Sunday, December 04, 2005

Learn To Play Guitar Sheet Music part 2

By: Peter Edvinsson

In my previous article I suggested ways to develop a command
over the guitar fretboard. Usually when you are playing your
first guitar sheet music melodies you will have to learn the
notes in the first position on the guitar. To have a good grasp
of these notes on the guitar I suggest that you learn them
slowly and with concentration. I usually begin by teaching the
notes on the first string like E on open string, F on fret 1 and
G on fret 3. On string two you'll find B on open string, C on
fret 1 and D on fret 3. With these notes you can play the song
Mary Had A Little Lamb.

Using the previous notes the melody can be played as follows:

E D C D E E E - D D D - E G G - E D C D E E E - E D D E D C

I hope you recognized the melody. This kind of music notation
doesn't give any hints as to how the rhythm is to be played but
presupposes that you already know the melody. Traditional
classical guitar sheet music notation shows both the notes and
the way they are supposed to be played.

My dad was the only guitar tutor in the town where I lived and
he taught mostly classical guitar playing. His young students, I
was one of them, learned those first guitar pieces very fast
because he used a system similar to tablature showing the frets
and strings to play, along with the sheet music. Tablature
wasn't common back then when playing classical guitar sheet
music. I remember somebody remarking that his system prevented
the children from learning to sight read sheet music. His reply
was that if somebody really wants to learn the notes they will
anyway. I agree with that and I have found that if a pupil is
not motivated learning guitar sheet music they will not advance
in this area whether they play with or without tablature.

What has fingers to do with guitar playing? The answer is
obvious. Quite a lot. A more important question is if the
fingers you choose to use can have a bearing upon your guitar
playing. Left hand fingerings are numbers on the sheet music
indication which finger you are suggested to use when playing a
specific note. Usually when playing the first pieces on the
guitar on the first frets it can be a good idea for you to play
the notes on the first fret with the index finger, notes on the
second fret with the middle finger, notes on the third fret with
the ring finger and notes on the fourth fret with your little

What then are the left hand fingering advantages? Can't you play
every melody with your left index finger and forget about all
this fingering stuff? Well, of course you can play melodies with
your index finger but your progress will be very limited beyond
just playing easy melodies. You'll have to move your left hand
all the time as you change frets and, most importantly, when
reading sheet music, you'll have to look at the guitar fretboard
all the time instead of looking at the sheet music which means
that it will be hard to sight read music.

To summarize this guitar article, I could say that the important
thing when learning to play the notes on the guitar is to make a
conscious effort to learn the notes and not to work on to many
notes at the same time.

About the author:
Peter Edvinsson is a guitarist, pianist, composer and educator.
He is also the proud owner of the website
with free printable sheet music, guitar tablature and bass
tablature and learn to play guitar, piano and other instruments
resources for musicians and music students. Visit his website
and download easy free guitar sheet music and guitar tablature
sheet music!

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