So you want to know how to read notes for guitar?  It’s actually surprising simple, but like many things it requires consistent practice! It’s a good idea to start with the natural notes (the white keys on the piano) on each string in open position, then move on to the sharps and flats once you have these natural notes right underneath your fingers.

Here are the first three videos in our reading series to get you started.

How to Read Notes for Guitar Players – Start with the Natural Notes on the First String in Open Position

When learning to read notes, it’s important to practice slowly and carefully while paying special attention to finger placement. First finger first fret and your third finger on your third fret. Try saying the names of each note you are playing aloud to help memorize their names.  Patience!  Learning how to read notes for guitar takes time!  Consistency is the key.

Here’s a lesson sheet for practicing reading notes for guitar on the first string.

Natural Notes on the Second String in Open Position

Continuing on we have the natural notes on the second string in open position. They’re in the same place as they are on the first string! The names and pitches (notes) are different however. Instead of E F and G, we have B C and D.

Here’s a lesson sheet with a series of note reading exercises on the b string for guitar.

Natural Notes on the Third String in Open Position

Just two notes on this string in open position, G and A.

Click here for several note reading exercises using all the notes you’ve learned thus far.

You’ve just learned to how to read notes for guitar on three strings in open position!  That’s a great start! If you would like to learn more, check out our beginner guitar course for more lessons in this series.

Go to our songs page to start reading through some songs. You will have to know how to read note values, but that’s for another day. Some songs you might want to get started with are:

  • Ode to Joy
  • Au Clair de la Lune
  • Aura Lee
  • Yankee Doodle
  • Down in the Valley

Find a friend that can play the chords while you play through the melody (the notes).

Thanks for reading and watching!