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Musical figures inside the stave

Music is something that goes beyond being able to play the right note; it depends on the rhythm, the silences and the duration of these notes. Thus, we must learn to distinguish the duration of the musical figures and their silences when we play with a 4/4 beat.

Instead of boring you with a longer article explaining the rest of the binary measures, if you learn this, you will be able to take out the other beats such as 2/4 and 6/8 by simple deduction. Likewise, the musical figures of the notes and their most common silences corresponding to this measure are included.

Musical figures: the compass unit

A measure within the music is the musical figure that is composed of several time units: a whole note, a half note, a quarter note, an eighth note or a sixteenth note. These are indicated at the beginning of the score or after a double bar when the composer wants us to change the beat within the same piece. A measure is a fraction that tells us how many different notes fit inside it, or the amount of musical figures that can complete it.

The specific time of a measure is determined by interpreting the numbers that appear in the fraction. Let us use as an example the 4/4 measure, the numerator, indicates the value of the basic pulse note of the music. Here we interpret that the numerator 4 indicates that it is a quarter of a time, therefore, it is a quarter note. While the denominator tells us how many of these notes appear in a measure (4). Therefore, the 4/4 beat is a musical figure where four quarter notes appear.

There are different types of measures; depending on whether they are classified by forms: binary, ternary and quaternary. Or if they are classified according to the binary or ternary division of each pulse, simple compasses (binary subdivision) and complexes (ternary subdivision) arise.

The 4/4 beat

Throughout the history of music, different types of measures have emerged, among which we can highlight the 9/8 beat, the 3/4 beat, the 6/8 beat and the 2/4 beat. However, of all of them, the 4/4 measure is one of the most used today.

As we had seen in the example of how to interpret the meaning of a measure, we know that a 4/4 measure represents a musical figure where there are four quarter notes. However, it is not mandatory that all notes are quarter notes, but combinations of musical figures that result in 4 times can be used:

1 half note + 2 quarter notes = 4 times

2 quarter notes + 4 eighth notes = 4 times

8 sixteenth notes + 4 eighth notes = 4 times, etc.

The combinations can be made much more complex, depending on the intention that the composer had when creating the piece. But no matter how complex it is, as long as you know the musical figures corresponding to their notes and silences you will not have problems.

The time values of the notes and their silences

Knowing the value of each musical figure is necessary for any musician, because learned correctly you can apply them to any measure. Therefore, if you did not know the values of the previous musical figures, here is a short guide on the most important ones.

First we must start by determining which part of the measure is what determines its amount of time. This is the denominator, that is, the lower number. Here you have to think about the values of the notes and their silences, not the measure. Each one has its own value:

Whole note


This musical figure is represented on the pentagram in the shape of a circle. Its duration is equal to that of four quarter notes, that is, four times, covering all available times in a 4/4 measure. Therefore, once it is included, no other musical figure would fit the compass. The silence value corresponding to this note, as for the following ones, will be the same as its duration.

Half note


A half note is half of a whole note: two times. Therefore, it can be combined with another half note, two quarter notes or other minor notes, as long as the sum of these is equal to two times. It has the shape of an unadorned stem with a hollow oval shaped head. His silence is equal to two times.

Quarter note


A quarter note is the basic unit of time, being equal to one time. So it can be combined with whole notes and half note in a combination that completes the 4-beat measure. The shape of the quarter note is almost the same as that of the half note, only that the head is a black oval note. His silence is of a time.

Eighth note


It is represented using a stem and a bracket, its duration in a 4/4 measure is half of a quarter note. It can be combined with quarter and half notes, as long as it is fulfilled that the total sum will be 4 times. His silence is part time.

Sixteenth note


Its duration is a quarter of a time, half of a eighth note and has the shape of a black note with a stem and two square brackets. That is, to complete a 4/4 measure, 16 sixteenth notes are necessary. They can also be combined with half, quarter and eighth notes. His silence lasts a quarter of a time.

There are more musical figures and their silences, both superior (square, longa and maximum), as well as minor (demisemiquaver, hemidemisemiquaver, hundred twenty-eight note and two hundred fifty-sixth note). However, the superiors do not fit within the 4/4 measure and the latter are used rarely, since they require a level of fingering only attainable by really virtuous (God Level) musicians.

Did you find it difficult to learn the duration of the notes and their silences for the measure of four? We hope not and that with this knowledge you can take the measures of 2/4 and 6/8. Now you just have to practice a little more reading staves written in a 4/4 measure, so you never forget these musical figures.


Musical intervals: visual guide for beginners

It is possible that on more than one occasion you have heard comments like: “If you study the notes of this stave, you will see an interval of diminished sixth.” If you did not understand what they meant, do not despair: in this guide you will know what the intervals are and how you can use them.

If you are a beginner, you should keep in mind that it is impossible to understand, for example, the chords, without first studying the intervals. It’s like trying to calculate without knowing the numbers and mathematical signs.

What is a musical interval?

Music as art draws on three significant elements: harmony, rhythm and melody. However, there are certain elements that are common. We refer, of course, to the intervals.

In the same way that elementary magnitudes (mass, time, etc.) are qualified according to their own measurements, music also uses certain resources to calculate their characteristics. For instance, one of the best known is the pulse, by which we can measure musical time. Similarly, there is a way to measure the relationship established between two musical notes: again, the interval.

