In Depth Guitar Lessons and Expert Help


April 3, 2013

Guitar Notation Explained

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Written by: Mike Abbott

This lesson will show you how to read a guitar chord grid,
beginning strum notation, and picking notation.

Chord Grid: Used for
reading a guitar chord or scale. Think of it as a
snapshot of part of the fingerboard. The guitar strings
are the vertical lines, the frets are horozontal lines.
If there is a number to the right of the guitar chord
grid, this means that what used to be the first fret is
now the fret that is specified.

Strum Notation: duration
of the strum is equal to the duration of the same type of
a music note.

FOR EXAMPLE: A quarter note strum symbol is one beat long
just like a quarter note is one beat
long. Visit the Rhythms1 Lesson
to learn the duration’s (values) of music notes.

strum notation and chord grid:

see a chord grid and strum notation explained

Alternating Picking:

When using alternating picking, it is
very important to keep the guitar
pick at a right angle to the strings. Also, the pick
should not rest on the string next to the one that
you are picking.

alternating guitar picking shown in standard and tab notation

About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.