUP SUV!!!!
downstrokes, up strokes, down up/up down, alternate picking, try playing each note 3X dud/udu