How To Read Sheet Music

Learn How To Read Sheet Music For The Guitar!

How To Read Sheet MusicBeing able to read music is a great skill that every guitar player should at least try to acquire. Reading on the guitar can be pretty difficult for some players. Many guitar players start trying to learn how to read only to get frustrated and quit. This lesson will cover the very basics of how to start reading music on the guitar. We will mainly cover the names of the lines and spaces on the treble clef.

             

Guitar music is written on the treble clef. You can identify a treble clef by looking for the squiggly G looking character at the beginning of each line of music. If you look at a piece of sheet music you will see a series of 5 lines and 4 spaces. The musical alphabet is A B C D E F and G. Each of these lines and spaces correspond to one of the letters in the musical alphabet. The lowest line on the staff is an E. The lowest space on the staff is an F. If you continue up each line and space you will just go through the musical alphabet in order. When you come to a G note just start over on A again for the next note.

 

Guitar Sheet MusicLet’s take a look at the names of the lines and spaces separately. The names of just the lines are E G B D and F. You can remember these notes by using the phrase

“Every Good Boy Does Fine”. To remember the names of the spaces just remember the word “FACE”. This is how almost everyone learns to remember the names of the lines and spaces. It may seem a bit difficult to remember the names of each line and space at first, but if you work at it on a regular basis it will start to become second nature.

 

Play the F note on the 3rd fret of the 4th string of the guitar. This is the F note on the 1st space of the treble clef. You could also play this same F note on the 8th fret of the 5th string or the 13th fret of the 6th string. When you are reading music on the guitar, most notes have multiple places that you could choose to play them. This is one of the things that make reading music on the Face how to read sheet musicguitar so difficult.

 

For this lesson just concentrate on getting familiar with the names of the lines and spaces on the treble clef. Remember “Every Good Boy Does Fine” for the lines and “FACE” for the spaces. Once you are familiar with the lines and spaces, start trying to find those notes on the guitar fretboard.

 

Once you have learned how to read sheet music, you should learn how to read chord diagrams, how to read guitar rhythms, how to read guitar tabs, and how to read chord charts!

This Lesson Has 199 Comments

  • Nichole says:

    Trying to teach myself how to play the guitar not easy at all.

    • Dale says:

      i know what u mean. especially reading the sheet music for me, its the hardest

    • Sarah says:

      I know right! I can’t do it and I’ve been trying for so long!!

    • Dale says:

      iv only been trying for about a year but it is still very difficult

    • Thomas says:

      It’s easier after you first get started, just don’t get too stressed out, never quit, and always practice. If you’re like me and have school work cause you’re still a junior, again, don’t stress it. Just take things slow and don’t take on the biggest things first.

    • dalton says:

      Im 14 i tried for 2 years and got nothing but that was 3 years ago i just got it i picked up my guitar and am prgressing be patiant talent can not be made by a sheet of music its time

    • brendon says:

      me too i have only been able to read TABS and not sheet music lol

    • George Anzel says:

      Hi ALL

      its quite easy like notes on the stave or staff is

      EGBDF-Every Good Boy Does Fine

      and on the spaces FACE- Face……..

      Br George

    • Josh says:

      Dont give up its been 5 years now since I started playing and I did it all by Teaching myself, Granted it would be alot quicker probably with a teacher but I feel more intimate with my knowledge of my guitar

    • JCM says:

      Get the guitar free app or the full version it helped me well enough so that I can actually play some of the more difficult songs such as dream on by Aerosmith but it took me 2 yrs.

    • anonymus says:

      It is so much easier to learn how to read sheet music by singing first, because i learned how to read and sing sheet music 4 years ago and i picked up a guitar for the first time not even a year ago and can read and play quite well. If you use this skill in more ways than one it is definitely more useful and makes it much easier.

    • Tia says:

      I just started TT^TT

    • Jarrid says:

      I wouldnt bother with reading music for guitar if youre just starting out. Learn the chords G, Em, C, D, F, and A and go from there.

    • Dustin says:

      It gets easier.
      I’ve been playing for about 7 years and I’ve taught myself everything I know.
      Just don’t give up, and keep practicing. :)

    • Haley says:

      Try starting with tabs for the guitar (he has a lesson on them) then go to the sheet music.

    • jacob says:

      if you play any other insturmints it is very easy, i play trumpet and euphonium, so the notes are the same. so i would learn 2 at once if i were you

    • Mohamzz says:

      Well its better to have a professional teach u the basics but from there its easier to learn the rest on your own.

    • Philip Glaser says:

      I’m an amateur guitar player. I did manage to learn all the notes on the guitar up through the 12th fret, by using flash cards every day, that I made for myself. I still use tablature, but knowing the notes on the guitar gives you the ability to play the same notes that are in a tablature arrangement, at other places on the guitar – knowing just tablature, you are stuck with the tablature arrangement. Knowing the notes on the guitar, you can improve a tablature arrangement. My website is http://philipsguitarflashcards.blogspot.com

      Kind regards,

      Philip

    • Philip Glaser says:

      Beside using this website and a good guitar book, and possibly seeing a guitar teacher, using guitar flash cards is a good idea for learning the notes on the guitar – you test yourself with a few cards every day. I learned the notes on the guitar that way. Some good ones are for sale on Amazon Books, listed under guitar flash cards. Keep at it – playing guitar is a brilliant life-long hobby.

      Philip

    • myrah says:

      honestly, im trying to learn acoustic guitar notes. anyone have any helpful tips???

