As far as beginner guitar lessons, so many teachers will tell you, “You need to memorize every note on the fretboard.”
For those of you who don’t want to memorize every note on the fretboard when learning guitar, I have a solution. Using 2 simple tricks, you are going to be able to find any note on the fretboard without memorization!
Besides teaching you these two tricks, this episode of Acoustic Tuesday is going to feature the Heartbreaker of the Month guitar, from Heartbreaker Guitars in Las Vegas. Finally, I am showcasing the work of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.
I want to give a big shoutout to everyone who took part in my 5-Day Blues Guitar Challenge. The response from everyone was awesome. I can’t wait to do another 5-day challenge!
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
Finding Notes on the Fretboard
I’m kicking off the episode with 2 simple tricks for finding every note on the fretboard.
The first trick is knowing the musical alphabet. Simply put, the musical alphabet is just the letters A through G. Once you hit G, you go back to A.
The second trick is understanding what a whole-step and a half-step are.
A whole-step is the two frets on the fretboard (if you need a refresher on guitar notes, visit this lesson here). For example, the distance between A and B is a whole step.
In contrast, half-steps are one fret on the fretboard.
Here’s what you need to remember:
- There’s a whole step between A and B, C and D, D and E, and F and G, and G and A.
- There’s a half step between B and C, and E and F.
I like to use the pneumonic device “Big Crazy Elephants Fight,” to remember where my half-steps are in the musical alphabet.
Now that you know where the half steps and whole steps are — and you know your musical alphabet — you’re on your way to finding any note on the fretboard!
Over time, as you practice, you’ll begin to know exactly where certain notes are. But for now, you can use the musical alphabet paired with whole-steps and half-steps to find any note on the fretboard.
Heartbreaker of the Month: Lowden F50
To switch gears from the land of learning guitar to the land of buying guitars, Heartbreaker Guitars in Las Vegas has a killer feature.
This month’s Heartbreaker guitar is the Lowden F50.
With a master-grade California Cedar top and Koa back, this guitar is an absolute gem.
The warm tones that come from the Cedar top are beautifully complemented by the articulate responsiveness of the Koa back.
Here’s the crazy part…I almost bought this guitar. But, because I’m a sucker for sunburst finish, I ended up going with a Bourgeois guitar instead!
If you want to get more information on this awesome guitar, be sure to visit Heartbreaker Guitars’ website today.
Featured Artists: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
If you’re looking for the epitome of an acoustic duo that represents the folk and Americana genres, look no further than Gillian Welch & David Rawlings.
I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of these two, but if you haven’t, you need to check them out ASAP.
From the melodies to the lyrical content to the harmonies, Gilliand Welch and David Rawlings are timeless. This is easily seen in their song “Hard Times,” featured below.
If you can make it through the day without the song stuck in your head, kudos to you!
Another great example of the groups’ harmonies and using meaningful guitar fills, check out “The Way it Will Be,” below.
I mean, their dynamic is just unmatched. Rawlings isn’t stepping on Welch’s toes in any way shape or form. Everything he does seems to compliment and give Welch plenty of space.
We all now Rawlings is capable of laying down some smokin’ solos, but he doesn’t — which is perhaps the most beautiful part of that song.
For one last example of everything this duo is capable of, check out “Tennessee,” below.
One last comment: David Rawlings’ style is just insane. The way he solos has a piercing timbre that cuts through and sounds so purposeful. Every note has intention and meaning!
If you’re interested in some of their work, be sure to check out Gillian Welch’s albums.
To purchase some of their albums, visit Amazon today.
wow! that was a light bulb on that, I did not know the notes on the guitar until now… that was a very good to know. Thanks Tony!
Thanks for producing a great guitar show I’m not a guitar geek but I’m working on it ha ha I am retired and have time on my hands sometimes too much but you help make the best of it thank you🎸🎼📢
So glad you shared this! Saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in Nashville in 1995 early on their music careers at the Station Inn. There were probably 20 people in the room. Wow they were good then playing electric, acoustic and banjo and you shared some nice comments on their harmonies and arrangements. Thanks!
I thoroughly enjoy Acoustic Tuesday. It is entertaining and informative. You are a great host. I do have a pet peeve. As a former film and video tape editor with 18 years of experience, I find it disturbing and obtrusive when you cut from a shot of you talking to the camera and then to the side angle shot when you are. Some may consider it hip, but not me. If I had to put it in a guitar related vain, it would be like someone bending a note without knowing why.
Just out of curiosity, how is it supposed to be done? After all, a critique is no good without a solution. 🙂
I was crushed today when I thought I had missed the show. Being a newbie is a pain in all things. Loved the entire show. The hbg guitar was awesome. Your guest artists were excellent. Many thanks,
Could next weeks guest be Molly Tuttle?
the Lowden F50 the sound of this guitar gives me goose bumps I need one
Really liked the history trivia about the redwood. Tony was right, this was awesome for a history/guitar geek. Gr at show
tony I have a snark tuners and left it on without realizing it when I was taking your fretboard challenge and it helped me to memorize them by playing any note and guess what it was and check it with it and see if I got it right
That was so amazingly simple. I wish I had the advantage of learning the basics from you when I started playing guitar. I put a lot of years in learning very little very slowly, so no this wasn’t a light bulb moment for me. But there are lots of things I do learn from you, and even what I do already know, I just love hearing how you explain it SO simply. Your instruction (I am a member of the Tony’s Acoustic Challenge site) has taught me to look at the guitar in a whole different way. I have finally moved beyond beginner (20 years a beginner; less than a year on TAC) and now know that I am becoming a truly accomplished guitar player. I didn’t think I was capable of that. Thank you Tony.
Thanks, Team TAC, for another great show. I’m glad that you featured Gillian and David. It’s surprising that they are not better known. I’ve had them on regular playlist rotation for years. They are Hall of Famers for sure. Maybe we need an Acoustic Life HoF award. It could be awarded annually at the ALF. Yes?
What a great concept. This is a great show. Fantastic songwriting, guitar melodic and harmonic tones as well as the vocals. Mail bag. And reviews of acoustic guitars. I am very happy and blown away!
I have wanted to learn to pick breaks and this quick reference as to where eaach note is on the fret board is a great referance and aid for me I think. will let you know how it goes. Thanks for your help
Hey, Tony I’ve only recently discovered Acoustic Tuesday show a couple of months ago. I cannot say enough about how much I enjoy it. I try to keep up with the newer shows while in my spare time going back and watching the show from the beginning. The show has helped inspired me to pick up the guitar again after a few years of not playing and trying again. You see four years ago I had an accident at work and lost the tips of two of my digits my middle and ring finger so finger style will probably be big challenge for me but I hope to get there one day. Thanks for the inspiration, the show, instructional videos and the reviews.
P.S. I found your music on Amazon music and I am really enjoying it. Especially love the EP Half Broke Horse with Shelly Besler It’s great!
You make reference to “critical pairs” and “non-critical” pairs. I’ve never heard this terminology before and a google search and a trip to my Harvard Dictionary of Music turns up nothing. I’ve even reached out to Matt and Jeremy at the wonderful Music Student 101 podcast and they’ve never heard it. Please let me know where this terminology comes from. Thanks!