When we talk about interval we mean the contrast of the pitch between two sounds. This concept contains the same to a single sound that lots of sounds at the same time (such as chords), and to those that are played continuously as melodies.

The numerical expression to represent an interval is usually a simple proportion. If we take the relationship established between two sounds located at a distance of exact fifth, it will always be 3 and half tones. But that will be discussed in greater depth later.

We could say then that an interval is formed when different sounds are played, and when they produce different frequencies.

How to measure musical intervals step by step

So far everything is clear. However, a question arises. How do we calculate the difference between pitch? Or, in other words, can an interval be measured?

The answer is yes: an interval can be measured. The most common way is to enumerate the tones and semitones that are among the pair of notes that make up this musical pause. The first thing to do to discover the key of the interval we want to measure is to determine which first note is played.

For example, if there are a couple of notes in a stave, and the first one is F and the other is B, the most logical thing is to affirm that we are in the F major range. In other words, starting from the most deeptoned note we will always find the key.

Next, we will see that other ways can also be used to name the intervals, and this is achieved by understanding the elements by which they are formed: tones and semitones.

Tone and semitone

When we talk about tone and semitone we refer to the regulatory distance that exists between two notes, always according to the model of the western scales. These have different ways of distributing. The halftone is the smallest distance established between two notes. On a guitar, for example, it is in the distance between a fret and the one that follows it (or also between an air string and the number one fret).

Semitones types and tone

There are two kinds of semitones:

Chromatic: The two notes that constitute the halftone are called the same.

Diatonic: The two notes that constitute the halftone have different names.

Now, the difference between both types is not sound, but in their writing. The sums of two semitones form a tone. If we take the C and D notes on a piano, both are distanced by a tone, while those of E and F only separate them by a semitone. As in the procedures of Western music the halftones separate the notes, we have that between the letters C and D then an intermediate note appears.

If you look at a piano keyboard, black keys are placed at the top, between two adjacent pieces. It is interesting to note that, for each note separated by a tone of the successive one, there is a black key that divides them.

Identifying the type of interval

Usually an interval is not designated according to the tones and semitones that compose it (although it can also be done), but a numerical arrangement is established, depending on the distance between the sounds. When we talk about notes we mean the seven that everyone knows: C- D- E -F -G -A -B, in contrast to the 12 semitones that coexist between them.

To number an interval, the total number of notes it comprises is counted (counting those that constitute that interval).

Classification of intervals

To classify an interval we must take into account the order in which each of them is cataloged. Therefore, the intervals can be: Major, Minor, Fair, Increased or Decreased.

An indication to consider: The intervals of 4th, 5th and 8th may be fair, diminished or increased. Only the 8th can be fair. The intervals of 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 7th may be higher or lower.

To understand it better, an interval of 4th will never be less, nor will one of 3rd. In addition, when we use the denominators “increased” or “decreased”, it is important to keep in mind that they can be used at any interval. That is why the increased intervals have a semitone more than their relative major interval. On the contrary, those that are diminished comprise a semitone less than their immediate minor interval.

Of course, there are other ways to catalog musical intervals.

A good illustration would be that, although we know how to read and write, we do not need to have absolute preparation in branches such as grammar to have a good spelling. In any case, we study basic principles such as the elements that make up a sentence, the lexeme, etc., always with the intention of improving our knowledge.

Similarly, working with interval theory helps us to understand the formation of chords without having to go deeper into more complicated concepts. If we are told that a chord has a fundamental, a fair 5th and a minor 7th, we know that we are faced with intervals.

Musical signs: everything you need to know

Musical signs are the universal language of music. With them you can read and interpret any piece written by a composer from any part of the world, because they transcend language barriers. Therefore, your training as a musical artist would be incomplete if you are not able to, at least, understand the most basic musical signs.

Thinking about this, we bring you a small guide of the most common ones. Be aware that there are dozens of musical signs to overcome the complexity that a composer may include in a piece. However, here we present the ones most commonly used.

The staff


This is the basic element of written music, because it is in the staff where all the musical signs will be placed. It is composed by five lines and their respective intermediate spaces that will be where the seven tones of the diatonic scale will be placed. This can be expanded if necessary to four additional lines, two above and two below.

The G clef


Within modern vocal and musical notation, the G clef is the most used and is generally represent the high pitched sounds. The shape of this musical sign is based on a spiral similar to a G attached to an S. The spiral points to the second line of the staff counting from the bottom up, indicating that the line is G.

The F clef


This musical sign in the form of a stylized F with two points indicate that the second line of the staff, counting from top to bottom corresponds to F. It is a key that is usually used to represent deeptoned sounds, such as those produced by the electric bass and double bass.

The musical notes


These are the basis of music, because their mix with rhythms and silences make all the music, regardless of the genre. To achieve these rhythms, the notes must be assigned values, as well as silences and ligatures.



As the name says, ligatures are musical signs that are used to prolong a note. This can be a ligature, when two notes joined together play as if they were one; a ligature of expression, which indicates that the two notes must be played uninterruptedly. In this case, unlike normal ligatures, it can join notes of different expressions. There is also legato, which indicates that the notes covered by this sign are played without articulating a separation through the interruption of sound.

