How to Read Musical Bar Notes for a Guitar

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The musical bar notes on guitar music sheet need to be read to determine what chords to play. Translate guitar music for playing with help from a professional musician in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Applications for the Guitar
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Kirk Wilson, and I live in California, and as a session player I perform in Los Angeles, Burbank, Hollywood and many studios in and around the area. I also teach at Orchepia School of Music, and today we're going to talk about how to read music by notes for a guitar. First of all, you have to learn what the notes are on the guitar. Everything from E on down to the high E and once you learn where the notes are on the guitar, then it's important to not only learn where they are, but you have to, you know, establish a feel for it. So, if this is low E, just learn every note one by one, E, F, F Sharp, G, A Flat, here's open A. So, each string here is E, A, D, G, B, and then E. And once you learn these open strings, then each fret is one half step up. So, here's E, F, G Flat, G, A Flat, A, on up and so once you learn that then once you see, assuming you know what the notes are on the notation. So, let's say if you're reading a really popular song, say you're reading Frances Scott Key's. So, it's important to know where those notes are on the guitar, number one and number two it's also important to know exactly where they are on the guitar without looking at your fingers because you have to watch the page. So, if I see an E and I'm reading music, I'm going to play. I can play an open E, or I can play this F down here or I can play, you know, so there's like so many different notes on the guitar because the whole thing is chromatic. Each fret is one half step and when you play this open A or you can play an A Minor or you can play a D Minor, this is D Minor Nine, D Minor Seven. So, if you see a chord, A 11, you want to be able to play anything that you see. You can glance, it's okay, take a glance, here's E, Octave E. So, anything that you see on the guitar, you have to be able to feel and learn how to develop that, and so the best thing you can do to learn how to read music or bar notes on the guitar is, once you learn where the notes are, learn where they are on the guitar as well. And my name is Kirk Wilson, and that is how you read musical bar notes on a guitar.

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