Guitar Theory

Guitar basics for beginners

The following is a brief overview of topics under discussion with links to detailed pages on each topic.

Guitar Notes

Guitar Notes for Right and Left handed guitarists - all the notes on the first 12 frets of a guitar.

  • The correlation between notes and frets - every fret is equivalent to 1 semitone with the length of the string determining the pitch.
  • Fret Markers or Inlays - positioning on the fretboard and how useful they are for navigating your way around the guitar.
  • determining notes on a guitar by knowing the notes on the 6th string (bottom E - fattest string) using the 5554 rule
  • determining notes on a guitar by knowing the open string notes - E A D G B e

How to build guitar chords

Building Chords - Chord construction using Scales and Formulas
  • Scale degrees with names given to every note in relation to the tonic or first note of each scale
  • The importance of knowing your Major Scales when building chords
  • Building chords using chord formulas, e.g., a major chord uses the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of its respective major scale therefore the formula for a major scale = 1, 3, 5
  • chord formulas for all types of chords including triads and a multitude of chord extensions using 4,5,6,7 notes
  • examples of how to build chords

Guitar Strings

6 and 12 string guitar
  • the names of each string on a 6 string guitar
  • the names of each string on a 12 string guitar and how each string is pitched within each pair
  • wound strings and the different types of materials used and why
  • different types of wound strings
  • typical guitar string gauges

Tuning the Guitar

Guitar Tuning - A variety of ways to tune your guitar
  • the importance of tuning your guitar to concert pitch
  • using a piano or keyboard to tune your guitar
  • tuning with guitar pitch pipes
  • electronic tuners
  • relative tuning using the most common method... every guitarist needs to learn this method
  • tuning tips

Guitar Chords in Written / Tab Form

Writing Guitar Chords - Alternative way of writing a guitar chord using segments for strings and numbers which represent the fret played on each individual segment/string, e.g., x02210
  • the order of segments/guitar strings
  • numbers and symbols representing each segment
  • examples of written chords and how to write chords which use double-digits for each segment

Transpose Chords

Transpositing chords, notes and keys.
  • How to transpose using simple rules
  • Examples using a song segment with chords and lyrics
  • Transposition Chart with examples and free download
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