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Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Being in the middle of learning basic theory myself ... you guys blasted right by explaining what a Note, a key and a scale is lol. Didn’t even bother explaining sharps or flats. Just went straight to the wheel!!


We’re crawlers in here!
This post was edited on 2/11 at 4:09 pm


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
12514 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
well, there are 12 notes. 7 whole notes, 5 sharp and flat notes. A chord is built from 3 or more of these notes, played together. The key of a song, usually means The chord where a song begins, and the certain group of chords that generally follow, in a melodic way. That is called The Progression.


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Now that’s a good place to start imo


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
12514 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
That's where the wheel come in.
The most simple songs only have 3 chords, played over and over in a repeating pattern.
Example: in the key of C, the other 2 chords most commonly used will be F and G.

Now go look at the top picture of the wheel, and tell me what is on each side of The C.

If print out a copy of that wheel, and turn it, so that the key that you want to play in, is on top, The most common chords to use will be on each side your key. Every time.
This post was edited on 2/11 at 4:41 pm


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composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

well, there are 12 notes. 7 whole notes, 5 sharp and flat notes


This is confusing and will lead to issues down the road. Saying there are 7 whole notes is incorrect, since a whole note is a measure of duration.

In each octave, there are 12 half steps. A half step is the distance between two adjacent keys on the piano (regardless of color) or, since this is for guitar, each fret.

A whole step is two half steps, or two frets.

A scale is made up of a combination of whole steps and half steps.

Most (although not all) of our basic western scales are diatonic scales which are heptatonic (containing 7 notes before the repeat of the octave) and have some combination of 5 whole steps and two half steps (the main scale we use that isn't like this is the harmonic minor scale which contains an augmented second... a lesson for another day).

A major scale in C is:

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C

in terms of whole/half steps, this works out to

C - D - E - F - G - A - B - C
W W H W W W H

All major scales will have this pitch relationship. So an A Major scale will have the same W/H pattern starting on A

A - B - C# - D - E - F# - G# - A
W W H W W W H

This is where accidentals (the flats or sharps) come in.

If you start on your guitar with the open 5th string (A). Play that, then (staying on the A string) fret 2 (B), fret 4 (C#), fret 5 (D), fret 7 (E), fret 9 (F#), fret 11 (G#), fret 12 (A). This is the A major scale.

Notice the 12th fret is one octave above the open string.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
12514 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

This is confusing and will lead to issues down the road. Saying there are 7 whole notes is incorrect, since a whole note is a measure of duration.


I think for beginners, it's just the easiest way to explain it, at the start. Just now learning to play some chords and string them together to make a song. As they progress in ability, they will realize that these aren't absolutes and try to learn more. let them just have fun at first, if they stay interested they will learn more.

Maybe I should say Full notes, instead of whole notes? meaning not sharp or flat. We would all be better off probably, if there were no sharps or flats, just 12 letters.
This post was edited on 2/11 at 5:27 pm


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

I think for beginners, it's just the easiest way to explain it, at the start. Just now learning to play some chords and string them together to make a song. As they progress in ability, they will realize that these aren't absolutes and try to learn more. let them just have fun at first, if they stay interested they will learn more.


Saying there are 7 whole note in a scale is just wrong. A whole note is a unit of duration, not interval. A whole note is four beats in 4/4. That has nothing to do with a scale.


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Maybe I should say Full notes, instead of whole notes? meaning not sharp or flat. We would all be better off probably, if there were no sharps or flats, just 12 letters.


No, this makes no sense either. This is why I explained both a C major scale and an A major.

Each scale is a relationship of whole and half steps. Most of our western scales are heptatonic, 7 notes. (There are others used in western music with more or less notes, whole tone scale is 6 notes per octave, Octatonic (also called the diminished scale(s) is 8 notes)

By saying "full notes" what are you really trying to say? If you mean "whole step" then that is incorrect as well. The distance between E and F, both white keys on the piano, is a half step (as is from B to C). As I illustrated in my post, the C major scale is made up of a certain combination of whole steps and half steps. The way that falls on the piano is all white keys.

If you were to play only whole steps starting on C you would get the aforementioned whole tone scale (6 notes before the octave)

C - D - E - F# - G# - A# - C

This combination of whole and half steps is the same for EVERY major scale. For the guitar this becomes one of the easier things. Once you learn the pattern for a major scale, move it up two frets and you have another major scale. On piano, this requires one to better understand keys and accidentals.

