Guitar Lessons Help
This page will go through some of the functions and diagrams you'll
come across in lesson on the site.
mp3 sound files on this site will either open in your web browser or
your computer's default media player (e.g. Windows Media Player, Real
If you want to download them, just right click on the sound link and
click "save target as" or "save as".
The guitar lessons on this site use diagrams that, at first glance, may
appear confusing or "the wrong way around".
you'll find sites and books using diagrams that represent a "head on"
view of the guitar fretboard, as if you're looking at someone else
playing the guitar...
You also typically
find chord charts using wire frame diagrams that position the guitar
neck vertically, with the nut at the top...
Both these positions, I feel, can be difficult to translate because
they do not represent your
, how you
see the fretboard
when you're playing the guitar.
Holding your guitar, this is what you'll typically see looking over the
This is how you will see your fingers on the fretboard, so you will
visualise chord shapes and scale patterns based on this perspective.
visualisation is important for memorising finger positions.
As your fingers move up the fretboard, your view will become more and
more "side on".
So all my diagrams
are positioned based closely on that perspective - lowest/thickest
the bottom (capitalised "E"), highest/skinniest string at the top
(lower case "e"). See how the below diagram faithfully represents the
chord shape you see in the photo above...
hope that clarifies why I use this positioning for my diagrams. I want
them to help you visualise chord shapes and note patterns closer to
your perspective so you can
translate them directly to the fretboard, without to much twisting and
turning in your head!
look out for fret numbers beneath the diagrams that specify at which
fret the strings should be pressed. For example, this diagram...
you play that root (1
note on the low E string at the 3rd
the other notes in the scale positioned relative to that (e.g. the 2nd
note is at fret 5, the 3rd on the A string at fret 2, 4th on the A
string at fret 3 etc.). Incidentally, that's a G major scale pattern
because the root note is positioned on... G
More on that in the lessons!
the diagram includes a thick black bar in the nut position (the bit
where the head joins the neck of the guitar), you'll know we're down at
those first few frets...
If there is no fret
beneath the diagram and no
, that means I'm not referring to a specific fret
position. This is when the scale pattern or chord shape is movable
, meaning you
can position it anywhere up the fretboard depending on what key you're
if I'm just showing you the pattern or shape, the fret number isn't
really important, because you'll position it at the appropriate fret
when you start to use it in your music.
Fingering and intervals
There are two main types of diagrams on my site.
Fingering diagrams that use dots with numbers 1 - 4 representing your 4
fingers (1 = index/1st finger, 4 = pinky/4th finger). This simply shows
you which fingers to press on which strings for a given chord form or
The above E major chord was a good example of the chord fingering
diagrams, but there are also scale pattern fingerings...
Interval diagrams that use squares labelled with the intervals/tones
that make up
a chord or scale. As you progress through the lessons, you'll learn
exactly what these intervals/tones mean (for example, what a #4
Learning chords and scales based on their intervals means you can apply
them in any key or
. It's all about being able to understand relative pitch
rather than simply learning the notes of each and every scale and chord
example, you might learn the notes of a C major chord are C, E and G,
but what does that tell you about G major or C#
have to learn the notes for every single chord and scale! Time
consuming and unnecessary.
Instead, if you simply learn that the
intervals of ALL major chords are 1, 3 and 5, and learn how these
intervals appear on the fretboard (which I show you), you will be able
to move that relationship to any position and key, based on a visual relationship of intervals
Knowing the specific notes (letters) of the chord is secondary and,
arguably, not necessary when you develop a good understanding of
What I do encourage students to learn are what I call
the "root note reference strings" - the low E A and D strings, as the
bass root notes for the most common chord forms and scale patterns are
on these strings. They provide a quick, visual reference for first
finding the root note of a chord or scale you want to play. You'll then
naturally progress beyond these visual references.
not easy to explain, and I may have just confused you (sorry!) but I
promise you will soon understand what I mean when you start working
through the lessons.
Trust me, it works, and that's supported by
countless positive comments. There is no reason why it shouldn't work
for you too. If you have any problems interpreting the diagrams on this
site, just fire
me an email
and I'll help you out.
Back to Guitar Lessons