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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.



The problem is that standard musical notation just doesn't work very well for guitar.  I read music pretty well, but I have never found it very helpful when it comes to playing guitar.  Most people who do it use play only on the first 5 frets, and that's because once you go up the fretboard, you start running into a lot of redundant notes.  However, if you really want to do it, you need to learn the scale patterns up the fretboard and also know some basic music theory, starting with the Circle of 5ths.

The guitar is a folk instrument and if you want to be playing melodies and leads, you should use tablature.  The tablature in Acoustic Guitar magazine is helpful because it also gives you both the tablature and the notated score.  That allows you to get a better feel for how long to hold a note, which is something that tablature doesn't do very well.

If you are just starting out playing guitar, you might want to start with chords and strumming / picking.

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?

I'm no youngster either, but I have been playing guitar for many years.  For even more years I have played the trumpet and because of that I have to be able to sight read music notation without much difficulty.  Since I have this skill, I wanted to apply it to the guitar, but it is much more complicated with guitar.  There are a lot of really good guitarists who cannot read music or even tablature.

I think a lot of introductory guitar books are written by people who don't understand the instrument.  I would encourage you to decide what kind of music you would like be able to play, and then set a course for learning it.  For example, if you like Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan, those two have a lot of songs that are generally easy to play.

Due to the nature of the guitar, some rhythms are very difficult to play.  Dotted notes and triplets don't lend themselves easy to most guitar picking methods.

You may want to get some instruction.  If you are already taking lessons, maybe you should talk to your instructor about your frustration.  If he/she can't help you, maybe you need to get a different instructor.

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.



There's nothing wrong with focusing just on the higher strings.  You can play G, G7, C all with just one finger if you play just the 1, 2, and 3 strings.  As you build proficiency, you can add the other strings.  And we have all been where you are.  It takes time at first.  The guitar is a quirky instrument to learn.

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


When you play a C, just put a finger on the second string at the 1st fret and play the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings. 

Shift that finger to the 1st string 1st fret and you are playing a G7. 

Move it to the 3rd string 1st fret and you are playing an E. 

Move it to the 3rd fret of the 1st string and you are playing a G.

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.


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