    • Christine says:

      Hey don’t sweat I’m in the same bubble but I’m only 11!

    • Heron says:

      Look, reading sheet music is important but learning guitar doesn’t require the knowledge of reading sheet music. I’ve been playing since I was six and i already perform in concerts and I’m just now learning. Don’t give up on guitar simply cause you struggle with reading music. Guitar is about expression, not knowing how to read music. Create something for others to learn. Take Dave Navarro, the guy doesn’t know the names of any scale or chord. He just plays, he knows the scale patterns but that’s it. He is one of the most popular guitarists and makes a very comfortable living at it. Everyone, just play, and have FUN!

    • John says:

      All it amounts to is how much time and how much you push yourself. In a few years you will amaze yourself.

    • L7 says:

      You’re not going to learn hear. There is no mention of the only thing that matters to get started — what does the low E on guitar look like in sheet music?

    • Juleen says:

      yes I know exactly how you feel I am in a band class and I love playing the guitar.On my first day of band they gave me sheet music and there were all these bunch of half notes and quarter notes which I was not familiar with i was used to the notes already being written on top of each word of the song. Although i was lucky to have nice classmates to help me learn how to read music sheet and find each note on the guitar, shortly after it became easier but it still takes all you, you shouldnt depend all on pro guitarist, just enjoy and learn to love it and soon it will become very easy and fun
      !!! <3

    • mike says:

      has anybody figured out how to know which position to play and when? i sort of have the basics down, 1st string is the top of the staves followed by the 2nd and so on. starting from hi A on the 1st. which is the 5th fret on the 1st string. only naturals unless otherwise denoted. the other issue is, when you change your tuning, do you keep to the basic layout, or are there changes? i asked a guitar teacher, he didn’t understand the questions.

    • Nate Savage says:

      If there is a specific position you are supposed to play certain notes in they will be indicated by circled numbers. These number range from 1-6 and represent the strings of the guitar. If there are no numbers telling you what string to play particular notes on, you can just use the open position or your own discretion.

    • bryer says:

      I used to never learn the notes on the guitar or care about sheet music. it sounds ridiculous but i was pretty a pretty technical guitar player for being so ignorant to something as easy and good as knowing the fretboard. I got a teacher to help with guitar and the best way, i believe, to learn the notes on the guitar is to learn and memorize all your scales and modes through the key signatures. it takes awhile but when your done you are not looking down at the guitar to find your notes you’ve memorized(within an approximate area) the notes themselves by knowing the patterns the scales take. this helps you improvise melodies over chords and other numerous things such as improving your ear for notes

    • D Derek says:

      its not that hard just take your time.it will take a while but it will come to you.

    • Taylor says:

      I personally recommend learning how to read tablature. It’s exclusive to guitar (and bass guitar), so it doesn’t really translate to other instruments – but It’s very simple, and easy to learn.
      Ultimate-guitar.com has lots of user submitted songs written out in tabs or chords for others to learn to play that song. That’s how I taught myself to play anyways.

    • Nate Savage says:

      Yeah, I don’t read a lot of TAB, but when I do it comes in really handy and it’s quick. It’s really worth putting in some effort to get down. Depending on your goals you may or may not want to also learn how to read standard notation.

    • Nickolas Moore says:

      i don’t get on the sheet music how you know what fret to be on.

    • Nate Savage says:

      A lot of times the notation will have indicators for what position you should be in or what specific string you should be playing a specific note on. If the music doesn’t indicate this… that’s where the challenge comes in. There are several ways to play the same thing on different strings on the guitar.

  • Alex says:

    this stuff makes sense but taking a class is way better and well worth the money dont teach urselfs go to school

    • Dale says:

      i cant go to a school im still in highschool and dont have the money to go to 2 different colleges, one for music and one for law

    • Scott says:

      Teaching yourself is the best way. Depending on a teacher to teach you everything limits your self reliance,lessens your self confidence and can cost too much money.Daily practice(at least an hour a day)takes discipline.If you want it bad enough you will get it. Many of the best guitar players were self taught.

    • Cheyanne says:

      well im in middle school,and my schedual is very unpreditable. i dont have the time or the money to take lessons, i have to teach myself. i think its better because teachers only teach u what they whant to on that day as it is, when you teach yourself you can learn what you have to when you can. and you save money for equiptment as well.

    • Heather says:

      If you teach yourself, chances are you will practice willingly rather than think of it as homework. Even in primary school until my current secondary school I had motivation from self-teaching.

    • bryer says:

      if you have the money i would recommend a teacher. wanting to be self taught MOST THE TIME is over-rated because people don’t have the attitude and don’t challenge themselves but it can be done. if you want to teach yourself i would highly recommend learning your scales chords and modes to all the key signatures. if you do that, you memorize the patterns of the notes themselves. this leads to a better musical ear, being able to harmonize with chords and make a melody over them. this took weeks of my lessons to get through but it is the most benefical way to start to learn and it creates a solid foundation.

    • MistaMeowmas says:

      I actually completely disagree about the schooling, and I disagree about learning by yourself. You learn the way you find easiest. For some people, they need to learn their own way. For others they need assistance. It just takes finding out what you need, it’s like anything. It comes with time. I believe with guitar you have to learn it your own way, because it’s you playing and it can be played in many ways. Not just one mans way because he gets paid to teach it.

