How Notes Work


  • This Video (MP4)
    This Video (MP4)

    Mac users should use the MP4 version to download the video

  • This Video (WMV)
    This Video (WMV)

    Windows users should use the WMV version to download this video.

  • The Notes And Exercises
    The Notes And Exercises

    Notes on what we did in the video, and some exercises for you to work through on your own to make sure you've got it.

Leave A Comment And Tell Me What You Think…


  • Rob

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    I’ve been playing guitar since ’66 and never seen this way of looking at note structure. It’s never too late to learn something new! Thanks, Griff.

    • PAUL

      Reply Reply February 5, 2019


      • Greg nara

        Reply Reply February 27, 2020

        I just started playing guitar about three years ago . Practicing every day . Your lesson really helped out thank you . I’ve been using an app called Yousician not sure if you’ve ever heard that before but it has help me out quite a bit actually . Is there a lesson you have about helping out with scales and what they mean Is there a lesson you have about helping out with scales and what they mean ?

      • K Moree

        Reply Reply March 2, 2020

        I find the more about theory I learn the more interested I am in finding out more. I can’t always have my guitar with me but generally I can read material anytime I want via internet . When I learn something new I can’t wait to pick up my guitar and physically try out the things I’ve read . I started 3-4 years ago with you and now have 8-10 courses to study and go back over . Plus 6 months of personal lessons from a guitar theory geek. I had to stop my lessons from him for a year or mor e but just resumed them and I’m thrilled just to be able to play with someone else.
        I didn’t really start learning until I was 55 and just turned 60 . It’s never too late to learn something especially if you love it like I do music.

    • Harold

      Reply Reply March 22, 2019

      Thanks Griff. Been watching your video lessons for just over a year. This was a great review. I appreciate how you take the time to simplify the learning process

      • Greg

        Reply Reply February 27, 2020

        I just started playing guitar about three years ago . Practicing every day . Your lesson really helped out thank you . I’ve been using an app called Yousician not sure if you’ve ever heard that before but it has help me out quite a bit actually . Is there a lesson you have about helping out with scales and what they mean Is there a lesson you have about helping out with scales and what they mean ?

      • Philip

        Reply Reply June 13, 2020

        Great stuff Griff.
        I used to play the piano a bit, before I came to the guitar later in life. In my mind’s eye I can see the black and white keys when I’m working out the spacings between notes. I think everybody should start learning keyboard before tackling any other instrument. All the notes are there, laid out in the correct order. Plain to see.

    • Earl Rowland

      Reply Reply December 18, 2020

      Thanks Griff,for making something simple even more simple. I get it.Thanks again

    • Joan

      Reply Reply March 2, 2023

      Great way to visualize notes. The comparison to building blocks pits everything in perspective!

  • tony

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    very good and very useful,

    thank you,



    Reply Reply October 6, 2014


    What’s next? Will look out for it!

    • Dale

      Reply Reply December 9, 2019

      Alphabet backwards helpful.G FED CBA

      Thanks Griff

      • Alan

        Reply Reply January 1, 2020

        Why didn’t I think of that! Great tip.

  • Gilbert

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Thanks for helping me “Learning to Learn”. The teacher will show up when the student is READY!

  • David

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    That helps to clear things up a little. Thanks.

  • Ton

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Ready for the next.

  • Mike Steffani

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014


  • Ralph

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    I played in bands in the early sixty’s until the draft stopped me even got a little band going there. after the military marriage, work, children and other responsibility’s I gave up guitar playing. Now retired I’m trying to get back to playing, and yes I found this helpful

    • Billy Don

      Reply Reply October 7, 2014

      Ditto… Only difference is I crushed the middle finger on my left hand in a tracer mill, working for Howard Hughes in 1981. Picked up the name “Badfinger” back then and it stuck.

      • Dolores

        Reply Reply October 8, 2014

        I broke same finger on my left hand and having a hard time getting it to fret again, its so stiff. I guess I will keep trying. Griff is so encouraging to me. Are you still playing the guitar in spite of your “badfinger”?

        • MIke

          Reply Reply August 25, 2019

          In high school football, my ring finger on the fret hand got broken and was pointing at my wrist. I didn’t get it looked at until too late (after the season). Now my ring size is really up there. Anyway , keep working it. There are usually ways to loosen it up. See a physical therapist for sure. I really like the name ‘bad finger” . Thanks for all the emails and lessons Griff.

  • Trenney Eason

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    were is the answer video

  • Roger

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Great explanation of the concept of half and whole steps.

  • Bob Beasly

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Always great…..very informative

  • Richard

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Quite a thought that there are so many permutations that have been composed from that universe of 12 notes.
    Nice one Griff

  • David Hawthorne

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    thanks for the lesson and putting my brain to use….

