Do You Need HelpReading Music Notes on Staff

Learning what note each line and space are will have you reading music notes on staff quickly.

The staff consists of 4 spaces and 5 lines.

The musical alphabet is A-B-C-D-E-F-G thats it.

There are flats and sharps we’ll learn about later.


Treble or G Clef Staff

A clef sign tells you what pitch the music is written in.

The treble clef is used for singing and many musical instruments.

The spaces spell face from the bottom up. This will be known as an F major 7th arpeggio later on.

There was a saying for the lines to help remember this by reading from the bottom up – Every Good Boy Does Fine.

In both cases what you are doing is skipping a note. A to C, B to D, C to E and so on. This is also how chords are made.

If you go from a line to the next space you don’t skip a note. The same is true if you go from a space to the next line.

Bass or F clef staff

The bass clef is what you see in piano or keyboard music. This what they play with their left hand while playing the treble clef with their right hand.

The next image will tie the two staffs together.

The Grand Staff
Both Staffs Together

There are 3 new note positions. Middle C is actually an invisible line that runs between the two staff. The wide space between the two makes it easier to read.

The other two notes are D that goes on the bottom of the bottom treble clef line and the B which goes on the top of the top bass clef line.

They staffs are usually tied together on the left side with a bracket.

More Notes – Reading Music Notes on Staff

There are other notes above the treble clef and below the base clef.

The guitar pitch range stops on the 2nd space down from the top on the bass clef. This is our 6th string E note.

Higher and Lower Pitches
Reading Music Notes on Staff

There are other notes above and below these notes. In other words there is a lower staff and a higher staff or used to be.

You will only have to be concerned about the treble clef but I think this will help you understand notation easier.

The Lower Notes

This is how you will see these notes most of the time in guitar books, they don’t use the bass clef.

I used it to show you how and where notes come from.

Count the Spaces and Lines

If you don’t know what a note is you can count the spaces and lines to find out.

The space on the bottom of the treble clef is a D. Look at the E note above and count each space and each line as one note going backwards

Did you come out right? The same will work above the staff but the top space is a G and you count them forward

If you look at the E above you see 3 lines above it. If you look at the E in the bass clef you will see 3 lines above that too.
One on the F, A and C notes

The rest of the notes are similar. If the note has a line through it the note is on a line. If it doesn’t have a line through it. It is written on a space.

The Upper Notes
Reading Music Notes on Staff

Just like below the treble clef there are note above it in a staff similar to the bass clef but higher

I don’t know the name of this upper staff we don’t use it except for now to show you where these notes come from.

The high C on the right would be played on the 1st string 20th fret.

If a solo was to be played in this high range it would be written one octave lower with a symbol 8Va, which means play one octave higher for easier reading and writing.

Low E to Middle E
Reading Music Notes on Staff

Here is where you can play the low to middle E notes.

If you play an acoustic guitar you really won’t be able to play anything but single notes past the 14th fret.

The frets get very close past the 15th fret

Middle E to High E
Reading Music Notes on Staff

Here is where you can play the middle E to high E Notes

The Vb and Va

When a lot of the music in a song needs to be played in a high pitch a lot of time the music will be written an octave lower.

This makes it easier to read. They will use the symbol to tell you that the music is to be played an octave higher. This symbol means an octave lower.

The a after the v means higher and the b means lower. The 8 stands for an octave 8 notes.

Reading the Tab

The Bottom line is the 6th string, heavy E and the other lines are the other strings up to the high E. The numbers are the fret numbers.

I hope you found this page useful.