As for not using 12 letters, this likely has more to do with the way instruments were constructed and music was performed before equal temperament came into play and is far beyond the scope of this. If you started the letters at the same point (A) with each half step being the next letter of the alphabet, what we know as a C Major scale would be spelled

D, F, H, I, K, A, C, D
This post was edited on 2/11 at 6:08 pm


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awestruck
Auburn Fan
Member since Jan 2015
5414 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

My bad, for some reason I thought one sharp in the key signature would place this in G Major.
Yep, 1 sharp = G (or Em).

The mnemonic given to me was:

Can't
Girls
Do
Anything
Else
But
Flirt

Where key of C has no sharps
next G has 1 sharp and it's F# (start adding them from end of mnemonic list)
next D has 2 sharps and they're F# (and) C#
next A has 3 sharps (F#,C#,G#)
... and so on adding another sharp

to key of F




your mileage may vary... but it helped me


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
12514 posts

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Saying there are 7 whole note in a scale is just wrong. A whole note is a unit of duration, not interval. A whole note is four beats in 4/4. That has nothing to do with a scale.


No one is disagreeing with you. I just don't know how to answer all of their questions over the internet, and I hate typing a lot. I am just trying to help them play some songs, and they can go from there.
Do you want to start a thread and just give a class? That would be cool.


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Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Auggies answer is how I learned it recently. Easy to digest.

I also did deeper research and got into the step/half step explanation. Using the piano to visualize as an example like a poster did above helped a lot in my understanding of it.


Also, I bought a small poster that has major/minor/7 chords on it and then the fretboard with all all notes labeled. I practice with it in front of me and frankly just staring at the damn thing has helped me understand how it’s all connected
This post was edited on 2/11 at 5:41 pm


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composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

The mnemonic given to me was:

Can't
Girls
Do
Anything
Else
But
Flirt

Where key of C has no sharps
next G has 1 sharp and it's F# (start adding them from end of mnemonic list)
next D has 2 sharps and they're F# (and) C#
next A has 3 sharps (F#,C#,G#)
... and so on adding another sharp

to key of F


The key of F has one flat (Bb)

Six sharps would be the key of F# Maj


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Maybe in this thread (at least for some time) we have an understanding that we are using Key of C the most commonly used in popular western music?


Correct me if I’m wrong


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Maybe in this thread (at least for some time) we have an understanding that we are using Key of C the most commonly used in popular western music?


C major is the most commonly used key to start with when teaching basic music theory since there are no flats/sharps and it is easy to visualize the piano keyboard and the white keys. Many concepts can be taught in C (like the whole/half pattern of a scale) then adapted to other keys introducing flats/sharps.





Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
What is a standard guitar tuned to?


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
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re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

What is a standard guitar tuned to?


Bottom to top (note: the bottom string is actually the string the furthest from the ground. It refers more to pitch and placement on the staff)

6th- E (thickest string)
5th- A
4th- D
3rd- G
2nd- B
1st- E

Standard tuning is not tuned to an open scale or chord and all the notes on a guitar sound an octave lower than written. If you are trying to tune a guitar from a piano, playing middle C on the piano is actually the 1st fret, second string on a guitar.


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Is this true: you can find the same note on each strings (at diff frets) but they will all sound slightly different? What factors contribute to this?


composerdave
Los Angeles
Member since Dec 2019
53 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quote:

Is this true: you can find the same note on each strings (at diff frets) but they will all sound slightly different? What factors contribute to this?


Essentially, yes (not exactly as you stated as you cannot find a low E on the high E string). For most of the strings, the note at the 5th fret is the same as the next highest open string. 5th fret low E (6th string) is an A, the same note as the open 5th string.

The only exception is between the 3rd and second string. It is the note at the 4th fret on the 3rd string that is the same as the note of the open 2nd string, B.

The note sounding middle C (written an octave higher) on an electric guitar can be played in 5 different places

2nd string 1st fret
3rd String 5th fret
4th string 10th fret
5th string 15th fret
6th string 20th fret

If you experiment with the half/whole step things I listed above (one fret = 1 half step) you will start to see how the notes all overlap across the fretboard.

The reason they have a different timbre (tone) is the physics of a vibrating string. Generally, the thicker the string the "darker" it will be compared to thinner strings. It has to do with the mass of the string and how it vibrates.


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
Awesome, ty.


Kvothe
Member since Sep 2016
1052 posts
 Online 

re: Official: Guitar beginners question and answer thread.
quick rundown on my skill level - I picked up a lender acoustic and started on Jan 6. I have all major/minor chords down and I am switching btwn them slowly. I’m also dabbling in theory as I go. Some songs I’ve had fun practicing are Shallow, What’s up, wish you were here and tonight I’m going to try here comes the sun.

Do you guys have any recs on easy beginner songs that are fun and recognizable?

Also, my strumming sucks. Pointers, tips?
This post was edited on 2/11 at 7:32 pm


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