  • Michael

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Thanks Griff-great video. Actually i hate theory, because i just cant make it make sense. Maybe you can tell me why there are accidentals? Why do you sometimes go 1/2 step to get to the next note, and sometimes it takes 2 half steps? I guess i should spend less time trying to figure it out and just learn it, lol.

    Anyhow, thanks!

    • Robert Novickas

      Reply Reply May 21, 2016

      In general, as Griff says, we call the sharps and flats “accidentals” But we can be more precise, or nit-picky! Here’s my understanding. If you’re playing a song in C, there are no sharps and flats, right? However, what if there are. Look at a piece of music in C. You might see an Aflat, or a Dsharp or a Gflat. We would call those notes accidentals, because there not in the C scale, but the composer needed to put that in because…it’s his song; he can do what he wants. A song in C can use ANY of the 12 notes the composer wants to use. But we recognize that the song is written in C and, therefore, we refer to notes that are not in the C scale as accidentals. It’s like the composer is saying “Yeah, I know my song is in C, but I needed the SOUND that a Gflat makes; a plain G wouldn’t sound the same. So, no matter what key a song is in, the composer is at liberty to use ANY of the 12 notes. But theory people are nit-picky; so they want to give this thing a name. The name they chose is “accidental.” Hope this helps, Michael. If not, Griff will sort it out.
      PS to Griff: Great job on this!


      • James J.Stabile

        Reply Reply November 18, 2016

        The correct understanding is that an accidental is any note that is not normal to the key in question. F# is an accidental in the key of C but is normal in the key of G. In the key of G, F is an accidental because F# is in the key signature. In the key of F, B is an accidental because Bb is in the key signature and Bb is normal

    • R. Hagen

      Reply Reply September 15, 2016

      Michael..not sure if this helps to answer part of your question.. But the rules of whole step and half step changes from major chords to Minor chords etc.
      Im sure Griff has a few lessons regarding Major and Minor chords. You will need to study your scales to see and hear the changes.

    • R. Hagen

      Reply Reply September 15, 2016

      Michael..not sure if this helps to answer part of your question.. But the rules of whole step and half step changes from major chords to Minor chords etc. Finger placement on the fret board each one is a half step regardless of the direction you move.. Up or down.
      Im sure Griff has a few lessons regarding Major and Minor chords.
      You should study your scales to see and hear the changes.

    • James J.Stabile

      Reply Reply November 18, 2016

      The original assumption was that all the steps were equal i.e., whole steps but it was later discovered that you could slip an extra note between only some of these. The notes b-c and e-f admitted no extra note so now they were now considered to be only half steps. To produce a normal (major) scale, the half steps must occur between the 3rd and 4th notes and the 7th and 8th
      notes only.. You can start your scale on any note just as long as you maintain the WWHWWWH relationships. (or in terms of frets: 2212221) Any deviation from this pattern will make your scale sound “off”

      • Gordon Moore

        Reply Reply March 7, 2018

        That’s interesting James as I was just thinking why did the note names get started with a C for C major. Why not an A. Or why not just pick the numbers 1 to 12. In fact what is the mathematical relationship between these notes (Pythagoras’ comes to mind from a deep recess somewhere).

        Is there a web site that references some of this stuff?

        I’m also thinking Captain Beefheart mucked my brain up by not playing the “right” notes. Is it just something we have gotten used to (our normal scales) or is it more deeply embedded. Questions questions :laughing

  • Graeme

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Thanks very much for your info. Very helpfull Cheers

  • JimmyVern

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    I liked this video and took the quiz or test. I am anxious to see the answers. Thank you, Griff

  • Rennie

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Thanks very clear explanation of how notes work

  • DeWayne

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Got my first guitar in ’68, have studied some music theory over the years, and I must say that this was likely the best presentation of this topic that I have yet to come across. I thought his answer to when do you use flats vs sharps was a bit weak, but I have confidence that he can still explain how every note/letter must be represented in each of the 12 standard keys without too much confusion. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of this series.

    • Phil

      Reply Reply October 7, 2014

      The ANSWER to the question “When do I use the sharp or the flat?” is simple: It is a function of the KEY in which the piece of music is written. If the Key is A#, they will be referenced as “sharp”, but if the Key is Ab the reference is to “flat”. It gets a little strange when we start talking about “double sharps” and “double flats”, and for non-theorists working with the natural B-C and E-F can send you on a “time warp”, but a little basic understanding of KEYS will keep your feet on the ground.

  • cowboy

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    nice video…still trying to connect all the dots but I’m getting there…thanks…later.


  • Ken Slaughter

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    I was an art teacher for a number of years and recently have found a passion for guitar playing. Having found some good teachers online, I must say Griff’s teaching style is impressing me more and more everyday. At 58 I’m a little more anxious to find shortcuts and concise information to keep me headed in the right direction. And the fact that he loves to teach and share his knowledge and experience about music is a huge plus. Thanks for keeping the fire burning Griff.

