Guitar Class


Musical Notes

Here, we look at note names, and what they mean. We look at an octave, sharp, flat, semitone, whole tone.


If a man (with a low voice) sings with a woman (with a higher voice) they might sing the same note, but an octave apart. Another example is playing the 4th string at fret 2, then the 6th string, open. These notes sound very similar. They are an octave apart, and both notes are called E.

Another E is on string 1, open, and another one on string 1, at fret 12. The guitar has 4 E notes on it.

12 Note Names

In Western music, there are 12 notes, and each has a name. You can play them all on string 5. First, play it open (this note is A), then at fret 1, then 2, then 3, 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, 11, 12. The note at 12 is another A, and if you go to 13, 14, the pattern repeats. There are 12 different notes, and here are their names, going from low up to high:

A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G#

A Bb B C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab 

The # means 'sharp' and the b neans 'flat'. The correct flat letter is ♭ but it is easier to use b. Note that f# is above F, and Eb is below E. When tuning a guitar, if a string is a bit too low, we say it is flat, and when it is too high, we say it is sharp. todo Bb a# same

Whole Tones And Semitones

In English, semi means half. A half a tone is called a semitone, and going 1 semitone higher is the same as one fret higher. A whole tone means going up 2 frets. Here are some notes with 1 semitone between them:

A  and Bb
B  and C
G# and A
and here are some notes with 2 semitones (a whole tone) between them:
A  and B
Bb and C
G  and A