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#2929148 - 05/24/18 07:10 PM How to practice reading notes on guitar
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
I am wondering how other guitarist practice sight-reading on guitar. I am talking about notes, NOT tablature.

I have played different kinds of music, like rock, pop, jazz, even classical guitar music and I can read notes and figure out fingerings, but sight-reading a piece of music smoothly is another thing.

For now, I use the books, pop melodies by Hal Leonard, for sight reading practice. If you have any recommendation, please let me know.

Thank you for your input in advance!
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#2929222 - 05/25/18 06:50 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
I've no recommendation for books other than it's often helpful to read from notations for instruments & styles that one usually doesn't play. Such music generally utilizes diff patterns, thereby expanding the visual patterns one recognizes.

In a more basic way, for beginners it's best to start w/simpler music: chordal arpeggios, scalar melodies, etc & tunes w/simple patterns. The idea being to not jump in the deep end too soon.
Studies have demonstrated that even highly skilled players operate from pattern recognition: of the musical style/genre, the usual note distribution patterns on the staff, etc.
Don't think you'll get to a point of no mistakes or worry abt that.

Note (pun intended) that 3rds are consistently on lines or spaces; 4ths combine notes on line + spaces; etc. Study those patterns...not excessively but insofar as they make yer study easier.

Also play slowly at 1st (kinda obvious).
More importantly (& counter-intuitively), don't stop every time you make a mistake. To do so slows you down, interrupting both yer rhythm & yer actual learning.

It's a slightly diff matter but anytime one practices music I suggest one sing the pitches you play. Nothing will do more to internatize sense of pitch & note recognition, strengthening yer ear...& remember that while reading is a great tool for communicating nothing beats the ability to hear accurately.
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#2929229 - 05/25/18 07:50 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
CEB Online   content
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Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 12835
The challenge is often determining positioning. Especially for stuff not composed for guitar. Some material is positionally notated. A lot of material my classical guitar teacher gave me to do was not. On piano you can play middle C in one position. On guitar you can play it in 5 if playing a guitar with 20 frets.

First step is to work through the piece and determine where it is to be played.

Just because the position is notated doesn't mean it is right. Christopher Parkening's Bach transcriptions from the 70s are insane. His hands were ridiculous and he transcribed pieces in a way only he could do some of the stuff. A friend asked him why he did something once and his reply was 'Because I can' grin


Edited by CEB (05/25/18 07:55 AM)
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#2929230 - 05/25/18 07:54 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
Fred_C Offline
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There are several books available from Amazon.

Simply enter "Sight Reading Guitar" into the Search function and they will all come up.

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#2929508 - 05/26/18 02:39 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi d,

Thank yous so much for your informative comments.
I totally agree that I should be able to hear the music that I am reading. I tend to think of which fret I hold, instead of the sound.

Lately, I had a rehearsal with a violinist. This guy was able to sight read any music. I am talking about concert pieces by Piazzolla and etc. I am hoping to reach that level. I feel like string players are often better reader than guitarists....
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#2929510 - 05/26/18 02:45 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: CEB]
Kenji13 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi CEB, thanks for the comments. Yes, positioning is very important. I guess guitar has so many different fingerings for a passage, and that's why is more challenging to sight read.

I heard from one of friend that a renowned Italian guitar sight read "tango en sky" in tempo. I hope to reach that level!
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#2929512 - 05/26/18 02:46 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Fred_C]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi Fred, thanks for the comments!
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#2929537 - 05/26/18 08:08 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Originally Posted By: Kenji13
Hi d

Hi, yo'self, K13.
Is Kenji your given name or a reference ?
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#2929573 - 05/27/18 06:34 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi d, it is a given name- It's Japanese name!
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#2929590 - 05/27/18 07:52 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
I wondered b/c there are some bands & musical artists, Japanese & otherwise, using that name---as well as manga, etc.

Anywhat, hope ya like it here & stick around !
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#2930423 - 05/31/18 08:36 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
I did not that there was a band named Kenji. I will look into it. Anyways, I am enjoying myself here and hope to learn more!!
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#2930688 - 06/02/18 09:34 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Actually several artists using that name.
Here's a composition by just one
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#2930735 - 06/02/18 04:08 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
OMG, thank you for sharing the video with me!
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#2930743 - 06/02/18 05:54 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
DocPate Offline
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Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 791
Loc: Virginia
Now I'm not a smart man, but the way I finally got my head around notes was to take a scale - say a C major. Play the scale in the first position, C-C beginning on the A string 3d fret and play 2 octaves. Start using a metronome (I started out at 50bpm). Gradually increase up to 120bpm. Then play just the pentatonic Cmaj scale (C, D, E, G, A).