  • Jim Duling

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    I am a bare bones beginner. I’ve never played anything before so don’t understand a lot of this information. What’s a whole vs. a half step? I understand your explanation of going from A to A# and B to Bb. But how does this play out on my guitar fret board? Do I need to start with something more basic? I feel like I’m in over my head at this point.

    Having said that I do like your lessons and teaching style.

    • Lyn

      Reply Reply October 7, 2014

      I dare say this will be dealt with in the next videos if not here is a basic idea. A whole step is two half steps. So from A to B is a whole step so missing out the A#. C to D is a whole step etc.
      On a guitar each fret is a half step up or down. So, taking the first string which is an E when played open. If you place your finger just behind the first fret and play that note you have raised the note by half a step so it’s now an F. Go to the next fret and place your finger there it now becomes a half step higher becoming an F# etc. hope that helps, if not stick with it and Griff will explain.

    • Maggie

      Reply Reply November 12, 2014

      Don’t give up, Jim. You can do b it.

    • John

      Reply Reply May 21, 2016

      Jim, the easiest way to think of it is that each fret is one half step. Griff touches on this in the video. If you start on the 5th string which is open (string not pressed against a fret) the note is A. If you press the string at the first fret you have raised the note one half step to A#. Same string pressed against the 2nd fret is B, 3rd fret is C, 4th fret is C#, 5th fret is D, etc.

  • Mike

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    A useful step Griff to help in reading the fretboard a little more quickly and accurately,thankyou!

  • bill gray

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    easily understood, thanks

  • Ron Eaton

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Griff I like the way you teach you make it easy to understand thank you for your help.
    When will you have your full course on sale again I would like to buy it. I am old and on a fixed income so I need all the bargains I can get.

  • claudio

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    You are awesome Griff !You are a great teacher and these videos are excellent! Thank you so much for spending your time to teach others how to play guitar, sharing your gift with those that can’t afford to buy right now. God bless you and your family. Luke wrote: give and it will be given to you, running over.!

  • Arthur Meister

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Great video ! But no answers video ?

    • Rick Bishop

      Reply Reply October 8, 2014

      The answer video was a little below the main video. I had to scroll down a bit to get it Arthur..

  • Johnc

    Reply Reply October 6, 2014

    Assuming where this is heading, and something that many miss out on, all guitar students need to know to be able to competently and quickly play or compose songs. Fortunately my guitar teacher when I started out went through all this with me and made life so much easier having had to quickly pick up songs in a band environment. Griff is to be congratulated for doing this for us.
    Thanks Griff.

  • Byron A

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Thanks for pointing my Guitar skills (the little i have) in the right direction.
    Thanks for making this old chap HAPPIER :0)

  • Mike R.

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I struggled for years … Always wanting to play and never having the confidence to try. Finally at 40 I made the leap. Finding your videos has been a God send. Things are finally making sense, and I am enjoying what very little I can play. Honestly … Most of it I’ve learned from you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Charlie Montague

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Learning this at the moment Griff great revision thanks.

  • Mickey Owens

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Good refresher, I’m pretty sure I got them all but, when might we see the correct answers to be sure? Thanks Griff.

  • Billy Don

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Griff… Will you be explaining “perfect pitch” verses “relative pitch”?

    You’re the best there ever was…

  • Papa Joe DeMaio

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Thank you for making what was hard, easier……..

  • Gerald Irwin

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I knew the theory, but I can only do it slowly. I need to pracise a lot to get to any speed. Thanks for the exercise.

  • briandunn

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    asusua lGriff you astound me thankyou my friend brian

  • lane

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    not getting the video 2 the answers

  • DeWayne

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    The link sent via email for video 2 links back to video 1, no video 2

  • Krzysztof Chmiel

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Hi Giff ! You are great teacher and guitarist ! Lesson is very useful and will help to understand octave arrangement not only about guitar. Beside guitar I play harmonica what enriches together music sound in harmony. Lately I was in Pilgrimage in Poland Black Madonna where I had played and sung for people also Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” and Vince Gil’s “Go rest high on that Mountain”. People had moved to tears. Thank you so much for your lesson. Take care and God bless you and your music work.
    Warmest regards:
    Krzysztof Chmiel.

  • RC

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    very happy,I am unlearning what I have learned..great refresher,,thx Griff..

  • briandunn

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    ilikedthe exercises Griffthey teach and mak you think ther fret board found them easy as you taufgt me well thankyou brian

  • phil alberts

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Luv all your teaching keep up the great work griff. your friend phil talk at ya later bud.

  • preston

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    After 60 years. I can begin to see the “Tree`s”, in the Forest! Thanks

  • Jim

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I’m getting video 1 again. Please send link to video 2.