    • Slap says:

      I’m thirteen years old and am in band I used to play the clarinet which also follows the treble clef so I’m very thankful to have it be treble but if it were to follow bass clef I’d be screwed but I understand what u guys are saying because I too trying to teach my self how to play guitar

  • Brooke says:

    I’m trying to teach myself guitar and it is really hard. The hardest part for me as been the sheet music part but i know mostly everything else but this video has helped a lot with sheet music

    • Lamar says:

      Regardless of what the player wants to eicrexenpe pop, people, country, rock, blues, jazz, classical or any other kind of music. This books also gives few tips and methodologies for players as an example, For players who are experiencing trouble in playing the chords and trouble in forming chord shapes with fingers it’s much better to begin with learning songs that have single notes or power chords. By following these strategy the fingers will get reinforced and the player will also get familiarized with the use of the chords and the instrument also. This decreases stress and disappointment on the player and is going to enable him / her to learn to play guitar efficiently.

  • T says:

    For some reason, it is very hard to find information on whether one should play a “c” note on the 5th string/3rd fret or 6th string 8th fret. In other words, what is the practical way to analyze a written part so that you will know which “c” note to use? Maybe it is simply subjective.

    • Drew says:

      Yes I agree. I too have been searching for this information all over the internet and no one seems to hit on it. Which makes me wonder does it really exist. Maybe with the guitar you are supposed to just make that decision yourself. Like when you say a note, the guitarist must decide which voicing of that note to play whether it be open string, 5th fret 3rd string, whatever it may be. I wish I could find the answer to that question. If anyone knows the answer to this question please email me at Dclan86@hotmail.com and let me know. The question is again “How do you know which string or fret of the guitar to play a certain note on when reading music?”

    • jake says:

      Andrew Wasson from creative guitar studio does loads of excellent and free lessons, I am also struggling with this and in one of his lessons Andrew explains the notes as they are written on the sheet music and how they relate to basic positions on the fretboard. Also sometimes the chord is listed above and can help with fingerings. often though i find the sheet music as written on the staff is only a vague representation of the tune, or bears very little resemblance to it! probably just me though! Tab is so easy to read by comparison.

    • John H says:

      No difference – same note

    • Philip Glaser says:

      It’s subjective. In some guitar arrangements, it is shown clearly which C note to play, but I have had guitar teachers who pointed out that if it’s easier to play C on the second string, first fret, do so – or if it sounds better to play the C note on the 5th fret, 3rd string, do it that way – you don’t have to be a slave to what it says in the guitar arrangement. With some easy guitar arrangements, for example, I’ll play the C on the 5th fret because it sounds better than what is shown in the simple arrangement, if the simple arrangement says to play the C on the first fret. The C on the 5th fret often sounds nicer. I have never seen anything in print that tells you which one to play. Two different guitar arrangements of the same piece might show you two different ways to play that C note.

      Philip

  • TJ says:

    For some reason it is hard to find how to analyze a written part so that you will know which note to play. For example, should the c note on the 5th string/3rd fret or the c note on the 6th string/8th fret be played in a particular situation.

  • Mike says:

    Nate I’ve watched a lot of your video clips now on the site and to the end of DVD 3 in the course. You keep saying this string this fret is such a note, take your word for it. This lesson on How To Read Sheet Music For The Guitar, I was expecting to find some way to relate the notes on the staff to the fretboard. If we don’t know how to find a note on the fretboard, what good is it to know the name of a note on the sheet music?

    is there some place on the site or on the DVD set where this information is connected so it becomes useful and one could pick out a tune or create a TAB for ourselves from sheet music, at least simple stuff?

    • Therck says:

      I concur with your issue wholeheartedly! Wherever you go to find guitar instruction online, you get chords, chords, chords with ad-nauseum detail on how to construct them. But nowhere do you find simple correlation between guitar strings/frets and actual notes. You get scale progressions with no real note labeling or correspondence between sheet music notes and guitar string/fret combinations. Why the mystery?

    • Therck says:

      Hey,look at this! No sooner than I whine about not finding guitar/note correlations than I find just that. See the site below. Mystery solved.

      http://www.zentao.com/guitar/theory/notes.html

    • jake says:

      Again, try Andrew Wasson Creative Guitar Studio

    • Scott says:

      i agree with you mike i dont understand it either…

    • Philip Glaser says:

      Using guitar flash cards is the way I learned all the notes on the guitar – I have a video on YouTube about the cards – “Philip’s Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Flash Cards.” The daily repetition with a few cards a day was the most efficient and systematic way of going about really learning the notes on the guitar. (Sorry to plug my own product, but I also struggled to learn the notes on the guitar to be able to read guitar music notation – that’s why I made the cards.)

  • ChaChaMARIA says:

    Help!! Guitar is so hard! But super cool! Don’t give up!

    • Philip Glaser says:

      Using guitar flash cards is the way I learned all the notes on the guitar – I have a video on YouTube about the cards – “Philip’s Learn All the Notes on the Guitar Flash Cards.” The daily repetition with a few cards a day is the most efficient and systematic way of going about really learning the notes on the guitar. (Forgive me for plugging my own product, but I also struggled to learn the notes on the guitar to be able to read guitar music notation – that’s why I made the cards. Trying to memorize the fret board other ways never worked for me.)

  • Rachael says:

    What’s the difference between guitar sheet music and piano sheet music? I’ve played piano for years so reading that is easy, but now I’m trying to teach myself how to play the guitar and I’m confused.

