Articles, Blog

Guitar Notes For Beginners – Learn Flat Notes On First String In 3 Simple Steps

November 22, 2019

Hello, this is Mike Hayes and on this video
we’re talking about guitar notes for beginners, in particular today we’re looking at how flats
work on the first string of the guitar; and we’re going to do this in three easy steps. The first step is to find the location of
the natural notes on the first string of the guitar, and by natural notes I mean notes
that are not sharpened or flattened; and again as you can see on the screen here I’m relating
the location of the notes on the guitar fingerboard to that of the layout of the notes on a piano
keyboard. And just to make sure you understand how you
are viewing these diagrams; the body of the guitar is at this end of the diagram and the
head of the guitar is here. Now as you can see between certain natural
notes, there’s a space, a fret space and this is where the flats occur; essentially what
happens is that each note when it’s flattened moves one fret towards the head of the guitar. An easy way to think about the concept of
flats is that let’s say we had a flat tyre, if you had a flat tyre on your car the tyre
would go down and that’s exactly what happens to flats on the guitar. If we were looking for a Bb, we’d locate the
note B on the first string, which is at the seventh fret and we’d find Bb one fret closer
to the head of the guitar so the note Bb would be at the sixth fret, so we’d have B and we’d
put the little flat sign next to it and the flat is just a small B placed next to the
note. Step two is to see how this relates to the
location of the flats on the piano keyboard and we can see for example that this E we
could relate that to the E on the 12th fret of the guitar, making that our starting point,
we can see in each instance we have the flat to the left hand side of the page, we have
E moving back to Eb, that’s the black note on a keyboard, we have D, Db, C moving back
to Cb and actually you can see here that Cb can also be called B. Bb is found to the left of B, A moving down
to Ab, G, Gb, F and then of course the next note would be Fb, we would have F flat and
then we’d put the little flat sign next to the F and Fb can also be called E. And so I’ll just extend my guitar diagram
here to include E, that’s the first string open, so that could be called E or Fb, and
here we have the note B which could also be referred to as Cb. Now in these instances where we have a note
that can be referred to two ways e.g., E could be referred to as Fb as we’ve just said this
is called an enharmonic and we spoke about this on our video when we were talking about
sharps; essentially the term enharmonic means that the notes look different but they sound
the same. And now we’re going to move on to step three
where we’ll just explain what happens when we want to flatten the open E. O.K., here we are at step three and we’re
trying to work out how do we flatten the open E note, now up to this point it probably makes
sense if you think about it that when we have a note and we want to flatten it the way to
flatten that note is to lengthen the string. So, for example earlier on in the video we
wanted to flatten the note B, we knew that B was on the seventh fret so we just went
back one fret , and we found Bb. Now, of course the problem is we can’t go
back one fret we we want to flatten the open E, so to understand how this works I’m using
a diagram that shows us how to tune our guitar without an electronic tuner; and essentially
what we’re doing here when we’re tuning the guitar with this method is that we’re wanting
to get the pitch of the first string to sound exactly the same pitch as the second string
at the fifth fret. So because we can’t find a way of playing
Eb on the first string, we go across to the second string of the guitar where this pitch
is duplicated and then we flatten that E. So if we needed to flatten the open E string
we’d actually play the note Eb on the second string at the fourth fret. And that’s how we find the flat notes on the
first string of the guitar and this video has been about guitar notes for beginners
and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

1 Comment

  • Reply Mike Hayes June 22, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Mystery solved – how flats work on the guitar!

  • Leave a Reply