  • Hoppy

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I’m a person that learns by seeing it done. Thank you so much. I have never been able to learn by reading it from a book. I did purchase “Blues Guitar Unleashed”, but, so far, I still haven’t benefitted from it. If I see you do it, I pick it up instantly. Loved the video.

  • John Coffman

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Good Morning, I sent you an email yesterday??? I appreciate you and your teaching and look forward to further studies.. Thank You smile

  • Thomas

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Great info. I am a beginner at the age of 54. You are a great teacher! I am learning a lot from you.

  • DeanSr

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    Great explanation of the whole and half steps.
    Where is the Answers video or pdf?
    Look forward to the next lesson.

  • Pat McGreevy

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    As always this is a first class lesson in musical structure and very easy to follow

    Thank you very much


  • Charles

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I have tried to tell this to guitar players for years, and they usually give me a blank look. I like the way you teach this, and I will try to use it the next time I want to show someone how the keys work.
    Another thing I hate to see is a capo used, they already know how to form chords, so why don’t they just move them down the neck and quit trying to play with the help of the capo. To me that is much harder to do and even though I own one, I never use it.

    I really like your method of teaching.

    • Kim

      Reply Reply February 26, 2020

      Hi Charles. I had the same comment with some of the guys I jam with regularly. I used to say “learn the fret board and transpose to the key the singer can sing” or “learn to use barre chords and you won’t need the capo”. I maintain that songs have to be played in the key the singer can sing, but I’ve lightened up on the dislike for the capo. I say this because sometimes you can only get that certain sound by playing a different instance of a chord shape, and it’s often nearly impossible to finger the proper notes in any particular chord when you are higher on the fret board. Or, it’s just less work. I personally rarely use a capo, but I do for a few tunes because of the it helps get the sound I want.

    • Glenn

      Reply Reply June 24, 2021

      Absolutely loved this lesson.

  • Chris

    Reply Reply October 7, 2014

    I’m 49 years old and always waned to play an instrument. My dad played piano/keyboard and did it all by ear, he was great. I just couldn’t pick it up though, and had no idea of what notes were what or where. I’ve always loved the sound of a guitar and to be honest stumbled on to Griffs website by accident and whilst I’m only on to the second lick, I’m picking it up slowly now with Griffs incredible way of teaching. Hell, I even get the notes on a piano now thanks to this lesson ( I always wondered about the black keys).
    Thank you Griff.

  • Tink

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Thanks for the counting or should I say reciting the scale backwards, and all the other things you share. I have been playing on and off since 1965. Thru the last 10 years or so I have regained passion. Unfortunately work still seems to get in the way and procrastining on practicing happens all to frequent, but I keep on plugging. I drive semi back and forth between Syracuse NY and Augusta Maine these days. When I get to Augusta my company puts me up in a motel.point being after watching your videos I promise to start carrying my Tele with my belt pack every trip and hopefully you can help me straighten out all or at least some of the bad habits I’ve accumulated. Thanks again

  • Philip

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    I have been away from guitar playing for many years, and while visiting abroad in Israel, I read and saw the first video. Was very impressed with the explanations, and wanted to share my appreciation. I am now excited to return to learning the guitar. Thanks

  • Dee Dee

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    I can get the hang of it and I usually have a little difficulty with this sort of thing.

  • Yared

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Wow, I love the way you are teaching it!

  • Tianna

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Cant download the videos …pdf was fine

  • leon

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    thank you griff

  • Martin Frankland

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    I am in hospital for chemotherapy at the moment but will use it when I get back home. Thank you so much. Yours sincerely Martin.

  • John Billingsley

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    useful and interesting video. Still learning the fret board and this will help.

  • Josey

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Excellent !! Very well done. Keep it coming.

  • Tre_Louis

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Holy Shnikeys! I can’t believe neither my father(a professional concert clarinetist) or either of my brothers (both accomplished guitarists) could ever explain this to me, but after ~20mins it all makes perfect sense…Thank you Master!

  • Vincent Gonelli

    Reply Reply October 8, 2014

    Griff hello,
    I am not a guitar player however, i have been collecting all your wisdom & expertise for a year & more.
    I can make noise with a Harmonica which satisfies my soul but csn do nothing with a guitar.

    If I can live long enough & get granted the free time, perhaps that may change.

    I hope you dont mind to keep me as a pupil who one day just may manage a noise which will not embarrass me.

    I have not managed to examine every mail you have sent but I file & save what I cannot read & though I am retired, one day, my time will be my own & i will try a guitar again.

    Its educational & therapy for me to learn with a view to playing.

    The foregoing is the reason I did not register for your course not wishing to take up a place which domeone else might benefit from.