    • Solomon See says:

      I know its almost been a year and you probably know this by now but, The piano music is in two staffs, Treble and Bass Cleff… Guitar is just mostly based on the higher bass clef and treble clef… The standard E of ur lowest string will equal the E in the middle of the bass clef.. as u go up the fret its like going up the keys of a piano (including whites and black keys). So as u progress u can find the same notes from a piano onto the guitar by finding the same notes starting from the lowest E on the the guitar and the 2nd lowest E on the piano…

  • Kristian :) says:

    Hey nate!!I LOVE your website i’ve learned sooo much stuff and i got the hang of playing chords and stuff really fast. :) thanks!I just got my guitar in july too! but anyways, i play the saxophone in band and i’ve been trying to teach myself piano too, so i knew how to read sheet music but for a guitar how do you know what string to play a note on? Like how would i know what string to play an F note on? If its a high f do we play one of the F’s on the high string? thats the only thing im confused about. And i never used tabs yet and i don’t really want to cause it feels like it would be like cheating, i mean i might start useing it for some stuff maybe, but i’d rather read sheet music if i can :)feels more musical :D and i’d rather learn songs by ear too! Before i even found your website and knew anything bout the guitar, i found out how to play Eponea’s song from the legend of zelda on my guitar and Zelda’s lullaby. But anyways thanks Nate!!!! :)

    • Kristian :) says:

      Or should i just not really worry bout reading sheet music for guitar too much? i have alot of fun just playing random chords and making up my own stuff. :D
      I still gots lot more stuff to learn though! can’t wait! :P

  • Felicitas P. Calicdan says:

    Nate is there any better way to read sheet music?

  • jay fraser says:

    yeah , but the more you learn you’ll find that the notes will overlap so that a note will end up being at the most 4 places on the guitar ! so where do you fret at ?

  • Neel says:

    Why don’t you teach all the complicated staff notes

    • Lyoto says:

      why dd you post a video with alot of mistakes? o well .. its rlealy hard,, but,, why did you post this? what about the people didnt know this song? are they make their own tabs or what? >.

  • Dave S says:

    Hey Nate, I have a question. I pretty much understand the scales and key signature and I have finally figured out the circle of 5ths and fourths but I am confused about one thing. When reading a musical score for the guitar how do you know where to start? I know that keys are based on the major scale but seeing that you can play a major scale on so many places on the fret board how do you know where to find say the key of C, it shows up so many different places on the fret board.Does this all make sense? Thanks for all your help

    • Robert says:

      The idea for this lesson is to make it pylalbae for a Beginner. You would need two guitars to perfectly emulate the original intro. The original song has two acoustic guitars playing the intro (one a 6-string and the other a 12-string). If you have the Guitar Pro software, you can get the full tab for this. All three guitars, bass, flute, vocals, and drums. All tabbed out and play along-able in midi. Send me a message and I can send you the link to where you can get it.

  • Dan says:

    Thank you for these lessons. I am having more fun than an old man should be allowed to have. LOL

  • Jose says:

    Hey I found a great website that explains the basic strings (eBGDAE) in open form and builds up from that. I understood afterwards.
    http://www.mangore.com/music_notation.html

  • asaiya says:

    i need to learn for my band but its so defining and difficult it makes me look bewildered(confused)

  • Flabby says:

    I already know all of that stuff that was written there only what I want to know is how to read the notes above and below the treble cleft.

    • AlexisKay says:

      The notes above and below the average staff are in the same order. If the notes are going up above, then you keep going up with the same pattern (starting with the last line)fgabcdef with the lines and spaces. If the notes go down below then you go backwards with the same pattern. (starting with the last line)edcbagfe. It’s simple once you get the hang of it. Hope this helps!!

  • AlexisKay says:

    I already know how to read normal sheet music from sitting in band class for 3years playing the clarinet. I was more or less looking for how to read the chord outlay that the guitar books give you when they are trying to teach you how to play the chord progressions. To me they look like numbers just put on the lines ranging anywhere from 0-14. Help??

  • Ron says:

    I Have learnt this stuff many years ago but never put the time in to master it.I know it can become very involved I want to learn it more seriously.I Do still have a basic knowledge of some of the deeper stuff but I would like to brush up on it all and learn it properly.Do you provide lessons of this type that progressively get more involved.If so are they 100% free as stated.I find it difficult to Find any help along these lines!

  • [...] upYou will need to be in a small quite room where you will not be distracted by anything when you learn to read guitar sheet music. The only way to know when you get it right is if it sounds right and it can be difficult do that [...]

  • mardi says:

    I find its east to remember them by:
    FACE: FACE (line)
    EGBSF: every good boy deserves fudge (space

  • Khin says:

    Yeah, the one here (the white one) can get ANY sound in the world. It will sound amazing for any style of music. They black ICB300 has no aitvce electronics and sounds a lot like a Fender Precision bass. Just a boomy, thud of tone. There’s no getting a really live, slap sound out of it no matter how many knobs you have on your amp. lol It’s always going to sound that ONE WAY and no other. So, you have to REALLY love that tone that it has, because that’s all you’re going to get.

  • namrata says:

    its really difficult and being a school girl its..HELL
    dude guitar is tough

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  • nelly says:

    i just got a fender guitar for my birthdsy just learing smoke on the warter today but still have no idar what i am doing lol :P

    • Austin Lee says:

      to me smoke on the water is one of the simpliest things to learn. how are u doing it? in power chords or on a single string?

  • Austin Lee says:

    i got my electric in december and acoustic in february and am doing pretty good for a thirteen year old, but i think sheet music is going to be my hardest challenge. im going to take concert band next year because i think it will help my skills but will it actually help me?

  • Uday says:

    Great confusion, reading these notes,i m confused with how to play space notes FACE. need more such videos.