The arpeggio


This sign is also called “broken chord”. It is like a chord, only that the notes are played sequentially, usually in an ascending manner. It is very easy to perform with the guitar, in which it is enough to place the chord you want and play from its deeptoned to the most acute note.



The length of a silence is not absolute: is given in proportion to the duration of the other notes and silences, although it is common to use a quarter note as a basic unit of time. Taking this measure as a reference, the times can be: maximum (32 times), longa (16 times), square (8 times), whole note (4 times), minim (2 times), quarter note or crotchet (1 time), quave (1 / 2 time), semiquaver (1/4 time), demisemiquaver (1/8 time), semidemisemiquaver (1/16 time), hundred twenty-eight note (1/32 time) and two hundred fifty-sixth note (1/64 time).

Bar followed by silence


When we play a piece with other musicians, this sign indicates that we must wait in silence for the number of times indicated. Generally silence lasts six bars, but it can be extended as long as the composer wants.

The fermata


It is a musical sign that indicates the indefinite prolongation of a note or a silence. Its duration varies according to the will of the interpreter and is usually placed to indicate a stop in the tempo.

Syncopated note


These musical signs are intended to break the regularity of the rhythm, accentuating a note in a weak or semi-strong part of the stave. Syncopations can be regular or irregular, belonging to the latter category when the duration between both parts of the syncopa does not last the same time. Syncopas are the rhythmic basis of musical styles such as jazz and other African-American rhythms.



These musical signs modify the height of a note that follows in the same line of the staff within a new measure. These alterations can be:

B-flat, decreases the tone of the note by two chromatic semitones.

Flat and medium, decreases the tone in ¾.

Flat, decreases the pitch of a note in a semitone.

Demi-flat, decreases the tone by ¼.

Natural, modifies the tone of a previous flat or flat according to the key represented at the beginning of the staff.

Demi-sharp, increases the pitch of the note by ¼.

Sharp, increases the pitch of the note by a semitone.

Sharp and medium, increases the pitch of the note by ¾.

Double sharp, increases the pitch of the note by two chromatic semitones.

Precautionary Accidentals


They are alterations that are enclosed in parentheses, flat, sharps or natural. This is done because sometimes a passage is too difficult and when interpreting it we may not realize that they are altered. Therefore, it is important to remember that if in a measure there is a note with an accidental alteration, and there are more equal notes within it, it must also be altered.

Key signatures


Key signature is a musical sign that defines the alterations that the notes will have in that space or line. If there is no key signature in the staff, it can be interpreted as being major / minor, although it can also mean that it is a neutral key signature.

The Key signatures can be flats signatures, which decrease the corresponding line or space note by a semitone, determining whether the tonality is less or greater. The sharps key signature causes the inverse effect, increasing the halftone the note of the corresponding line or space. Both key signatures will be affected by the amount of flats or sharps in each one.

Repetition signs


These musical signs serve the composer to indicate that the passage within the repetition signs must be repeated from the beginning.

Simple and double time signatures


When they appear in the stave, these musical signs indicate that we have to go to the repetition sign and, when we repeat, skip box number one, to go to the second.



The measure determines the measure of the music. And it is represented with two numbers, one on top of the other. Within modern music, the most common measures are: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 and 6/8. Although there are other measures, such as 9/8, but they are hardly used today.

Abbreviation for repeating measures


Once the composer has written the part of the piece that he wants to be repeated later, he uses these musical signs so he doesn’t have to rewrite everything. These signs can be put in as many measures as we want and have the same function as the quotes.

Dynamic overtones


These are musical signs that usually appear under the staves and are used by the composer to indicate to the performer the intensity with which he wishes the indicated passage to be played. These overtones can range from the pianississimo (extremely soft) to the fortississimo (extremely strong), there being the sforzando that is literally a sharp intensity. Similarly, the overtones may indicate a gradual increase in volume (crescendo) or, conversely, gradually decrease the volume (decrease or decrease).

Eighth high and eighth low


Sometimes, it is necessary to add notes that are too sharp or too deeptoned and the composer do not want to add additional lines to the score. To achieve this, the musical signs of high octave and low octave are aided, which when placed on a note indicate that the pitch of the note should be increased or decreased by an octave.

The trill


This musical sign corresponds to an ornament that modifies the heights pattern of an individual note. The trill specifically, is a rapid alteration between the specific note and the highest tone or semitone within its duration. When a wavy horizontal line follows the sign of the trill, it means that it is a long trill.



The mordant is another musical ornament similar to the trill but where the written note alternated with its upper note (upper mordant) or lower (lower mordant) is executed quickly. An example would be C, B, C, B, and C.

As you must have noticed, the musical signs are not difficult to learn once you have studied them enough. Once you learn the ones that appear here, you will be able to easily read most of the staves that falls into your hands.

The guitar chords: everything you need to know

Chords are divided into three fundamental groups: major, minor and seventh. If you master them, you will be able to serves as guitar accompaniment to practically all the popular songs, either as voice support or for simple fun.

Therefore, we present 21 chords (three for each musical note), divided into major, minor and seventh chords. Pay special attention to the chord with capo: they tend not to go well at the first, but with practice you learn to place the forefinger of the left hand with adequate pressure, so the chord sounds clean.

Wait! What is a chord?

It is a set of three to seven different notes of the twelve that make an octave which sound at the same time, ensemble as a harmonic unit. A succession of chords is called harmonic progression, which determines the music that accompanies a song.