    To you & all who tune in

  • Howard Slade

    Reply Reply October 9, 2014

    Great Video Griff. I stumbled on to an explanation of the musical alphabet yesterday on youtube and it really opened up the fretboard for me. Cant wait to see the rest of this little mini course. You are a great teacher and I have learned almost all I know from your videos. Thank you so much. I am a 54 year old beginner and I wasn’t sure if I could learn this or not. Hungry for more….

  • Anthony Bamford

    Reply Reply October 9, 2014

    Hi,Griff. Why is it that I cannot seem to open up the PDF file that has the questions. I click on it and nothing seems to happen, result, I cannot do the tests.

    I must mention that I am 73 years old and not that computer literate.

    What am I doing wrong.


  • Douglas Chew

    Reply Reply October 9, 2014

    BIG THANKS, Griff!

    You have the perfect teaching demeanor and style.

    Doug (ukulele player)
    Oakland, CA

  • Gary Sweeney

    Reply Reply October 10, 2014

    Griff, Happy Birthday first of all. I wish that I had viewed your videos many moons ago, it would have started me out on a more solid path, I’ve always just winged it, for about 43 years. My first instructor told my dad not to waste his money so I lost respect for all instructors, my bad. I’ve never seen this information laid out in such an understandable format. It cleared up and demystified music theory for me, I can’t relate well to books. Hopefully my arthritic fingers will allow me to make use of this new knowledge. Thank you for sharing. May the guitar gods smile down upon you all of your days.

  • Stephen Dyer

    Reply Reply October 10, 2014

    thanks Griffi been playing for about 15 years and I’ve never had a formal first step instruction.I played music in high school a long long time agoand learn to play sheet music. I’ve learned a few songs along the way and I have always thought some bad habits. Looking forward to learning something new and happy birthday.

  • mark

    Reply Reply October 11, 2014

    when I was much younger in 4th grade I learned about scales and octaves and how to read and play music on my Eb
    alto saxaphone.Many years later I bought a beautiful looking and sounding Washburn electric guitar and instruction book that included classical music terminology and timing speed values,most of which I had lost the ability recognize
    and interpret properly.The book was too condensed and confusing so began self teaching by using bar chords and
    playing by ear songs and solos from my favorite classic rock albums.Now I’m hearing from Zakk Wylde,Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and others and became inspired to try and learn some of it.Now I’m trying to decide which Ibanez guitar to buy whithin my budget that has the best variety of tone selections for what I want to play.

  • Anthony Blancett

    Reply Reply October 11, 2014

    Happy Birthday. Practice, practice, study, study, whew! Thanks Griff.

  • Mike Gujda

    Reply Reply October 11, 2014

    Easy to understand, clear instruction. Thanks, Griff.
    (Working on “Blues Guitar” too.)

  • Picknslide

    Reply Reply October 12, 2014

    It’s amazing how each instrument has its’ own language, but all based upon the same set of notes. I played piano with lessons and violin with lessons for many years – played in a jr. philharmonic orchestra. at 14 i picked up a guitar and started to teach myself. Even though I could read music and knew a pile of theory – the guitar theory really doesn’t reveal itself, hence my comment about the different instruments have their own….. So, needless to say, I keep picking up the guitar theory and approaches very slowly over the years. I have to give you credit for presenting this theory the way you do…. fabulous
    Thanks again….. and I understand form the comments that its your BD. So happy BD

  • Mars

    Reply Reply October 13, 2014

    Very helpful thanks so much

  • Bull

    Reply Reply October 14, 2014

    Thank’s Griff , very helpful to all !


    Reply Reply October 29, 2014

    Griff, How do I continue with Lessons 2 thru 5 ??? smile

  • Anitac

    Reply Reply December 19, 2014

    I don’t know how I ran into this site it is so great the way you teach it the way way you help me understand I thought I was dum and studpit I have been trying to learn and piano for years by my sele this time it worked I nerver new new there was any thyphy for music thanks

  • Daryl W.

    Reply Reply March 1, 2016

    Good refresher course. An absolute must to know, reading music. Thanks

  • Mark a Wales uk

    Reply Reply March 1, 2016

    Cheers Griff
    For this lesson on theory I would love to see more lessons on theory I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but the more you know the more you can understand and implement into your playing and composition

  • Marvin

    Reply Reply May 21, 2016

    Everyone should already know this. I can’t believe the number of people on here that didn’t know this. Unbelievable.

    • James Shannon

      Reply Reply September 15, 2016

      Review, review, review. :-). Never hurts anything for those who already know it, and for those not fortunate enough to be on your level, it is a help.

  • Larry

    Reply Reply May 22, 2016

    Where is the link to the answers for the lesson 1

  • BB

    Reply Reply May 22, 2016

    Made very simple and logical .great clarity. This way one cannot forget the lesson . Happy Notes learning .

