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Index Sections: Notes on Guitar Fretboard * Major Key Guitar Positions * Major Key Bass Positions * Chords in a Major Key


Notes on Guitar Fretboard: Middle C on Guitar, 1st String, 2nd String, 3rd String, 4th String, 5th String, 6th String

Major Key Guitar Positions: Open Position, 2nd Position, 4th Position, 7th Position, 9th Position, 12th Position

Major Key Bass Positions: Open Position, 2nd Position, 4th Position, 7th Position, 9th Position, 12th Position

Chords in a Major Key: C Major, (Keys with sharp notes) G Major, D Major, A Major, E Major, B Major, F# Major (F sharp), C# Major (C sharp),
(Keys with flat notes) F Major, Bb Major (B flat), Eb Major (E flat), Ab Major (A flat), Db Major (D flat), Gb Major (G flat), Cb Major (C flat)


The Dark World International Experimental School of Music

Welcome to The Dark World International Experimental School of Music. This area of darkworld.com is a gallery of reference charts and tables about Music Theory and how it relates to a standard tuned guitar and bass as played in Western Modern music. The first section is a series of graphic charts showing the notes on a guitar fretboard compared to the piano keys and to the Grand Staff (used in sheet music). The second section has charts showing positions on a Guitar to play Major Key scales. The third section has charts showing positions on a Bass Guitar. Position charts are shown in the Key of C Major, but positions can be moved to obtain any Major Scale. The fourth section is a series of tables showing the notes of all chords in a key.


Ranges of instruments

This chart shows the ranges of Common Rock instruments compared to the notes on a 88 key piano. A common bass guitar with four strings will go one octave lower than shown above (note depending on the number of frets on the instrument). A guitar may have less high notes depending on the number of frets the instrument has. A seven string guitar will have a larger range than shown above (notes depending on how the instrument is tuned and the number of frets on the instrument). Drums are unique in the range of notes which apply. A Kick Drum covers the range of a 88 key piano. But this chart gives a good visual appreciation of where common Rock instruments overlap in notes.


about octaves and scales

Music Theory writes an octave note with the same letter, therefore a C4 is an octave above C3, and C2 is an octave below C3. Physically, a note is the octave of another note when it's frequency is half or double the frequency of the original note. An A4 note has the frequency of 440 Hz (where frequency is measured in hertz, Hz). An A5 note has the frequency of 880 Hz, and an A3 has the frequency of 220 Hz. Western European music divides an octave into twelve notes. A scale is an arrangement of the notes in ascending or descending order of frequency (or pitch) with a scale being named by a Key. A Major Key (a diatonic scale) is best known by do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do, and plays seven of the twelve notes in an octave. A Major scale can be written from each of the twelve notes in an octave. There are fifteen Major Keys in Western music. Three of the keys share notes with three other keys, they are called enharmonic. They may look the same on a guitar or piano, but look very different in sheet music. The Key of C Major, the white keys on a piano, are the natural C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. Sharps, ♯, and flats, ♭, are represented on a piano with black keys. Note that there is no sharp or flat between a B and a C, and an E and an F. This fact is easier to learn on piano (where it may seem obvious) than it is on guitar (where frets are neither black nor white, but all a bit grey).


about guitar frets

The octave on a guitar is divided by frets. One fret equals a piano key, where white and black keys are spaced the same as frets on the guitar. It is easier to learn the names of white keys on a piano than it is to name guitar frets, but learning where notes are on a guitar can make playing chords easier. A guitarist who plays only open chords is limited in what instruments they can perform with, and what Keys they can play. It is easier to move chords with confidence around the fretboard when we see the notes we are moving to and from. The notes on the first twelve frets are;

by string

Open
String

1st
Fret

2nd
Fret

3rd
Fret

4th
Fret

5th
Fret

6th
Fret

7th
Fret

8th
Fret

9th
Fret

10th
Fret

11th
Fret

12th
Fret

1st string

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

G♯/A♭

A

A♯/B♭

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

D♯/E♭

E

2nd string

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

D♯/E♭

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

G♯/A♭

A

A♯/B♭

B

3rd string

G

G♯/A♭

A

A♯/B♭

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

D♯/E♭

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

4th string

D

D♯/E♭

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

G♯/A♭

A

A♯/B♭

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

5th string

A

A♯/B♭

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

D♯/E♭

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

G♯/A♭

A

6th string

E

F

F♯/G♭

G

G♯/A♭

A

A♯/B♭

B

C

C♯/D♭

D

D♯/E♭

E

Black keys on a piano appear as ♯/♭ notes. A sharp note, ♯, appears as a note one fret higher than the letter it accompanies. A flat note, ♭, appears as a note one fret lower than the letter it accompanies. A double sharp note, ♯♯, appears as a note two frets higher than the letter it accompanies. A double flat note, ♭♭, appears as a note two frets lower than the letter it accompanies. Some notes have two names, one sharp, one flat. Both names describe the same fret on a guitar. A Major Key will describe all black key notes as either sharp or flat, never both. It is easiest to learn the C Major scale first, which is why the first three sections show only the Key of C Major. The patterns of C Major on guitar are similar to the patterns of any other Major Key on guitar, this includes bass guitar whose four strings equal the lower four strings of a guitar, only an octave lower.


about author

KarrArikh Tor began teaching bass and guitar to students when he was sixteen. Over the years he has taken less beginner students and has specialised in teaching intermediate guitar and bass guitar students how to use music theory to expand their playing. Many students have had to write out their own charts, but many have been worked out as posters for the walls of KarrArikh Tor's classroom, the Dark World International studios. This darkworld.com area is a reference tool of those posters and print-outs used by KarrArikh Tor in his lessons. The Dark World International Experimental School of Music is the attempt to teach a larger audience of intermediate guitarists about the music theory behind what they play, free of charge, free of cookies. If you find this area informative and helpful, all KarrArikh Tor asks is that you remember Dark World International artists when you are next purchasing music online, give us a listen, and buy your favourite Dark World release from any of the dealers online selling Dark World releases. Or if you want a physical CD or Book, visit our Shop and click on the CreateSpace catalogue, they tell us they ship world-wide.