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Q: which notes on staff relate to which strings on guitar?

5 Feb 2011 10:53 | Quote
Joined: 05 Feb 2011
I have been wondering how one knows what string to play a note on when reading from music notation. Is there any theory to say where one plays a note and which string to play it on or is it just up to the player to decide? This is probably a REALLY dumb question but I thought I'd ask it anyway in case someone had a good tip/some wisdom on the topic.
5 Feb 2011 10:59 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Not a dumb question at all, its good to learn and practise notation. Check this link, it have pretty clear pictures and stuff..


5 Feb 2011 11:30 | Quote
Joined: 09 Sep 2008
Karma: 8
people might think im a retard for saying this but music notation isnt really (in my opinion) good for stringed instruments like guitar violin cello ect. due to the fact that there is more than one of the same note on the instrument. to me it doesnt make sense. but it does for piano, trumpet tuba ect as thoughs instruments only haveone way to play that note.

please note i know how to read music though :P i just think its unorthodox

5 Feb 2011 12:38 | Quote
Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Licks: 3
Karma: 6
smj135 says:
or is it just up to the player to decide?

It's basically up to you. :) You could look for the highest and lowest notes in the piece you want to play and after that choose a nice position to play in.

@gmg: I don't know how to put this but...

I think it's good that it's unorthodox, I think that it being unorthodox makes people's brains work harder and therefore they get better guitarists. To play sheet music you have to know all positions of that very second octave G# or fifth octave B, and that will increase your knowledge of the instrument. If you play off a TAB you have no clue about what's going on. ;)
5 Feb 2011 14:22 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
i believe the space below the third line that is below the treble cleff is your low e. If that makes sense
5 Feb 2011 15:10 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
@ gmg.... Is tablature orthodox then. I really hope you arent saying that.
5 Feb 2011 15:59 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
@smj135---there is no theory on notation, it is what it is. The problem with guitar and other select instruments is some notes repeat. For example Middle C will be notated, on the guitar it shows up 5 times and is in somewhere around 20 positions (not going to count waste of time), with something like F2 showing up once and is in two positions. The only way to know what position to play in is experience. Some position are good for one thing that others are good for other things. The Only tip is to never have a favorite position (idiotic) and practice playing (melodies, progressions, not just doodling) in all positions. And to understand your octaves.

I agree with Gmg, but not so much on the trumpet and stuff part. And there are tons of reasons why not just octave reasons. Notation was made with the keyboard in mind and fits it like a glove. However, as music theory is geared toward and most of the time related to the piano it's completely irrelevant. Also show me something to better to write a melody in and I'll give you a million dollars.

Point is, learn how to read notation (sight reading is not always important). your skill as a musical Performer (notice "musical performer" not musician nor performer) get cuts in half maybe even more.
5 Feb 2011 16:54 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
Without notation musicians cant communicate. Tableture wont work for the pianist. Playing standard notation becomes common sense once you know what to do. Meaning you play the notes closest together. Staying as few frets apart as possible. And i consider myself real crappy at sight reading.
5 Feb 2011 17:38 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Lessons: 1
Karma: 45
RA, I'm curious about something you have mentioned on this thread and elsewhere........."understand your octaves". you stress that alot. can you explain why you find this to be so important? If there is something, some sort of philosophy or logic behind this i'd love to know. Thanks,
P.S. you don't have to write a six page essay. LOL
6 Feb 2011 21:09 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
maybe I should clarify and say octave layout. sometimes (really most) knowing what note (interval, name [feq lettering]) just isn't enough you got to know what octave your in. This is actually a very hard concept to get around on the guitar, unlike the piano which is easier due to it's linear nature.

when learning how to read sheet music for the guitar this is a must. The sheet going to say C, But what C. One guitar notation is written a octave down (gets a lot of people) so you need to now how to transcribe normal Treble G. Thus a good knowledge of the octave layout is a must. Also say it wants a E3 which one? you need to know where the 3rd octave starts and where is ends, what strings, how the strings relate, which positions is best. All require octave layout knowledge (among other things).

Also, when arranging this is a must. other instruments need to know where your playing. Obvious in a rock band (bass, guitar(s)) this can be over looked (not really but rock gets very simple sometimes). When playing with keyboards you'll hear people complain about muddiness. well this is due (a lot of the time) to people walking over each other feet (so to speak) by being in the same octave.

now while you may say "I don't arrange so who cares." well not so, when your improving in a sense your are arranging. Knowing your octaves will allow you to move in and out with the rhythm player and just make a much better solo. Instead of the rhythm guy yelling at you to stay up top you can crate interlocking parts.

and a whole lot more..
6 Feb 2011 22:31 | Quote
Joined: 05 Jun 2010
Karma: 22
Doesnt knowing ur octaves become commen sense once u know a little about the tuning of the strings and the higher octave of those strings being on the 12th? And figuring out the notes in between should come fairly easy.

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