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Guitar lessons for beginners: Notes on a Guitar

Elvis Elvis

Number 5 of our Guitar Lessons for Beginners is about learning the notes on a guitar. You can skip this and go down to the video if you want. The guitar guy in the video goes a little fast, so if you get confused, read the written instructions here. You’ll get it one way or the other.

Here’s a quick-and-dirty explanation of guitar notes:

  • STARTING OUT ON THE ‘E’ STRING, THE 6th STRING:

    1st fret is F
    **2nd fret is F-sharp
    3rd fret is G
    4th fret is G-sharp
    5th fret is A (same exact tone as 5th string, A)
  • STARTING OUT ON THE ‘A’ STRING, 5th STRING:
    1st fret is A-sharp
    2nd fret is B
    3rd fret is C
    **4th fret is C-sharp
    5th fret is D (same exact tone as 4th string, D)

** = There are half or whole steps between all notes.From F to F-sharp is a half step. From F to G is a whole step.So one fret = one half step. Two frets = one whole step.

  • STARTING OUT ON ‘D’ STRING, 4th STRING:
    1st fret is D-sharp
    2nd fret is E
    3rd fret is F
    4th fret is F-sharp
    5th fret is G (same exact tone as 3rd string, G)

NOTE: E and F are together, and B and C are together!There is no half step between these two. There are half steps between all the other guitar notes.

  • STARTING OUT ON ‘G’ STRING, 3rd STRING:
    1st fret is G-sharp
    2nd fret is A
    3rd fret is A-sharp
    4th fret is B
    5th fret is C

What happened here? The 5th fret is NOT the same tone as the following string. From the 3rd to 2nd strings the interval has changed. Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? It’s just the way the musical interval works out. Don’t bother yourself about it in the beginning. Just get used to playing the notes on the strings and build up your hand strength. Once you learn a lot of chords and songs you will gain much more confidence and this little pattern change will make sense.

  • STARTING OUT ON ‘B’ STRING, 2nd STRING:
    1st fret is C (remember no space between B and C)
    2nd fret is C-sharp
    3rd fret is D
    4th fret is D-sharp
    5th fret is E – which is same note as 1st string E
  • STARTING OUT ON ‘E’STRING, 1st STRING:
    1st fret is F (remember, no space between E and F)
    2nd fret is F-sharp
    3rd fret is G
    4th fret is G-sharp
    5th fret is A – and that’s it for all 6 strings! You will learn the upper frets later on. There’s plenty to learn here for now.

Watch the video below which shows the notes on a guitar.