Chords are classified with the names of their dominant note in the Spanish notation (DO, RE, MI, FA, SOL, LA, SI) or Anglo-Saxon (C, D, E, F, G, A, B). They consist of at least three notes: the fundamental, the third and the fifth. This arrangement is called a triad chord.

If they are minor chords, an “m” is added to their nomenclature. For example, Cm or Dom is C minor. Another form of notation is to add a minus sign (-) behind the key note of the chord, for example C- or Do-.

If it is a seventh chord, a 7 is added at the end (Sol7 or G7). If they are majors, they are represented only with the note of the chord (RE, D).

Keep in mind that chords are the same for classical guitar, Spanish guitar, acoustic guitar and electric guitar, so if you master them you can play chords on any instrument.

A very important technical element to play chords is the correct use of the capo. When using capo, all chords can be played in many ways throughout the fretboard. With time you will understand that this is the great advantage that the guitar has over other instruments, so mastering the chords with capo increases your resource repertoire considerably.

Major chords

The major chords are characterized by a consonant and very bright sound.

C major (C)


This is one of the first to be learned. If you simultaneously play C, E and G notes, you form a major C chord no matter where you are in the neck. The chord is then composed by first grade (or key note), third grade and fifth grade.

Its most popular form is known as open air, in which the sixth string is not played. The open strings are the first and the third.

D major (D)


Playing this chord with open strings, the fore finger goes on the third string fret two; the middle finger goes on the first fret string and the ring finger on the second fret string three. The fourth string is played open.

The triad is made up of D (key note), F # (third major) and A (perfect fifth).

E major (E)


This position is known as open air. To verify that you place your fingers well, play the strings one by one to ensure that each of them sound and you are not turning off the string.

The triad is made up of E as a key note, G# as the third major and B as the perfect fifth.

F major (F)


F major cannot be played if it is not with a capo, so it will be one of the last you will learn. Courage: although you do not master it right away, it is a chord widely used in the popular song.

This chord is composed of the F, A and C notes.

G major (G)


The G major chord consists of three notes that are repeated: G, B and D.

A major (A)


In several of the form of this chord, more than three strings are used at the same time, which causes some of the chord notes to be repeated. However, the triad of the chord is composed by the key note A, the third major C# and the fifth E.

B major (B)


This chord has no strings in the air, so you’ll only master it when you’ve got used to making capos. It is formed by the key note B, the third major D and the perfect fifth F#.

Minor chords

Minor chords are characterized by being formed with a key note, a minor third and a perfect fifth. They tend to give the music a sad air, so they are widely used in ballads, blues, rock and other musical genres that wish to convey that feeling.

C minor (Cm)


C minor is composed of the notes C, Eb and G.

D minor (Dm)


This chord is tricky, since you need to open your hand wide to play it. It is difficult for beginners to get a clean sound at first, but do not be discouraged: with practice, your hand will get used to the position.

It is formed by the key note D, the third minor F and the perfect fifth A.

E minor (Em)


This chord consists of three notes: E, B and G. These have, consecutively, the functions of key note, minor third and perfect fifth.

F minor (Fm)


This chord is widely used, so it is better to master it as soon as possible. It is one of the few that uses capo in the first fret, so you should practice it a lot so that it comes out clean.

It is made up of the F, C and G# notes.

G minor (Gm)


In this chord, the key note is the G, the third minor is Bb and the perfect fifth is D.

A minor (Am)


Am is the best known and easy to learn and play chord position, as it is in the first two frets of the instrument and uses only three fingers to make it sound perfect.

It is composed of A, C# and E as key note, third minor and fifth respectively.

B minor (Bm)


The Bm chord is composed of the notes B (key note), D (minor third) and E (perfect fifth).

Seventh chords

There are several types of seventh chords such as the major seventh and minor seventh chord, but in this article we only present the dominant seventh chords. The dominant seventh chord consists of a fundamental note, a major third, a perfect fifth and a seventh minor.

Basically, it is the same major chord by adding an extra note, the seventh minor.



This way of playing the Do7 chord is well known, but a note (G) is missing. This note is the fifth and then this chord should be called in good lid C7 (omit5). But nobody cares and everyone calls C7.

In this chord, C plays key note, E of third major, G of just fifth and B of seventh minor.



The chord is composed of the key note D, the third major F#, the perfect fifth A and the seventh minor C.



E7 is formed by the notes E, G#, B and D. These perform the function of key note, third major, perfect fifth and seventh minor.



The F7 chord is composed of the F, A, C and Eb notes. Like all seventh chords, it is essentially F major by adding the seventh grade or seventh minor.



This chord has the advantage that you can play the first three frets and use many open strings. However, it requires a little patience because you have to open your hand a lot.

Starting as a key note of the letter G is added B, D and F as the third major, perfect fifth and seventh minor.



This is one of the first chords that guitarists learn to play, because is easy and widely used in popular music. You will find it in scores of all levels.

A7 is formed by A, C#, E and Gas key note, third, fifth and seventh.



This is another of the open or air chords, which can be played without using a capo. It is easy, but also very important, since all guitarists use it on a regular basis.

It is configured using the notes B, D#, F# and A.