  • Derek

    Reply Reply May 22, 2016

    For me, it’s easier to simply know where all the notes of the fretboard are and to know where the intervals lie. For example, I know that the root or 1 lies in between a 5 and a 4, etc. Note names come second to that, and the question of half and whole step come a distant third. It’s more important in my opinion to know how many steps for a whole tone and a half tone skip between strings.

    • James Shannon

      Reply Reply September 15, 2016

      Doesn’t this demonstrate exactly that? Seems so to me.

  • James Shannon

    Reply Reply September 15, 2016

    I’ve seen this before from you but it never gets repetitive because reviewing even the most simple basics can always help reinforce you’re skills. I had forgotten how simple these note structures really are. Thanks for putting this lesson up. Peace.

  • R. Hagen

    Reply Reply September 15, 2016

    I had a friend show me about steps on my guitar in 1982 I wasnt till I started studying piano that the correlation betweet frets and keys clicked.. Now I use this process when im teaching someone else basic theory.. I remember asking this “dumb” question about piano.. Why is there sometimes black notes and sometimes not? Then the whole step half step theory came alive to me. I wish I had spent as many years studying my guitar as I did my piano.. But it wasnt an option at the time.. I was needed and jumped in with both feet with no theory but only ear training.. Cause thats how my parents learned and they taught me . Thanks Griff I love your video lessons. Rachel.

  • Mark d.

    Reply Reply March 7, 2018

    Very seldom can I say I completely understand this I accidentally figured it out on my own years ago but didn’t know why. Also played piano when I was 7 can’t remember my teacher ever telling me about the white keys and The Black Keys. It’s so simple really thank you Griff. Everybody that struggling don’t give up never quit keep plugging the light will come on 🙂 Thanks again Griff

  • Stan Welker

    Reply Reply March 7, 2018

    I’m confused as to how this is necessary and how it helps us out ? I’m a slow senior citizen ! lol

  • Phil Marshall

    Reply Reply March 7, 2018

    Great stuff.
    Having previously played piano and am relatively new to the guitar I find I am constantly visualising the piano keyboard when trying to work out the steps and half steps in my head!

  • Clifford W Walker

    Reply Reply March 7, 2018

    Yikes, opening the can of worms to reading music Griff.
    Will the next lesson demonstrates the notes on a musical staff, and the notes and their relative positions on each string, ie- on the nut from low E string to A string is 4 “naturals” or 6 “semi-tones” or a “half octave”, and how to find the same note (1 octave higher or lower) on neighboring strings?

  • bogie

    Reply Reply March 8, 2018

    This lesson brings me back to a great episode of the Simpsons.
    Where Homer forms a barber shop quartet… they call themselves
    The B sharps… most people that joke goes over their heads.
    But for people who studied music theory get the joke..
    B sharp is essentially the note C.

  • John

    Reply Reply March 8, 2018

    Yes these fundamentals are so important, to understanding , self taught mostly till you came along, never herd of accidentall ,I’ve Ben doing these things for years, on keyboards & guitar but never knew what they were called.Thanks for the help Griff .your spot on.

  • Ray

    Reply Reply March 22, 2018

    Griff. This video keeps skipping; starting and stopping even after downloading. You might want to put it on YouTube.

  • Dave

    Reply Reply December 11, 2018

    Great video Griff, and a very intuitive way of laying it out… As you mentioned, a piano keyboard is also a good way to visualise the whole and half-step intervals. As I also play keyboards, thats the way I learnt the intervals game. However, I always found it difficult explaining it to guitar players, who had never really looked at a KB and carried out the translation to the fretboard. ^

    Hey guys, even if you have never played keys (and don’t want too), get ya self down to ya local pawnbrokers and pick up a twenty buck keyboard… even if its just to help with this lesson 🙂

  • Charlie Lambert

    Reply Reply December 12, 2018

    I don’t know if you planned this but a picture paints a thousand words. You mentioned to keep in mind the universe of notes and then you drew an outline around the notes, I couldn’t help but to notice it Looked like an outline of the top view of a brain.
    I really enjoy your videos Griff when ever I get a chance to view them.

  • Robert Cress

    Reply Reply December 12, 2018

    looking forward to next lesson, really simplified for me with your style of breakdown

  • Grant Reid

    Reply Reply December 29, 2018

    I like many others hate theory but you have explained that perfectly, thank you so much Griff!

  • Grant Reid

    Reply Reply December 29, 2018

    you have explained that perfectly, thank you so much Griff!

  • john

    Reply Reply December 31, 2018

    Griff, Stumbled across this and it is probably the most lucid explanation I’ve encountered. Thanks

  • Steven Walton

    Reply Reply January 2, 2019

    Good basic theory lesson. It’s going to drive some people nuts that you didn’t post the answers video that the lesson video mentioned.

