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Welcome to the Acoustic Guitar Community.

Looking for a little help... direction....

I'm old and just trying to learn the guitar. One of my stumbling blocks

is learning to read music, sight read. I can read it but not fast enough

to play it.

Has anyone taken a course on reading music that worked for them?

Are there any courses?



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I'm OLD, too, 62.  I started git just over 2 years ago.  I've been a chord strummer from the start but recently have begun to learn melody with standard notation.  The key to me is to learn the notes on the fret board.  I found a few sites that are very good at teaching standard notation for reading music.  But, it's going to be up to you to learn and locate the notes on the git.  This one may get you going.

I also found a good pdf file that overlays the std notation staff/notes on the fret board.  I've printed a number of copies and hi-lite some scales locations on them.  If I can find that site, I'll post it for you.  Keep It Fun, Dean


I know where the notes are on the guitar and I can read the notes on the paper, at least the basic

ones. BUT I can't read, identify and convert from paper to instrument fast enough.

So I slug along but my 4/4 time .... isn't.



Thank you.

I guess my "confusion and/or frustration "comes from instructors and "learn to play" books. There seems to be

no customary path to learning. One side starts with learning the notes on the fretboard/guitar and playing simple

little songs, while the other book statrs out with chords and strumming patterns. I can't see the end to either

approach? I have a dickens of a time with some of the chords, old fingers don't seem to be long enough to reach

the 6th string and the 1st at the same time. I pratice every day, twice a day and I play the little songs over and over

none of which I recognize, but I don't see a path to the next level?

Well I'm only 2 + months into this but I feel like I'm approaching this challenge with a shotgun and

I should be using a rifle. I need a set of attainable goals to work on, one at a time. That's what I'm trying

to figure out at the moment. I have been practicing on a Classical guitar, an entry level Yamaha. I

also have an entry level Takamine that is steel string. I just put XL strings on it and had a local

luthier set it up for me. I'm hoping the narrower neck will help me with the chords. I do not have

long fingers and at 69 they don't stretch well. I'd like to find something where the G, G7, C chords

aren't so difficult. Maybe a parlor size guitar?

At any rate thanks for the ideas.



I'm sure I should understand what you just said but please forgive me.... I don't?


ah, magic, I like magic....

Thank you

Learning to read sheet music is easy. learning chords is easy. Putting it all together, not so easy. I too have recently learnd to read sheet music. What I suggest untile you get it down, is to Play the pieces dommanant chord. Just play the piece with the dommanant chord. That will help you concentrate on reading the music without having to walk and chew gum at the same time. Hope this helps. Guitar is suposed to be fun, not frustrating.

Keith, I just read this thread and I wanted to share my experience with you.  I started playing guitar 4 years ago when I was 46 and a couple of things worked really well for me.  One, I made flash cards.  On one side I drew a treble clef with one note.  On the back side I had the name of the note and also the number of positions it was available in.  For example, the C on the 3rd fret of the A string can also be played on the 8th fret of the E string.  I would put C and the number 2 on the backside, but you could do it however you want.  Second, I got a couple of DVDs from .  They come with the tablature and the notation  Really handy.  Good luck and holler if you need anything else.

Thank you, I'm still plugging away. There are lots of people that tell me.... "you don't need to read music

to play the guitar".... "just learn the chords and strumming patterns?"..... I still want to be able to read


thanks again


I remember when I was first learning to read music in 4th grade. I played flute in the school band, so I never had to read any more than one note at a time--no chords. The way I learned was just by slowly learning one piece of music--something simple like "Ode to Joy"--going through it note by note. Then as I practiced the song more and got better at it, I already knew what note I needed to play and how I needed to play it. This helped me because at that point I could just follow along with the music and not have to think about reading it, so as I looked at the music, if I saw a D, I would already be expecting it and I would just memorize the placing of the notes on the staff and the times just by practicing that way.



I am an old guy too, but have been involved in music on an amateur level for a long long time.  Being able to read musical notation can be a big help in understanding music, I think.  It is also offers a separate way to enjoy music.  Once you have done it long enough you'll be able to look at a piece of written music and "hear" the piece in your head without playing the guitar.  (Then you'll be stuck having a good idea of how the piece should sound and then spending time getting your fingers to replicate on the guitar what is in your head...) 

When I start to learn a new piece, I try to learn to play a shorter number of measures correctly rather than a larger number of measures half right.  If I am having problems with a few measures, I'll take it slow and try to "loop" the measures so that I build up muscle and sight memory.  When I've got that, I'll gradually integrate more measures into the "loop."  At some point I'll be able to get most of it right, and then I'll focus on playing through my mistakes.  Then in the end things get as smooth as they are going to get.  It can take me anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to learn a piece depending on its complication.

"Sight reading" is a different discipline than learning a piece of music.  Sight reading ability is acquired over time and with specific sight reading.  Simply put, the more you do it the better you'll get, because you will build your memory and "reading ahead" skills.  To sight read you've got to read ahead and keep "where you are going" in your head long enough for your fingers to follow your eyes' lead.

In order to keep up whatever sight reading ability I have acquired, at some point when I am learning a new piece of music, I'll put that piece away, flip through one of my music books, and spend 15 or 20 minutes learning a brand new song on the spot, trying to have continuous play no matter how slow it goes.  I may go back to that sight reading piece a few times in a row of practices, but my approach is not the same as when I am otherwise learning... few loops in sight reading, more emphasis on playing through mistakes and getting back on track, and I am quicker to speed playing up in sight reading than when I'm learning a piece...

Hope this helps,



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