  • derrick (greenday fanatic) says:

    hi, im a guitar player of about a year, and i know most power chords. the problem is, i want to learn how to read from sheet music. im in marching and concert band at school ( high school), but i play percusion. i want to be able to look at a sheet of music and know how to play it on guitar. i can read tabs, but not everything has tabs. can anybody help me!

  • Sarge says:

    Great website, although it is confusing at times.

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  • Dustin says:

    I think it’s alot easier to play by ear I’m in favor of zakk wylde never will I b as good but I mean if u no ur arpegioes and penatonic and octives then I’m my eyes ur a good guitarist :p

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  • Pj3j says:

    What?!?!

  • Erika says:

    My cousin has a guitar but i don’t know how to play it and i even don’t know how to read sheet music.

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    It’s not hard. Just think your a rabbit and you need to reach the end of the desert to get water!

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    • Georgina says:

      so like more electric gituar soloing and stuff?cause most of the stuff ur pointing to is all improv.i could teach some like licks and stuff i guess, but i know what ur going after.

  • anonymus says:

    what about the notes above the top line of the staff and the notes bellow the bottom line of the staff?

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  • 80's Player says:

    I’ve been playing guitar via tablature and just figuring things out myself since 1982. I have never had the desire to actually “learn” what I was playing until very recently. This seems like a very good place for me to start. Thanks, and for those just learning how to play chords and scales, like I’ve seen in many of these comments, KEEP PRACTICING. It’ll come, eventually. Some of the best things I play, the most satisfying things, are the ones that took me hours,day,sometimes weeks to get just right. Even the best players never ever stop learning the instrument. Never forget that. Thanks again!

  • Shinto G says:

    Lol is the guy in the video baked?

  • Raiven says:

    Fender Presents: Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar — A Guide for Beginners (2002) http://www.amazon.com/Fender-Presents-Getting-Acoustic-Beginners/dp/B0000639G8
    Amazing Dvd To teach you the basics of guitar playing i’ve had it about 2 weeks and i can play all major and minor chords so far try it out

  • Dar'Tanion says:

    I already know how to read notes & rythem on Sheet Music because i played other instruments but i just don’t know what fets go with each note

  • Jack says:

    Ok i go to school, as i am 15 and i live in England. I have 2 awesome music teachers; as music is a said ‘option’ for my GCSE’s. In this lesson i learn numorous thing like how to read sheet music i have learnt this skill and i am not currently fluent in reading sheet music. As i have been using tabliture for quite some time now thus putting me off reading sheet music. I now want to learn how to read sheet music for use on guitar, as i plan on joining a band. Well forming a band. So yeah i will then need to read sheet music in order to write music.

    So my point is that for any new or experienced players you can read music via the combination ‘F.A.C.E.’ and also ‘Every Green Bus Drives Fast’.

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  • Emily says:

    It is cool but I want to learn sharps and flats

  • fortune says:

    bought a new guitar…visited many websites…but i am still confused. i dont even know how to read the music sheet

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  • scott says:

    I’ve been playing piano lately and it’s sort of the same with the “E-G-B-D-F” and the “F-A-C-E” i’m still learning it but could it be used for the guitar chords like “E-A-D-G-B-E” F is the 4th string 2/2 3/5 or something, music is sort of like math..

  • apsaul says:

    I’m getting confused, it takes a lot more time…..

  • Kelly says:

    Ive been teaching myself how to play for 2 years, playing based off of tabs but i want to try to learn how to read sheet music. Its so hard though, i dont understand it…

  • prashant says:

    anyone trying to learn sheet music notes try this book: Music notation primer. It has helped me big time.

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  • online music sheets says:

    Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very great article.

  • Miguel says:

    I’m 17, mostly blues player. But got into jazz, and eventually got to classical. This is my first step on learning how to read sheet music, and after reading this article one question popped up:

    How would you know if its flat or sharp notes?

  • Erika says:

    i been trying to read sheet music for 2 years and i still cant like i know how to read like G,D,a minor and stuff like that but cant read this!

  • Free Sheet Music- How to Uncover It says:

    It is in point of fact a great and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kayleigh =D says:

    its quit ez i tryed it and I made a few mistakes but i took me like 3-5 days to get it right its just a matter of days and i started playing the guitar eh 7 days ago LOL :D

    • Swagger! says:

      Now thats the sperit!!! i like you kayleigh your the only one on here who has a good sperit :D

      ~SWAGGER OUT :)

    • jacob says:

      haha you think its *easy look at my clinic audition music LOL XD i have like 10 16th note runs and 2 32nd note runs XD

  • Swagger! says:

    Hey home slice’s its SWAGGER here saying the stuff right here helpful infomation it’s like combinding swag and writing and it makes a work of art (lil’ mexican sayin magnefeco) BYE

    ~SWAGGER OUT :)

  • carmen golder says:

    I can read it real well it took me a long time, mind you, but I can but then I saw tableture which is soooo easy! :P) so if your thinking about quitting because its too hard just wait and try , tableture! :P)

  • carmen golder says:

    wow I like u too swagger your pretty , magnifico ! LOL

  • Kyle says:

    I’m 13 and first chair percussionist in our schools band.I really want to be able to play other instruments though,and not like the crappy instruments in our band [not counting percussion ;its not crappy] im mean guitar and things you would find in heavy metal bands like Into Eternity so if anyone has any other website suggestions please email kylemcfadden549@yahoo.com

    -Kyle

    • jacob says:

      if you want to play an instermint just for metal you will give up, trust me, if you go in to music playing metal you will fall behind everyone else and will be “that guy who thinks he can play guitar” its happend to a lot of my friends

  • PHIL says:

    I’ve been trying to find what are the tabs of the notes that on top(bottom-E)A,B,C,D,E. The note with the leger(LEDGER) lines through or under notes like: l-note with leger line through a note above the top of staff & a leger line with a note on top of leger line with another note with line through the note & leger line underneathe i really hope you understand my description. lol.