  • Bill45

    Reply Reply January 7, 2019

    I took piano lessons for 2 years in grade school. The visual layout of the key board really helps the understanding of the construction of the scales. If you are struggling with this, I would highly recommend getting a picture of the piano keyboard that has the letters written on the white keys. It makes counting whole and half steps a simple task!

  • Michael Chappell

    Reply Reply January 17, 2019

    Hey Griff, I think I have seen this lesson before back in Oct 2015 when you provided us a Guitar Theory Cheat Sheet for both Keys and WS and HS and how it looks in The Major Scale. I have them pinned to the wall in my Music Den for easy reference if I can’t remember at my age of 72 yrs.. Also finding Notes on the Guitar Fret Board you have a great BGU Course (Soloing Without Scales)which I have and on page 27 of the manual of that course are How to find notes on your guitar. I have done one for each of the 12 Notes for easy reference. Having said that I am learning a lot of different songs in different Keys and as someone above has said the composer has often thrown a spanner in the works against the Rule of notes within a specified Key by an Accidental to get the sound for the song…All in All this is a great refresher always.
    Happy New Year for 2019 to you Griff, Laura and family and all BGUers.
    Michael-Sydney-Australia 17th Jan 2019.

  • Kurt Ossenfort

    Reply Reply January 17, 2019

    Why not simply use a piano keyboard for this might be a bit less confusing… just sayin”

  • Jim Fraser

    Reply Reply January 18, 2019

    A bit long winded. Not very many good points made.

  • Mark Dickherber

    Reply Reply March 8, 2019

    Thanks to you Griff & bgu 2.0, I understand completely how the guitar neck works. That wasn’t always the case I played guitar for 40 years it’s only been that way for the last four before that I knew nothing wanted to know but knew nothing none of my guitar friends could tell me how to navigate the fretboard I said there has to be a way to figure this thing out there has to be a system. Happy Days when I found the internet I found Griff Hamlin and bgu 🙂 you should hear me play now Griff I might not be an outstanding blues player but boy am I a lot better than I was four years ago thanks so much one day I’ll get to shake your hand

  • William Tomaselli

    Reply Reply March 15, 2019

    I like to see the list…..

  • Rolf Christophersen

    Reply Reply March 20, 2019

    Hi Griff,
    I want to understand the pentatonic scale of C, D, E, G, and A. C is the root or tonic. What if D is the root or tonic? That is, what if the song’s key is kn D? In order, what notes comprise the pentatonic scale if the tonic is D? Is it D, E, F, A and B? Is the box for each tonic different?
    Thank you for your instructions and video presentations. I’m learning a lot.

  • Stephen Dzienis

    Reply Reply April 4, 2019

    I’ve been playing guitar for 40 years but don’t have a clue as to what l’m doing, I’ve never taken lessons. I’m actually pretty good but everything that I play is my own, I’ve created a bunch of riffs and melodies over the years. My frustration is how limited I am in my ability to play so I’ve decided that it’s time to actually learn how to play. I’ve just begun to watch your videos and have already learned the Pedatonic scale. I picked it up very quickly and am able to play the scale easily. I’m looking forward to learning more from your videos, and expanding my ability to play more. I just wanted to to say thank you for sharing your knowledge of the guitar I am very grateful.

  • This looks like the guitar theory course that I have watched at least 5 or 6 times but I am planning to watch it gain….

  • I notice that the guitar is backwards like up is down and down is up. The root from bottom that is up is 3rd or 4th string which ever one u start on but the top that is low string is backwards as to where the root is…got note fretboard map to better understand the boxes and modes on my guitat…cheap guitar that is…

  • James Holliday

    Reply Reply September 6, 2019

    Grif; really great video, was very helpful. – I”ve never heard “this” explained, whoever first designed the guitar & set-up the fretboard, WHY does the fretboard start with the open E,A,D,G,B,E notes, while a piano keyboard starts with the C note??? – can you briefly explain the musical theory of this ? – Thanks very much, Doc Holliday.

    • Kim

      Reply Reply February 26, 2020

      Hi Doc.
      When Griff gets around to explaining how chords are constructed, you will begin to understand how the chord shapes came to be. You can tune the guitar to many different tuning conventions, but all the chord shapes will change because certain notes make up each chord.
      I’m hoping Griff takes the time to discuss the composition of chords sometime in the future. Judging by the comments in this thread, there are a lot of people who don’t understand why they are doing what they are doing when thy strum. Back when I was beginning, my mentor said to me “put away the guitar for a bit, you need to understand a bit of the structure”, and went on to explain what Griff just did, but also a quick and easy way to understand ho to construct chords, how to determine the key based on the number of sharps or flats, transpose from any key to any other key, and how to instantly understand the probable chord progression when someone says “we are playing this in the key of XX’.
      It takes a bit of time to understand some theory, and some people just hate it, but man, oh, man it is very helpful.
      Keep Strummin’

  • Nacho Moran

    Reply Reply January 3, 2020

    Thank you very much are always very helpful

  • R. George

    Reply Reply February 27, 2020

    To be proficient at moving backwards thru the alphabet in musical whole and half steps.* Invaluable!* Thanks again for zeroing in on the things that are so critical to a smooth understanding of music. At the same time saving us from dissecting these nuggets ourselves while having to trudge through a mound of information,if we were to recognize them at all. Your conscientious efforts are appreciated. THANKS Griff .