Playing sharp and flat chords on the guitar

As in the guitar each fret is half tone, if we are going to play a sharp chord, just advance the chord without changing the fingers position a fret towards the body of the guitar. If it is flat, quite the opposite: move your fingers without changing the position a fret towards the head of the guitar.

As simple as this: to play chords like a professional guitarist, you just have to practice a lot and look for a clean sound.

Parts of the Guitar – Acoustic & Electric

As in all musical instruments, guitar also requires not only tuning, but to know certain positions to correctly perform the different notes and master some tricks, both in acoustic and electric guitars.

Therefore, in order to play this instrument correctly, you must first know the different parts of the instrument and what their specific functions are. Then, when a teacher or a tutorial refers to a part of the guitar, you will know exactly where to go.

Which are guitar parts?

The guitar consists of 16 fundamental parts. These are:


  • Head
  • Pegbox and tuning pegs
  • Nut
  • Neck
  • Fretboard
  • Soul
  • Keel
  • Body

a. Lid

b. Rings

c. Sound hole

d. Rosette

e. Pick Guard

F. Bridge

g. Seal

  • Strings

Each of these parts plays a role in sound, beauty, design and aesthetics, depending on the type of guitar and the manufacturer.

The Head

The head has six pins. These adjust the strings and change the intonation of the notes played on the string by increasing or reducing tension. The pegs are in the head, placed by three on each side, as they appear on the Spanish guitar. There are other designs in which all the strings are on the same side of the head, as is the case with Fender or Jackson guitars.

There are also headless guitars, which are tuned with keys at the bridge where the string joins the lid. Others have straight and horizontal blades, located on the same line as the neck or fingerboard. Finally, there are blades that have an angle between 3º and 25º with respect to the fretboard, as is the case of the Gibson Firebird or the Martin guitars.

The Nut

The nut is a small piece, usually made of ebony, plastic or brass, which goes between the head and the neck and has some indentations where the strings goes. The indentation will be wider and deeper depending on the thickness of the strings.

The nut keeps the strings in place, so that they do not collide with each other, product of the vibration.

The Neck

The neck is usually made of a single piece of walnut, pine or cedar wood and gives the fingerboard greater quality. Among the elements of the neck are the frets, the fretboard, the head, the pegbox and the soul, no matter if we talk about an acoustic or an electric guitar.

The Fretboard (or Fingerboard)

The fretboard has bars and frets. It is made of laminated wood and is the front of the neck. Along the fretboard there are often inlay markers, either dots or more elaborate markings that help to visualize where to play, although the Spanish has no marks.

The inlay markers are usually placed at frets 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 24.

The Pegbox and pegs

We call pegbox the set of pegs that are on the head of the guitar and are used to adjust tuning. They are made of ebony, plastic or metal and should be more or less resistant, depending on the type of guitar.

The Soul

The soul is a cylindrical bar that is located inside the neck of both acoustic and electric guitars. Its function is to withstand the tension of the strings. The traditional Spanish guitar does not have this element, since the pressure of the strings is not as strong as with the electric or acoustic guitar.

The Neck Joint

This is the base that is fixed to the body and acts as a union with the neck. The Neck Joint is usually stuck or screwed, depending on the type of guitar and the manufacturer.

The Body

The body is everything that is not the neck. It is where the sound of the acoustic and Spanish guitars is made. This soundboard includes certain fundamental parts such as the lid, the rings, the mouth, the rosette and the bridge. The body of the electric guitar is usually solid.

The Lid

The lid, as its name indicates, is the part that covers the entire guitar body. In the acoustic guitar it has a hole in the middle that is usually ornate, which is called mouth and the ornament is called rosette. This can be constructed of pine, fir, cedar or cypress. If we look at the lid on the other side, we will see that it has fine bars, also made of wood, called spinets. There cannot be seen with the naked eye, and its arrangement inside the lid depends on the manufacturer. This is one of the parts that care most.

The Pick Guard

The Pick Guard is a plastic sheet that serves to protect the guitar lid from scratches that arise when played. We see them in acoustic, electric and some Spanish guitars.

The Rings

The rings are the two pieces that surround the acoustic box. The type of wood does not only influence the rings, but also the other parts of the guitar. For example, the wood of the hoops is one of the parts of the guitar that greatly influences the sound and can make it change, that is, acoustically we can have a bright sound with the Maple, a sound with more harmonics with the Walnut, or a more powerful sound with the Rosewood.

In addition, the type of wood also enhances the image and aesthetics of the guitar.

The Mouth

The mouth serves to project the sound out of the guitar, and is located in the middle of the cover. It is exclusive to acoustic and Spanish guitars.

The Rosette

There are different types and colors, but they are always bordering the mouth of the guitar. It has an aesthetic function.

The Bridge

The function of the bridge is to transfer the vibrations of the strings to the body, and amplify the sound. The bridge is located on the top a few centimeters from the mouth. There are different types of bridge designs according to the manufacturer and the guitar type, whether Spanish, acoustic or electric.

The Seal

The function of the seal is to hold the strings and separate them from each other. It is a piece made of plastic, except in the electric guitar that is made of metal.

The Strings

These are one of the most important parts of the guitar. There are different brands, types and materials according to the musical genre that you want to interpret. They are usually made of nylon or copper, or metallic in the case of the electric guitar

The electric guitar

The electric guitar may have a soundboard or not, but several additional elements are incorporated.