    • jacob says:

      ledger lines are for when you go below the staff in sheet music, they are -’s but tabs use dashes just to keep the numbers seperated, they are not ledger lines

  • Morgan says:

    This makes no sense to me. Why is there lots of notes but only six strings on the guitar? How do you play notes when you don’t have them!?

  • rich says:

    Hi,, ive got it !! finally. Thank you for getting me started on reading the notes, where they are at and such. As of now, just a few days later, i am reading the notes above and below the staff, and locating them on the guitar. Its fun and frustrating at times, but soon things just clicked. i am enjoying playing songs finally , and thank you once again for this simple yet important lesson on getting started.

  • Isabelle says:

    Having a go of this is hard! Holiday fun no guitar

  • kuko says:

    The only thing that help me understand the notes on the guitar and also help me to read music was having a little of bit of background knowledge on piano playing. So here’s my attempt to try to transfer that knowledge. Mind you I haven’t played either guitar or piano in 10 years and I’m starting over with the guitar so excuse my lack of proper terminology.

    If it pasted properly, below you have a piano drawing, with its respective white and black keys.

    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | c | D | E | F | G | A | B | C | D | E |
    |_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

    1st concept: whole steps and half steps (first I’ll explain it as it relates to a piano, then guitar)
    In the piano, every time you move from one key to the very next one, without skipping any key, you moved a half step. Every time you skipped a key, you moved a whole step. You can use this as a measure of distance, see example below.

    For example: the distance between the keys(or notes) C – D is a whole step, because there’s a black key between them. Using this same reasoning, the distance between the notes E – F is a HALF step, because there are no other keys or notes between them. [these applies in either direction, from C to D or D to C]
    On the guitar, every line/fret on the neck of the guitar represents a HALF step, and this is how it affects the location of the notes on the guitar.

    From the piano diagram above we see that between the notes E-F and B-C there is a distance of a half step. Therefore, since the first string of the guitar (bottom thinnest string) is an E, when you want to get to F you move a half step; therefore you press down on the first fret. Once on F, if you want to move to G, according to the piano diagram there is a distance of a whole step between them, so you skip one fret and press down on the third fret. The second fret that was just skipped is the black key on the piano between the notes F and G.

    Using the same concept on the second string, B. According to the diagram, the distance between B-C is a half step and the distance between C-D is a whole step. So open second string = B, pressing down on the first fret = C, skipping one fret and pressing down on the third fret = D.

    Third string, G. Is it clear that the distance between G-A is a whole step? So, open third string = G, skip the first fret (skip a half step) and press down on the second fret = A.

    Fourth sting, D. If we want to play D-E-F, we must play open string, whole step, half step. So from open string D to E, move a whole step by skipping the first fret and pressing down on the second fret, reach F by moving a half step to the next consecutive fret, the third fret.

    Fifth string, A. should be able to do it by now. If you are not sure, it’s the same process as the fourth string.

    Sixth string, E. Same as the first string.

    So starting from the sixth string on the top and moving down you should be able to find all the notes now. In CAPS you have the notes of each open string on the guitar. This is how you would play on a guitar all these notes consecutively on a piano.

    E f g
    A b c
    D d f
    G a (I’m not missing a letter, I can’t remember why but it’s like that)
    B c d
    E f g

    I hope this helps you understand a little bit better the reasoning behind the location of the notes on the guitar.

    If you are interested here’s quick explanation of the black keys on the piano. They are the sharp or flat notes. Sharp is represented by the # sign and flat looks like a funny lowercase b. So in a piano, if you are moving to the right, starting at C, the black key notes are C#, D#, F#, G#, A#. If you are moving to the left, starting at B, the black notes will be Bb(b=flat), Ab, Gb, Eb, Db. So the black key between C – D can be called both C# or Db (C sharp and D flat). The same thing happens to the black key between F and G, it can be either F# or G flat.

    So on the guitar, the first string is E, F is only a half step away so we pressed down on the first fret. F# is also a half step away so the second fret on the first string if F# (sharp) or Gb(flat), right between F and G (first fret and third fret).

    • Rana says:

      Great explanation. I can read the notes but couldn’t figure out how they translate to the guitar strings; it completely makes sense now. I wish this was explained in the above video so that I’m not scratching my head in confusion because I have no clue why fourth string third fret is an F! Thanks kuko!!!

  • Brian says:

    wow ur very good at teaching it is so hard to find a teacher on the internet like you.
    keep up the good work:)

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  • Thomas says:

    Try learning tablature first, it is less complicated and gets you used to the guitar. Then from there learn chord music,it is slightly more complicated, and then to regular sheet music.

  • Buttons says:

    I am a singer so I can read plain sheet music fairly well. I just got my guitar today.It is electric.I already know how to play a few basic chords.My problem is that I do not understand how guitar sheet music translates to plain.I feel that if I knew that, playing and reading music would be much easier.Please reply with helpful tips.

  • tarah says:

    I’m only twelve and I’m learning to play. And in 7th grade

  • INDIGO says:

    I am 14 and trying to teach myself guitar!!!! very hard!

