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Learning Guitar - Lesson Five
Part 2: Sharps and Flats
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: overview
• Part 3: 12 bar blues
• Part 4: B minor chord
• Part 5: scale review
• Part 6: learning songs
• Part 7: practice schedule
 
 Related Content
• Index of Guitar Lessons
• Buying Your First Guitar
• How to Read Guitar Tab
• Easy to Play Songs
• Guitar Chord Library
 
In guitar lesson four, we learned the names of the notes on the sixth and fifth string (you'll want to review them first if you're unsure of them). While that lesson was designed to teach you the basic note names, it did not tell you all you need to know as a guitarist. The following lesson will fill in the gaps lesson four intentionally avoided.

guitar lesson learning the neck frets notes sixth string piano black keys  blank frets notes on the neck instrument fretboard sharp flat If you've absorbed the material in lesson four, you'll know the names of all the notes in red on the diagram to the left. What you won't recognize is the names of the notes in between these red dots.
Let's begin by examining two new terms... "sharp" - which is written like this: # , and "flat" - which is written like this: b . Essentially, the term sharp means a note is raised a note by one fret (a "semitone"), while flat means a note is lowered by one fret (a "semitone").
Upon studying the diagram to the left, you'll notice each "in-between" note has two alternate names: one being a letter name followed by a sharp sign, and the other being a letter name followed by a flat sign. To explain this, we'll name the note on the second fret of the sixth string. The note is one fret above the note F on the first fret, so we will refer to the note as an F sharp(F#). Alternately, the same note is also one fret below the note G on the third fret, so it can also be referred to as G flat(Gb). You'll see this note referred to as either F# or Gb (for theoretical reasons that don't concern us now), so you must be aware that they are the exact same note. This same principle holds true for all other notes on the fretboard.

THINGS TO REMEMBER:
  • "Sharp" is notated as #
  • "Flat" is notated as b
  • If a letter name is followed by a sharp(#), the note is one fret higher than the fret you'd normally play that letter name on. Example: you'd play G on the third fret, sixth string. You'd play G# on the fourth fret sixth string.
  • If a letter name is followed by a flat(b), the note is one fret lower than the fret you'd normally play that letter name on. Example: you'd play D on the tenth fret, sixth string. You'd play Db on the ninth fret sixth string.
  • F# = Gb, G# = Ab, A# = Bb, C# = Db, D# = Eb
  • The note name on the 12th fret of any string is always the same as the open string.
  • Memorize the open string name, and several more note names and locations on both the sixth and fifth string. This will make finding all other notes much quicker.

Next page > 12-Bar Blues> Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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