These are the capsules or pads (microphones that pick up the vibration of the strings) and knobs or volume and tone controls (which modify the output signal from the guitar to the amplifier).

Some electric guitars have other elements such as a vibrato lever, which allows you to loosen or tighten the bridge; or built-in effects.

Although they are not as such parts of the electric guitar, you must also have an amplifier to play it. Many guitarists also use effects pedals such as reverberation, delay, chorus, phaser, wah-wah, tremolo, octavoids, audio compression, etc.

Musical notes on the guitar neck

Now that you have decided to take the guitar seriously you must learn to play all the notes along the arm or neck. For this, the neck is divided by zones and levels according to the difficulty they present.

Remember that if you practice with an electric guitar, use the pick with alternate movements from the bottom up on each note. If you work with a traditional Spanish or acoustic guitar, use your thumb on strings 4, 5, 6 and the index finger on strings 1, 2 and 3.

1. Guitar notes, open strings

The open notes, from the thinner to the thickest string, are E, B, G, D, A and E. The first bottom-up note is E, the second B, and so on. Say them aloud while you practice, so you can memorize them by associating the note with their name. Try, as you pulse them, that each interval between note and note remains uniform.

 2. Guitar notes in the first 3 frets

 Now that you know the open notes, it is time for you to learn the ones found in the first three frets. To learn it correctly we recommend that you follow this order:

 Frets 1 and 3 of the first, second and sixth strings.

 Fret 3 of the third string

 Fret 2 and 3 of the fourth and fifth strings

Again, take your time so your hands and fingers get used to playing the notes of the first three frets. To facilitate your learning, perform these exercises and do not go to point three until you master them easily. Do not hurry, be patient and practice a lot.

3. Three notes per string

We hope that if you are reading this section you are now able to perform all the exercises in point two with ease. Therefore, it is time for us to go further: let’s play three notes per string.

We recommend that you start with the sixth string with the F- G- A sequences. Practice it a bit and then do the same with the other strings. At this point, check that your guitar is tuned. Try tuning by ear: although it can be easily done with a mobile application or a digital tuner, training your ear will make it easier for you to find the perfect note and realize if during a song the instrument has lost its tuning.

4. To fret 5 with altered notes

So far we have only seen the notes until the fifth fret: those are the normal or unaltered notes. However, in this step we will go further and learn the notes of the guitar that appear in the halftones, that is, the altered notes: the sharp and flat notes.

One trick to learn them easily is that if we move a fret to the right, the notes will be # (sharp). If instead, we move a fret to the left will be b (flat). Practice, and if you have problems with memorizing them, use the same technique as when you learned the open notes: say them out aloud every time you play them, until the note and the finger position is recorded in your muscular memory.

When you master the first five frets, you will be prepared to enter the next level.

5. Conquering Fret 6

We had insisted that you learn the previous level well, because to learn the notes of the sixth fret you only need to move a fret forward so that you get a sustained note.

However, there is a very important detail that you should not ignore: all the notes that are B, are followed by a C, while E, is followed by an F. This applies to ALL THE NECK, so forget about B # or E#. Therefore, the sixth fret would be the way I show you:

6. Frets 7 and 8

From the beginning, we insisted that you learn all the levels well before moving on to the next one. This recommendation will now begin to give results. If you know the notes until the fifth fret, the seventh will not give you problems, since it has no altered notes, except for the second string (F #). And, the order of the notes of the major scale is the same, only higher: C-D-       E-F-G-A-B.

For the eighth fret we will continue with the sustain rule, remembering that after a B goes a C and after an E there is an F.

7. The 12th and 10th fret (going back)

For the 12th fret, notes are the same as the open notes: E-B-G-D-A-E

Now we will go back two frets and learn the missing notes. And, because you know the C major scale, you won’t have trouble finding the other notes that are in the neck two positions behind.

8. Fret 9 and 11, the highest register

You only need to master the notes of the nine and eleven frets and you will already know all the notes of the guitar. Again: a back fret is a flat and a forward fret is a sharp. We will reapply this by taking ten fret as the reference.

Remember also that F is not flat and C neither since between E – F and B -C there is only one semitone.

9. B flat or sharp, how to I write them?

If you are a clever student you should have noticed that there are notes that have the same names, which in practice is the same. Therefore, remember that:

C # = Db

D # = EIb

E # = F

F # = Gb

G # = Ab

A # = Bb

B # = C

10. Fret 13 onwards

Congratulations! You have already mastered all the notes on the neck of the guitar. From the tenth third fret, the notes will be equivalent to those of the first fret, those of the 14th fret to those of the second fret and so on, only on a higher register.

Mastering the neck of the guitar is just a matter of practice. In this article we have used a single major scale, but practice with all the scales you know so that you can play them all over the neck easily.

Guitar scales | The Complete guide

If you are learning how to play a guitar, surely you will have heard about scales. These do not constitute a special musical category within the guitar as an independent element, but are the same as those used in the rest of the instruments.

Mastering the process for playing guitar scales is not a simple task. You need to spend time, be patient and always keep your mind free from negative thoughts. Why? Simple: practicing scales is not entertaining and it takes a lot of patience to master them with ease and good fingering. But, and this is something we should never forget because it is the main objective, they constitute one of the techniques that will enhance our skills as guitarists.