  • parrot says:

    i know those but i dont know the other notes which are higher than the stave. someone please help me im really stuck and i need to know them for my christmas audision

  • parrot says:

    help me please

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  • erika zicha says:

    i do not know how to play a guitar at all and i want to learn soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo very bad.

  • erika zicha says:

    somebody show me how to play a guitar plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • erika zicha says:

    i could really use alot of help people

  • erika zicha says:

    wow ur very good at teaching it is so hard to find a teacher on the internet like you.
    keep up the good work:)

  • erika zicha says:

    The only thing that help me understand the notes on the guitar and also help me to read music was having a little of bit of background knowledge on piano playing. So here’s my attempt to try to transfer that knowledge. Mind you I haven’t played either guitar or piano in 10 years and I’m starting over with the guitar so excuse my lack of proper terminology.

    If it pasted properly, below you have a piano drawing, with its respective white and black keys.

    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |@@@| | |@@@| |@@@| |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | | | | | | | | | | |
    | c | D | E | F | G | A | B | C | D | E |
    |_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

    1st concept: whole steps and half steps (first I’ll explain it as it relates to a piano, then guitar)
    In the piano, every time you move from one key to the very next one, without skipping any key, you moved a half step. Every time you skipped a key, you moved a whole step. You can use this as a measure of distance, see example below.

    For example: the distance between the keys(or notes) C – D is a whole step, because there’s a black key between them. Using this same reasoning, the distance between the notes E – F is a HALF step, because there are no other keys or notes between them. [these applies in either direction, from C to D or D to C]
    On the guitar, every line/fret on the neck of the guitar represents a HALF step, and this is how it affects the location of the notes on the guitar.

    From the piano diagram above we see that between the notes E-F and B-C there is a distance of a half step. Therefore, since the first string of the guitar (bottom thinnest string) is an E, when you want to get to F you move a half step; therefore you press down on the first fret. Once on F, if you want to move to G, according to the piano diagram there is a distance of a whole step between them, so you skip one fret and press down on the third fret. The second fret that was just skipped is the black key on the piano between the notes F and G.

    Using the same concept on the second string, B. According to the diagram, the distance between B-C is a half step and the distance between C-D is a whole step. So open second string = B, pressing down on the first fret = C, skipping one fret and pressing down on the third fret = D.

    Third string, G. Is it clear that the distance between G-A is a whole step? So, open third string = G, skip the first fret (skip a half step) and press down on the second fret = A.

    Fourth sting, D. If we want to play D-E-F, we must play open string, whole step, half step. So from open string D to E, move a whole step by skipping the first fret and pressing down on the second fret, reach F by moving a half step to the next consecutive fret, the third fret.

    Fifth string, A. should be able to do it by now. If you are not sure, it’s the same process as the fourth string.

    Sixth string, E. Same as the first string.

    So starting from the sixth string on the top and moving down you should be able to find all the notes now. In CAPS you have the notes of each open string on the guitar. This is how you would play on a guitar all these notes consecutively on a piano.

    E f g
    A b c
    D d f
    G a (I’m not missing a letter, I can’t remember why but it’s like that)
    B c d
    E f g

    I hope this helps you understand a little bit better the reasoning behind the location of the notes on the guitar.

    If you are interested here’s quick explanation of the black keys on the piano. They are the sharp or flat notes. Sharp is represented by the # sign and flat looks like a funny lowercase b. So in a piano, if you are moving to the right, starting at C, the black key notes are C#, D#, F#, G#, A#. If you are moving to the left, starting at B, the black notes will be Bb(b=flat), Ab, Gb, Eb, Db. So the black key between C – D can be called both C# or Db (C sharp and D flat). The same thing happens to the black key between F and G, it can be either F# or G flat.

    So on the guitar, the first string is E, F is only a half step away so we pressed down on the first fret. F# is also a half step away so the second fret on the first string if F# (sharp) or Gb(flat), right between F and G (first fret and third fret).

    • Ricky says:

      Wow. Thank you Ericka this has made my day. I have never understood the alphabet until now on the separate strings. You are a Blessing. Again thank you. Hey Nate has a great thing going. It just took something off line sort of to speak to make me understand.

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  • Tristan says:

    I play by ear. I have to listen to the chords I play so they sound right. Playing guitar is fun . If you play you should stick with it.

  • Tristan says:

    I love the guitar. It has a beautiful sound.

  • Justus Lifeblood says:

    Hey, Nate! What is the correlation between the notes on the music scale and how to play them on the guitar? What frets would be played?

  • Dan says:

    How do you read when it’s above or below the staff?

  • Anonymous says:

    I’ve been playing guitar for years and reading music is easy, but starting now to write it, is becoming very difficult :(

  • Brandon ccorners says:

    Im only 11 and I understand.

  • Brandon coners says:

    Im only eleven and I understand.

  • AG says:

    I play flute in the school band. I learned shhet music from that and was able to convert the notes pretty easily :) Hope that helps everyone!

  • jimscape says:

    I am left handed but seem to be a natural right handed guitar player. I learned how to read sheet music as a kid playing Trumpet, French Horn and some Sax. This knowledge isn’t helping me a bit reconciling the fretboard, chords, tabs etc and sheet music. I can read and hear the notes in my head but to get them to my fingers is another matter entirely. I suppose I’ll just practice as much as I can and eventually I’ll learn how to play, then worry about reading music. I’m having trouble with the tab numbers when theyre not plotted out like in Piano or Guitar tabs w/o the numbers. I’m teaching myself and it’s not easy. I noticed many people are guitar players and can’t imagine they all went though what I’m going through now !

