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Guitar lesson: Learn To Read Sheet Music

Aug 17, 2007
A guitar is a fantastic instrument to play. It is easy to play and very difficult depending on what you play. Let's take a look at learning to play guitar sheet music!

I have found in my teaching experiences that many pupils find reading sheet music on guitar to be very difficult.

Admittedly there are a lot of factors that make reading guitar sheet music notation more of a challenge than on other instruments in certain aspects.

However, the most important factor is in my opinion that many guitarists never decide to learn to find the notes on the guitar. Instead they cultivate the habit of listening, playing and calculating where the specific note probably is to be played on the guitar.

Such a strategy is too slow to make it possible to sight read sheet music on guitar. A wish and then a decision to really start learning the notes on the guitar is much better than to use the before mentioned method to find the notes.

You have to start from where you are if you want to progress and become a good sight reader on guitar.

In my teaching experiences I have found that many people that play guitar wants to be somewhere else than where they ought to be.

The problem with playing too difficult guitar pieces is that it's difficult to develop note reading skills, learning to sight read and of course to learn the guitar pieces properly.

We will start this little tutorial on reading guitar sheet music by finding a few notes on the guitar fretboard.

You will find the note E on the first open string if your guitar is tuned with the most conventional tuning. This note can also be found on the second string and the fifth fret.

E on the third string is on the ninth fret. I would suggest that you practice playing the note E in these positions back and forth until you can find the note E without effort.

You will also find the note E in a lower octave on the fourth string and the second fret. On the fifth string you will find the same note on the seventh fret.

The sixth string is an E one octave lower. Let's invent an exercise to help you find the E notes on the guitar fretboard:

The task is to play the strings on the guitar in this order:

6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 6

As you play the strings the notes you play shall be the note E. This means that the sixth string and the first string are open strings and on the other strings you have to find the right fret.

Try to play slowly in an even tempo until you don't have to think about where to place you fingers. When you find this easy to do you can proceed by choosing another note, for example G and use the same method.

Knowing the notes on the guitar fingerboard is important in many ways.

To find your way around on your guitar will be a great help for you, not only when you play guitar sheet music but also when you are playing by ear or try to figure out the name of a chord or are playing by ear!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and learn to play guitar resources at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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