Luckily, there are effective methods to improve the learning of guitar scales, like the one we are going to study next. Over time, you will master the scales and have the ability to play them at the speed of any of your favorite guitarists.

What are guitar scales?

In western musical system, sounds are divided into intervals formed by tones (two frets in a guitar) and semitones (one fret), which is the difference between notes. Then, a tone is formed by two semitones, which is the shortest distance that exists between two notes.

To learn correctly how to play a scale on the guitar you have to start slowly and staggered. A good trick is to divide them into portions that are easier to assimilate, that way, when you play the notes one at a time, they sound good and there are no sudden noises. If that happens, it is advisable to reduce the speed until all the notes sound smoothly and with the same length.

A scale is divided into five positions on the neck of the guitar, but initially it is advisable to start only with the first one, so that you can get used to the way the rest sound and correct them if necessary. Next, we will see what scales you should learn first if you are starting to play guitar.

Major scales

The major scales are grouped naturally, taking as a starting point the seven musical notes that we all know: C, D, E, F, G, A and B. The vast majority of music played in the West is based on the major scale, and the rest of the scales descend from it. This means that, if we learn this scale in all its positions, fingerings and octaves, we must be able to play others by making only minor changes in it. Major scales tends to inspire a cheerful mood in music.

The major scale as a whole is formed by the same pattern: T-T-S-T-T-T-S. In it, the T represents the distance between the tones (two frets) and S symbolizes a semitone or a single fret. In all cases, the major scales are diatonic, which is a scale made up of consecutive second intervals.

Minor scales

Natural minor scale

This scale has been used since Ancient Greece, and although it has been called with other names and functions throughout the different musical periods, it is now called Natural minor scale when it is used in the context of modal or tonal music. This scale gives a sad hue to the music.

The minor scale is constituted by lowering a semitone to positions three, six and seven in the scale. They are formed with the pattern of T-S-T-T-S-T-T.

Harmonic minor scale

This scale is the result of the variation of the natural minor scale, thus achieving a different cadence.

It is modeled by raising half of a tone to the note number seven of the natural minor scale, ascendingly and vice versa. It is guided by the pattern: T-S-T-T-S-T-S-TM. The TM means a tone and a half, or three frets inside the guitar.

Melodic minor scale

This scale constitutes an exception in terms of its pattern, because, unlike the others, it varies in comparison to the minor scales.

It has the peculiarity that, when interpreted in ascending movement, its sixth and seventh grades, raising a semitone in relation to the natural minor scale, but when descending is played without variations, that is, in the natural minor scale itself. When executed in descending mode, the notes are played in a similar way as in the natural minor scale. The pattern is formed by: T-S-T-T-T-T-S, and in the descent by: T-S-T-T-S-T-T.

Pentatonic scales

These scales are, in all likelihood, the easiest to exercise on the guitar, and are widely used in all musical genres, so it is essential to learn them.

Pentatonic major scale

The total pentatonic major scales are established by excluding the fourth and seventh notes of another known scale: the major natural. The pattern of the intervals that form it is tone — tone — tone and half — tone— (tone and medium). This means that, instead of having 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, the pentatonic scale is grouped into the intervals: 1-2-3-5-6.

Minor pentatonic scale

This is one of the scales that jazz pianists use most, as well as in blues and rock. They are useful for improvisation because they perform well on some of the diatonic chords of equal hue.

To form a pentatonic minor scale of any kind, the second and sixth notes of the natural minor scale must be removed. The interval scheme is tone and half-tone-tone-tone-and-half (tone). This translates into that, instead of executing 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, you play 1-3-4-5-7.

Scales and Music

A good tip is to start practice with the pentatonic scale. These have a simpler fingering and are used in many musical genres.

As you get practice with scales, you will begin to notice that your songs will sound better, and that you can play them intuitively. This will happen because your ability to jump from one note to the next will grow each time you exercise a scale. Best of all, with this new training you will be able to compose your own songs or play a melodic guitar solo.

How to tune a guitar | the complete guide

One of the main skills that a guitarist must master is the ability to tune its instrument. After all, it doesn’t matter how well you are able to play the guitar: if it is out of tune, nobody will want to listen.

Developing the tuning experience is hard for a beginner, but it is mandatory. There are several methods, and they are not always used. Let’s explore some of the best known.

How to tune by ear

The key to learning to tune an ear guitar is daily practice. If your guitar is very challenging it will give the wrong notes, and that is not a good sign. Therefore, it is convenient to train the ear again and again, until mastering the technique perfectly. We can also rely on electronic tuners, but its better just to use them as support in the early stages of learning.

The secret to tuning by ear is to turn the pegs that correspond to each string until the sound became the same as a reference one. The basic problem lies in discovering if our instrument sounds keen or deeptoned than the referential sound itself. Once detected, it only remains to turn the plug again until it approaches the expected sound.

The references can be many: a keyboard, another guitar or any instrument that produces a E note equivalent to that of the first string. With the reference note we fine-tune the fifth string, and then we compare it with methods such as open strings or tuning by natural harmonics.

How to fine tune with tuners

For a beginner who does not have a sufficiently developed musical ear, the simplest and most reliable resource for tuning a guitar is to use an electronic tuner. Luckily, those are easy to acquire and their prices are quite accessible. Or you can use an application for mobile devices, which are on the Internet at cheap prices, or even for free.

