Lets learn the fretboard in first position, starting with the highest letter in the musical alphabet.
Find string number 1 on your guitar and place the third finger of your fretboard hand just behind fret number 3.
You should be pressing down with your fingertip, and your finger should be well arched.
The note you are holding is G third fret. On the staff, G is the pitch that sits just above the top line. While you are holding G Third Fret, let's play through some musical examples.
Each of these practice measures will give you a look at different groups of note durations. When groups of note durations form patterns in the music, it's referred to as rhythm.
Each of these measures displays a different rhythm.
This line is showing the meter 4/4, which is called common time. This meter says that there are four beats in a measure and that a quarter note is counted as one beat.
Practice Measure 1
If you look at the first practice measure, you can see that there are four quarter notes in the measure. The first quarter note falls on beat number 1, and since a quarter note only last for one beat, the note ends right when you play the next quarter note, which falls on beat number 2.
Beat number 2 ends right when you play beat number 3, which ends just as you play beat number 4, which lasts until beat number 1 in the next measure.
Play this measure now and count out loud as you play each beat.
Remember to alternate your picking direction. The heel of your hand should be placed just behind the bridge saddle. Here are two musical symbols which serve as visual cues for picking direction.
The shorter, squared-off symbol indicates a down stroke, and the long V symbol indicates an up stroke. A composer may use these symbols if they require a player to use a specific picking pattern. We are showing them here to help you become familiar with alternating direction.
Quality of Sound
In the first practice measure, there are no rests, and when there are no moments of rest present, the sound should be continuous. Listen to this version of the first practice measure.
As the notes were played, you may have noticed each strike on the string, but the sound from one note to the nest was continuous.
When you play in this manner, you are playing the notes as the composer intended with no pauses or breaks in the music.
The articulation marking for this type of playing is the word "legato", which means smooth and connected.
If you play the first practice measure and you hear a version like this the cause may be in the way the pick is contacting the string.