  • Hannah says:

    hi , i’m learning to play guitar how do i know where each line or gap is ???x

  • obat tbc says:

    Thanks for the good writeup. It in truth was once a entertainment account it. Look complex to more delivered agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  • FENDER CUSTOM SHOP says:

    Hey I’ve been playing guitar for 13 years and I play a lot of gigs but take it from me learn sheet music first then let your self rest with tabs if your anygood at it then have fun if u suck then it’s not for u ……!GuITAR god out(:

  • Mia says:

    I just got a six string guitar.. There is an f on the sheet but not an f on my six strings.. Where is my f….

  • nathan says:

    I know over 30 songs becouse of this page.

  • Gabby says:

    Don’t even bother. Just look at Tabs. They are way easier and sound exactly the same.

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  • Josh says:

    Thank You so much, Simple and straight to the point. Years of struggle completed in 5 minutes.

  • Madi says:

    I understand this a little. In 4rth grade i took flute lessons. But that kinda helped me. The only thing i dont get is what do the E G B D F and F A C E represent. The chords?

  • Oliver says:

    This is very cool

  • Jason says:

    haha, easy, dont learn it, i know i didnt, i want to but hell im doing fine without reading any

  • Nicole says:

    if you have a friend who knows how to play that’s the best thing to do is to learn from them

  • foxy fox says:

    its fairly easy to pick up a guitar now and start playing now after 4 years of practice now i can finally play propperly thanx :)

  • mhmd says:

    the lines of the sheet is 5 but the chords of the guitar r 6
    hows that?

  • Sky Ocean says:

    the chord part is pretty easy, but reading the freaking music…its not easy.

  • Daniel.Martin says:

    would you send mi a PDA file of the sheet music, cause I like it very much…….thanks..

  • Philip Todd says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s the right F – middle C is the first fret on the B string; I’ve sat at my piano and worked this out, so that F should be 2nd fret on the high E string.

  • Amanda Moyer says:

    Just learn the notes first and practice, practice, practice and it will get easier over time. :D

  • jacob simmons says:

    yeah I’ve been playing for about 4-5 years now and people think that I’ve been playing since I was a kid it defiantly gets easier and with time and practice I thought myself so I could only imagine what a real teacher could do for you

  • William Jones says:

    I remember every good boy deserves fudge, but that works too.

  • jash says:

    i really don’t understand those EGBDF and FACE….
    I’ve been playing guitar 2 years from now…
    i can play a lot of songs i even have my own song but i don’t know how to read sheet music….kinda difficult,…

  • joe says:

    I have been playing guitar for 54 years now and I think its about time I learned to read and write music.
    we had a music teacher at school, but all he would do was play his violin and go on about his war experiences. so all I can remember about reading music is recognising the time signature which is so many beats to the barr and f a c e between the lines from the bottom and e g b d f. so I am buying a tutorial and getting on with it. I want to put some of the tunes I have composed down on paper before I join a band in heaven. I am 66 now and counting.

  • James says:

    I have been practicing “off and on” since Nov 2011, just this year I have finally mastered??? three first Major scales, C,G and D, I have learned to play a few Christian hymns from the music in our book, I already knew the hymns to sing, my problem is where do I go from here??

    Any suggestions?

    God bless
    James

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey James,

      This is a hard question for me to answer because I don’t know what your goals for the guitar are. You need to make some simple goals and those goals will dictate what you need to work on next. Let me know what you would like to do on the guitar and I can help you better. :)

  • oscar oliva says:

    I have been learning for 2 years, it is not easy I must admit, but once you start listening notes that you practice over and over. and then you hear music coming out that beautiful instrument, you don’t want to stop, I AM addicted to it. just put your mind into it I AM not stopping now, next step how to read music I AM determine to do it. please everybody don’t QUIT and KEEP ON ROCKING.

  • Laura A. says:

    Even though I play violin & not a guitar it’s really helpful because the notes are the same.

  • Adam says:

    I am just beginning but all if the notes that you need to learn only depend on 7 letters of the alphabet a to g easy! And oh teach yourself only You have your own way to okay guitar there is not correct finger positions you can use any finger positions you desire to people just don’t tell ya just research the shit its easy as 123…if you wanna learn it badly you’ll catch on and if you learn it by teaching yourself your going to Lear easier then going to some teacher that’s will teach you their lame slow way.been there tried it

  • ciaran says:

    trying to play guitar want to be like kurt cobain its very hard to play and read

  • Sandra says:

    Pls. Teach how to read chords on sheet music
    I found this lesson very useful.

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey Sandra there are several lessons here that touch on that topic. The Guitar System goes into great detail with this.

  • John says:

    Maybe this was covered in the comment section already, but there’s too much to sift through. All I’d like to know is this: where is middle C located on the fret board, I’d be able to determine where all the notes would fit according to that, yet I haven’t been able to find is explained anywhere. If anyone knows, please enlighten me. Much thanks in advance.

    • Nate Savage says:

      Middle C on the guitar is located in a couple of places. The 3rd fret of the A string and the 8th fret of the low E string. The same note being located in multiple locations is one of the things that makes reading music on the guitar a bit tricky.

  • Caleb Bates says:

    I love the guitar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hannah says:

    For me it was easier because I used to play the clarinet. I learned how to read music there so now it is just second nature to me. ;)

  • Make your own sheet Music says:

    You’ve got great insights about Sheet Music, keep up the good work!

 
 

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