However, one of the main obstacles that hit guitarists is that they don’t understand the symbols that tuners bring in. It is important to understand this system to master all the possibilities they offer and take advantage of our study time.

Tuners use the Anglo-Saxon or American notes system. In this, the well-known Spanish musical notes DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI are not used, but letters, which are C D E F G A B. Understanding that correspondence is vital, since the Internet offers a lot of content based on it. For example, if D is played on the tuner when playing a string, this means that the Spanish note being played is a RE.

Another significant point to use the tuner is to master the original layout of the notes. If we forget this detail, there will be no way to know how to raise or lower the tuning of the string to achieve the necessary note. In addition, we avoid the error of tuning a string with an extreme tension that is not your pitch, and even prevent the string from breaking!

There are several kinds of digital tuners, and each of them occupies a place and works in a specific way. Next, we will see the three most recommended.

Top 3 tuners

Nowadays, electronic or digital tuners are, as we saw before, one of the best options. These are nothing more than devices that show the visual contrast between the sounds played and the reference note. The traditional digital tuner is a box with a screen, microphone and, in some models, audio input to plug the guitar cable. Few guitar players use it.

1- Applications for mobile devices

By using an app we turn our Smartphone into a portable tuner that we can take everywhere. Its disadvantage is that apps are affected by ambient sound, so you will need to go to a quiet room if you want to tune with an app. It is recommended that if we are going to tune the guitar in a very noisy place, you use another type of electronic tuner.

Regardless of the operating system of your Smartphone or Tablet, a large number of applications can be found in any app store. One of the best is DaTuner Lite. This has the advantage of being free and performs very well. You can also go for GuitarTuna, which is quite intuitive and very popular among guitar students.

2- Clamp tuner

As the name says, this tuner brings a built-in plier to place the tuner on the head of the instrument. It is common to also have a vibration meter in the clamp, to capture the sound emitted by the guitar. It is almost always portable, so it can be stored in the case without any problems. Unlike apps, it is perfect for tuning in noisy environments, since its vibration sensor captures the sound, not a microphone.

One of the most recommended clamp tuners is the Snark SN5X, very simple to use and quite cheap too. Another one you can try is the D’Addario NS Micro Clip-On Tuner: being small, it can be fixed on the guitar and goes almost unnoticed.

3- Pedal tuner

If you are lucky enough to have a pedalboard, you can take the opportunity to add a pedal tuner. Although they are more expensive than a clamp tuner, they offer the advantage of being able to fast retune during pauses between songs in a gig, without having to be looking for another tuner to attach it to the guitar.

There are lots, but two of the most recommended are the Korg Pitchblack, which is very easy to use, and the Boss TU-3. It is a classic that has been on the market for many years and that lots of professional guitarists use it with excellent results.

Do you already know what tuner you intend to use? If so, congratulations, although these are not magic wands that guarantee a perfect tuning with a single pass. Once you know all the strings and the order of the notes, tuning your guitar will become a simpler process.

 Remember: practice will make you a master.

Guitar´s open strings names

The guitar is not only a beautiful musical instrument, but it is one that offers lots of interpretation possibilities. The length and thickness of its strings determines the frequency and with them the notes, so we have different vibrations that give rise to the different notes.

Then, knowing the names of the open strings on the guitar and being able to read them on the stave will help you to correctly perform different melodies .

Each open string and the explanation of its note

First of all, knowing the notes of the guitar open strings is starting point if you want to learn to play this instrument. It is really useful when tuning or discovering the following notes along the string. In addition, the open strings are also involved in many chords.

To achieve this, you just have to use your right hand without touching any frets or your left hand in case you are left handed. If you start guitar studies you just have to know the following: the guitar has six strings and each one corresponds to a musical note (when the instrument is properly tuned, of course).

If we take as a referent order from the thinnest to the thickest string, we have the following notes:

First string (the thinnest): E string

Second string: B string

Third string: G string

Fourth string: D string

Fifth string: A string

Sixth string (thickest): E string

Of course, this is not something you should necessarily know if you have never studied music. On the other hand, those open strings (from the first to the sixth) are the equivalent of what you will see in the musical stave.

How to learn guitar strings

How you can easily learn the strings of the guitar and how the open strings works are some of the questions you can ask yourself when you start studying this instrument. The guitar open strings, as you know, are those that are played without stepping on any frets. You can easily exercise by calling the notes aloud to memorize them.

If you want to practice but have an electric guitar, it is recommended that you use the pick with alternate movements from the bottom up on each note. In the case of having an acoustic guitar or a traditional Spanish guitar, it is best to use your thumb on strings 4, 5, 6 and the index finger on strings 1, 2 and 3.

You can also exercise when tuning the guitar: you just have to name the strings while tuning to remember the notes: E -B – G -D – A – E.

Some fun facts

Some fun facts about the use of guitar open strings:

  • Classical and flamenco guitarists use as many open strings as possible, while electric guitarists try to play open strings in a smaller number due to distortion and noise.
  • There are very particular styles that make the most of the open strings, in what they call open tuning and this is achieved by retuning the guitar. Jon Gomm is a great guitarist who uses this resource a lot.
  • In Spanish, playing the open strings on the guitar is known as “cuerdas al aire”.