How to Read and Perform Music on the Guitar – Part 3

Hi Guitar Noise Students! Those of you who are learning to read music with this series are coming along just fine. So, here is Part 3. If you are new to this lesson series, be sure to go back to parts 1 & 2. You can find them by clicking onto my bio information on this page (where it says “view all articles by Peter Simms”).

In this lesson we just add a couple of notes on String 3. Here they are:

String 3

We are adding the notes “G” (3rd string – open) and “A” (3rd string – 2nd fret). Be sure to use your middle finger to play the “A” note. As you can see, you will now have a total of 8 notes to work with:

  • String #1 = 3 notes (E,F,G)
  • String #2 = 3 notes (B,C,D)
  • String #3 = 2 notes (G, A)

The first question many of my students ask is: Why are there two “G” notes and why do they sound different? Our musical system (there are different kinds of musical systems) provides us with seven natural notes A,B,C,D,E,F, and G. If one were to play these notes on the piano (white keys), the note to the right of G (next natural note pitch higher and also the next white key) would be called “A” again. Except it would be one “octave” higher. We perceive this with our ears. It is also perceived with an oscilloscope. The waves double, and every other wave matches when it peaks and dips.

For an example, let’s listen to the two “G” notes. Place your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st string (the “G” note on the 1st string). Pluck the 3rd string open (the “G” on string 3) and then pluck the 1st string 3rd fret (the “G” on string 1) and listen to them ring together. You should notice that they have a kind of “unity” sound. Pluck your 3rd string open and match it to other strings or notes. When you match it to another “G” note, you will get that unity kind of sound again. At this point in our series, this is all you need to know. We will be dealing with seven notes and their octaves. Later, we will discus the sharps and flats (the black keys on the piano and the notes in between notes on our guitar [ex: fret 2 on string 1]).

But let’s leave that alone for the moment. Time to PLAY! Download both exercises (from the links). Work on ” Notes on String 3″ first, and be able to play the examples with rhythm. Then work on “Notes on Strings 1-3” next. There are midi links that will play you the two exercise sheets. Between this latest lesson and the first two, you will now have mastered eight notes! Okay, go practice and have some fun!

If you have questions or would like an extra work out sheet email me.