Learn to Read Guitar Music

If you take the time and learn to read guitar music you will have more learning material than you can imagine.

There are many ways to put music into written form. The way that I learned was notation, tablature came along later even though it was used in the 1500’s for lutes.

The two main ways are music notation and tablature with variations of both. Tablature tells you where to place your fingers rather than what pitch to play.

Music notation is a universal language for musicians used all over the world. This form can be used for all musical instruments not just fretted ones like the guitar.

Reading Music Notes

This is the starting point for everybody. Once you get started you will see how easy it actually is.

My first lesson was to learn how to read and play E, F and G on the 6th string. Pretty simple.

If you take your time and learn a couple of notes a day you will know most of them in a week.

Below is a link for reading notes and the next link down explains the music staff in more detail.

Learn More about Reading Notes

The Hardest Part of Reading Music

The hardest part is being able to read and play at the same time without stopping.

This will get easier the more you practice. Just start simple with quarter notes and work your way up to more complex music with 8th’s, 16th’s and triplets in it.

Understanding the Staff

The staff is where all the music is written. To be able to read music you need to understand the staff first, then it will seem easy.

Learning the staff notes and where they are on your guitar will speed up your music reading skills.

Learn the Music Staff

Time Signatures Explained

This is essential if you want to read guitar music. It gives you the basic beat of music so you can read it.

Most music is in 4/4 or C common time. These are 4 beats to the measure. The C is the same as the 4 over 4 symbol.

The next most common is 3/4 or Waltz time as it is sometimes called. One Two Three or Um Pa Pa like a tuba. This is also used for Marching songs.

The next one is 12/8 time. This rhythm has a triplet feel to it as is common in Blues music. Its you play triplets and leave out the middle note you get Swing or Shuffle eighth notes.

Time Signatures Explained

Reading Tablature or Tab

Tablature is a way of writing music without using notes. It shows you where to put your fingers for notes and chords.

Tablature is also used to show chords and finger-picking. Finger picking is especially made easier if they include what fingers to use below the tab.

The fingers for tab are P = Thumb, I = Index, M = Middle Finger and A = Ring Finger.

This is a good way of getting started while you learn to read music notation. Learning to read music does have a lot of advantages and it’s not that hard. You don’t have to be an expert reader, just knowing the notes is an advantage.

Simple Guitar Tab

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