How to Read the Note Value for Guitar Sheet Music

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Notes for guitar music playing have different values, from quarter notes to half note. Figure out what each note means and how it applies to your song 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, I perform in and around the Los Angeles area. And, as a session player, I'm also often seen in studios in Burbank and Hollywood. And, I also teach at Orchepia School of Music in Irvine. And today, we're going to talk about how to read the note value for guitar sheet music. And, the first thing, what I want to do is, you know, you have to understand that the whole note, half note, dotted half note. And then, there's the quarter note, eighth note, dotted eighth note,16th note, all of those note values are the same for piano, trumpet, every music. So, the guitar isn't really exempt, or there's not, like, special music specifically for the guitar. Guitar, when I read on guitar, those notes are just exactly the way I would read them if I was playing piano. So, the first thing, what I want to say is, if you're playing a whole note, and let's say your tempo is one, two, three, four. Generally, if that whole note is an A, you're going to play one, two, three, and, one, two, three, four. And, there's your whole note. If you're playing half notes, you're going to play one, two, three, four. And, that is how you're going to play half notes. So, the thing about guitar, if you're playing, like, let's say you're playing a group of eighth notes, and let's say it's a scale. let's say it's like the A major scale. What's important is that if you're right-handed guitar player, then you have to do what you call double stroke. So, you're going to play down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down. So, that way, when you pluck the guitar, and you're playing, like eighth notes, and you're going one and two and three and four and five and six and seven and eight, then what happens is, you're going to have a smooth flow, because you're not having to raise your pick and move your pick up and down for each note. Your pick goes down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up. So, if your rhythm is one, two, three, four, one and two and three, you have down, up, down, up. And, however, if you single stroke it, then you have, like, some rock guitars that use techniques where you use the single stroke. For example, if you're playing eighth notes, one and two and three and four, then you're going to, your hand is just going to go down, but you're not going to play anything coming up. And, this is a single stroke. And so, now that is a different technique. So, it depends on the style you're playing. If you're playing something where you're playing a single line melody, and that melody is like. So, when you play that type of melody, then you're going to use up and down, or we call that a double stroke. Also, if you're playing country, and you're strumming, then you're going to use almost the same chords. But, then you use, and that is another technique, and that'll give you a significant sound. And, there's a big difference in style as opposed to, or. So, those are the different ways that you can read the note value for guitar sheet music. And, my name is Kirk Wilson, and here's how you do it.


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