Originally written November 2012
Good? Bad? In music? ….. No such thing. Music does not feed us, or clothe us, it isn’t lasting. Today’s hot tune is tomorrow’s has been. Music entertains us. If you like it, it’s good. If you don’t, then nothing else matters because it is of no value to you. Music can inspire us. It can offend us. Mostly, it simply enriches our day and makes life just a little better.
Guitar guys are an odd lot. They are usually not music readers but for those that are two distinct systems are available to them. Italian classic in treble cleff can be played on guitar and is well understood by skilled players. None the less an alternative music writing system for guitar guys only exists.. It is called TAB, AND it too COMES IN TWO FLAVORS. Standard tab and Nashville tab. Nashville tab is more detailed. Tab is written on a six line staff, each line representing a guitar string and has balloons with numbers that tell you what fret to play. Letter name notes are not used.
In any case the written music is most useful as a tool for teaching the instrument. Tab is not understood by players of other instruments. The Italian classical is at some level useful to all players. There are music writing books available at your friendly music emporium for writing in both forms. Usually the MUSIC MANUSCRIPT BOOK will be pre lined for Italian classical. It will have five horizontal lines that you can write musical notes on. And you also can use vertical lines to divide the music into MEASURES. The measures will create room for a certain number of down counts in each measure. Usually the number of down counts will be three or four per measure. If we are using 4 / 4 time (sometimes called COMMON time the first four means that there will be four counts per measure and the second four means that we will recognize a quarter note as one count. The quarter note is a slightly egg shaped ball with a short vertical stick attached ti it and the egg shaped ball is filled in with a solid color.
Where our note is on the staff means something. The STAFF is the five horizontal lines that are now divided into measures by the afore mentioned measure bars. The staff has lines and spaces. If a note stradles a line it is a line note. If it is contained within a space it is a space note. The note on the lowest line is an “E”. On a properly tuned guitar you would play that “E” by pressing the second finger of the left hand on the fourth string at the second fret as you pick or finger the fourth string with the right hand. The notes on the lines from the lowest up are “E”, “G”, “B”, “D”, & “F”.
How bout this? Every Good Bird Does Fly.
The notes in the spaces, also bottom up, are “F”, “A”, “C”, & “E”. Kind of spells face and rhymes with space.
Notes come in several flavors. A round note that is not filled in and has no stick is a whole note. It means four counts as the note is held. If you put a stick on the whole note it becomes a half note, two counts. If you fill in the hole in the half note it becomes a quarter note, one count. If you add a flag to the top of the stick it necomes an eighth note, or a half count.
Knowing all of this there is a book store in Tullahoma that sells beginning guitar books that are self explanatory, well illustrated, and geared to those that are not children. There are several choices but the one I suggest is the “HAL LEONARD BOOK 1” for guitar. The beginner books go to book three with an available 1, 2, & 3 contained in one volume. I like the three smaller books because of the feeling of accomplishment when one is finished. The Hal Leonard series goes on to specialty books for chords, scales, theory, jazz, country. Actualy dozens of useful, well written and produced books for the guitar player at any level. Another well respected name in guitar education is Mel Bay.
On the mysterious and exciting world of the internet “GUITAR CENTER” (A bain capitol company) offers a full line of books and materials such as DVDs and play along CDs. As does “SAM ASH MUSIC” site. Fender Guitars web site includes a how to play section that is relatively good. Martin Guitars web site sells books through their 1833 shop. Other interesting web sites for guitar types are GIBSON GUITARS, GRETSCH GUITARS, CARVIN, PAUL REED SMITH GUITARS. All are comprehensive web sites that offer quality equipment and materials.