  • Robert Deuel

    Reply Reply March 11, 2020

    Hi Griff,
    I also have been with you for a number of years and watch your site daily. I have been playing since 1959 and played music circuits for many years. I just wanted to thank you for all the timely tips and tricks you have shown to us students of music. Most superior players have an ego to match their skills but you are always so down to earth and happy to teach. I was more of a country/jazz/swing musician but your lessons have added a blues flavor to my playing.
    Thanks again and please keep up the good work and by the way, your band is sensational.

  • Ole

    Reply Reply March 16, 2020

    Hi Griff. Thank you for a very instructive lesson. Having played piano in my childhood this is not new to me, and if there is a piano where I teach I use it to explain therory. Half and whole steps, parallel major/minor scales and the difference berween major and mlnor chords become much easier ro understand when demonstrated on the piano. But you have lots of other stuff where I can use your ideas in my own teaching – and performing – so thank you for your services – it’ s great. Ole

  • Mark Belanger

    Reply Reply April 24, 2020

    Love this explanation and did the exercise ….but would love to see the answers video….which I can’t find.

    I’m in between homes right now and hoping I can settle in somewhere soon so I can begin to tackle your lessons…like your no nonsense approach…..

    Where can I find the answer video (for a MAC)

    thanks mark

  • Bruce

    Reply Reply April 25, 2020

    Great lesson Griff.
    Thank you !!

  • Bryan Foster

    Reply Reply May 2, 2020

    Hey Griff, I took your BGU course several years back, and still enjoy the videos you send daily.

    You have definitely helped me improve as a guitarist. You are the best teacher I have seen online.
    I would love to see “your list”!!

    Thanks for all you do.

  • Dave

    Reply Reply May 9, 2020

    For a long time I was a worship leader at several churches. I always had teens in the team and i would always start out the practice session with a question like “how many sharps in the key of E”. Then I would ask “what are they”? The teens loved it, the older folks thought it was stupid. But there was always the need to know what those sharps and flats are especially if I wanted to do a key change on the fly. Nobody ever wanted to play in the key of F# especially the keyboard player!!LOL

  • Philip

    Reply Reply June 13, 2020

    Great stuff Griff.
    I used to play the piano a bit, before I came to the guitar later in life. In my mind’s eye I can see the black and white keys when I’m working out the spacings between notes. I think everybody should start learning keyboard before tackling any other instrument. All the notes are there, laid out in the correct order. Plain to see.

  • Greg

    Reply Reply July 17, 2020

    Which one is a needle pulling thread?

  • Graeham Smith

    Reply Reply October 4, 2020

    Learn the notes backwards like Griff says. The practical value is immense and arguably the most important aspect of the lesson – for me certainly.

  • David Yarber

    Reply Reply January 10, 2021

    Can we use our fingers? 🙂

  • Jenna

    Reply Reply March 2, 2021

    Hi Griff, glad to see you have this music theory site! I already knew this part but I would definitely like to learn more theory as it applies to guitar. Looking forward to more videos.

  • stuart

    Reply Reply March 18, 2021

    great lesson, makes a whole lot of sense and so understandable. #thank you, keep up the good work.

  • Marv Murray

    Reply Reply June 1, 2021

    Amazing as usual Griff. Thx so much

  • Ray "Tumpy" Lewis

    Reply Reply November 8, 2021

    Starting to make sense now. Thanks

  • James Keegan

    Reply Reply April 20, 2022

    What a very informative and essential lesson

  • Jack Flash

    Reply Reply November 19, 2022

    on the guitar up is down and down is up. but why do you say a half step is accidental when you are not playing the note by accident. I have your couse on the subject and it is great but is something I need to go threw again. been threw the course a few times and always find something new…great easy to understand course…for most people

  • Peter Douglass

    Reply Reply February 7, 2023

    Great demo of notes as building blocks of music……..simply very practical to memorize…… as usual Griff!!

  • Chuck Lutter

    Reply Reply February 22, 2023

    Great lesson as usual. The ascending note example is a great way for me to envision the notes and relationships. Thank you. BEST AND PEACE

  • Bruce Jamieson

    Reply Reply May 15, 2023

    PDF was only 3 blank pages with headers???

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