Guitar Notation

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How to Apply Syncopation to Your Guitar Playing

After you develop a feel for different guitar strumming combinations, you can increase the rhythmic variations by learning how to apply syncopation to your guitar playing. Syncopation is the disruption [more…]

How to Read Rhythm Slashes in Guitar Notation

Although you don’t need to read music to play the guitar, you need to learn how to read rhythm slashes. Rhythm slashesare slash marks (/) that tell you [more…]

How to Read Syncopation in Guitar Notation

After you develop a feel for strumming in different combinations of eighths, quarters, and 16ths, you can increase the rhythmic variation to these various groupings by applying [more…]

Notes on the Guitar Neck

This figure of the nine-fret guitar neck has the notes in letter names for all six strings’ frets up to and including the 9th fret. Use this diagram to help you move any scale, arpeggio, or chord to a [more…]

Applying Fingerboard Diagrams and Tablature to a Real Guitar

You don’t need experience reading music to use tablature (tab) and fingerboard diagrams to play your guitar. Check out these diagrams to help with finger placement on your guitar: [more…]

Guitar Parts, Chord Diagrams, and Tablature

To play blues guitar, or any style of guitar music, it helps to be able to identify the parts of the guitar, which are identified here. It also helps to be able to read chord diagrams and the six-line [more…]

Common Open-Position Chords for Blues Guitar

Blues guitar is about style, not about hardware. Blues guitar doesn't use different chords than any other style of guitar playing; you just use them in different configurations to create different effects [more…]

Moveable Chord Forms for Blues Guitar

Moveable chords have no open positions. Blues guitar playing uses moveable chord forms as much as any other type of guitar style, including the common 6th-string root chords shown here: [more…]

Notes on the Neck of a Guitar

The following neck diagram shows the notes for all the frets on the guitar up to and including the 12th fret. Use this diagram to find individual notes on the guitar or to transpose any movable chord or [more…]

Tips for Understanding Guitar Notation

Although you don’t need to read music to play the guitar, musicians have developed a few simple tricks through the years that aid in communicating such basic ideas as song structure, chord construction [more…]

How Do the Notes on the Staff Relate to the Guitar’s Fretboard?

Classical guitarists are no different from other musicians dealing with written music in that after they identify and understand the symbols of standard music notation, they have to correlate them to their [more…]

How to Figure Out a Song’s Mode to Play the Guitar

How do you know which mode to play the guitar in? Here’s where things get tricky. Although the major scale has multiple modes, musicians generally think of and notate music as being in only the relative [more…]

Guitar Specific Notation: Fingering Indications for the Right and Left Hands

Guitar specific notation is super handy. If you see little numbers and letters in the treble staff, it usually means someone (the composer or arranger, a teacher, or the editor) has gone through and thoughtfully [more…]

Guitar Specific Notation: Tablature

Tablature staff (called “tab” for short) is sometimes added to the standard notation staff for guitar players. Tablature is a six-line staff that represents the guitar fretboard. Note that each line represents [more…]

Translate Fingerboard Diagrams to a Real Guitar

The following figure, which shows how a chord diagram and a tab staff relate to an actual guitar, helps you turn guitar notation into chords and melodies. [more…]

Pitch Symbols and Their Meanings for Reading Guitar Notation

The table explains what the various symbols dealing with pitch mean in music notation. Refer to the figure and this table for the meanings of the symbols. The table refers to the symbols numbered from [more…]

Duration Symbols and Their Meanings for Reading Guitar Notation

A note's shape helps tell how long you need to hold it. Notes can have a hollow note head (as in the case of the whole note and half note) or a solid note head [more…]

Expression, Articulation, and Miscellaneous Symbols for Reading Guitar Notation

Expression and articulation deal with how you play the music. The table, in conjunction with the figure, tells you about the symbols and terms that deal with these issues. The table deals with the symbols [more…]

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