At this point I don't recall if I worked on the minor adaptation of the Cmaj (Amin) or went on to another major scale (Gmaj)
But you get the idea. Just pick a point, begin to master that scale in the first position and then expand to the next position up the neck, or a new scale, or minor scales.

Good luck

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#2930846 - 06/03/18 01:46 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
It's not abt reading & this comment gets a bit off track but I echo what Doc said just above concerning the analysis & practice of scales...at least in one way.

There are all sorts of aspects of music theory (which, BTW, we should always remember, is the after-the-fact explanation for how sounds work together, not the rules for how they should be used).
All sorts of methods for studying scales/modes are available &, beyond that, terminology can vary.
I always found that a bit inconsistent & confusing.

The easiest way to understand all that is in terms of the basic major scale's note positions.
I even advocate not thinking of note names generally but of the scale position as a number: tonic = 1, 2nd = 2, etc.
Then when working w/variants, simply add the b/flat or #/sharp designation where appropriate.
Dim = 1 b3 b5 bb7. Augmented = 1 3 #5.

I think it makes ideas more clear than translating to note names & then back to the position.
Although the names for modes, etc, are handy for discussions when players are schooled in those terms, they're not always.

Again, that's got little to do w/reading, though.
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#2930865 - 06/03/18 03:37 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
Larryz Offline
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Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Kenji13
I am wondering how other guitarist practice sight-reading on guitar. I am talking about notes, NOT tablature.

I have played different kinds of music, like rock, pop, jazz, even classical guitar music and I can read notes and figure out fingerings, but sight-reading a piece of music smoothly is another thing.

For now, I use the books, pop melodies by Hal Leonard, for sight reading practice. If you have any recommendation, please let me know.

Thank you for your input in advance!


This might be of interest:



good luck with it! cool
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#2930892 - 06/03/18 05:37 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Larryz]
DocPate Offline
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Registered: 01/11/16
Posts: 791
Loc: Virginia
Just sayin'... there are many ways to learn the fretboard. Important thing is to play.

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#2931137 - 06/04/18 04:17 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: DocPate]
d Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
The book in the vid Larry linked may be OK (the suggestion to not stop for mistakes when practicing is good) but as far as the fingering for notes, that will likely vary every time you play b/c the notes will be diff contexts & positions.

One aspect of books or any notation is that much music for particular instruments tends to follow patterns.
Studying texts for diff instruments can give you an insight into how those instruments are played or are treated by arrangers.
Taking that idea further, it may be worthwhile to study music selected for it's diff keys or clef ranges.

BTW, brain studies show that many pros don't actually read one note at a time but scan the music & play what their experience has shown them to be expectable.
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#2931164 - 06/04/18 06:44 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Larryz]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi Larryz, Thank you for sharing the video. This books looks interesting I am buying this. I seems this book shows single melody exercises, but I think this still helps me a lot.
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Kenji

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#2931165 - 06/04/18 06:45 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: DocPate]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi DocPate, that is true! I wanted to explore more efficient way to improve the skill. Thanks!
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#2931166 - 06/04/18 06:55 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
Hi D, I see that professional has many sight reading experiences and is able to scan music and play. I guess to do so, I just need to keep reading music!!
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Kenji

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#2931180 - 06/04/18 07:47 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 11028
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Kenji13
Hi Larryz, Thank you for sharing the video. This books looks interesting I am buying this. I seems this book shows single melody exercises, but I think this still helps me a lot.


Hi Keniji, I knew your name was Japanese as I had a friend by that name back in the late 70's when I worked at a winery. Anyway, that book looks interesting to me too, even though I'm not that interested in sight reading. I think the fingering recommendations for each scale would really be beneficial. As Doc pointed out, knowing your scales (major, minor, pentatonic and others) for each key would probably be a big help in sight reading as they would put you in the right register high, middle and low for each zone on the staff that the notes are falling in...anyway, good luck with it and keep us posted on your progress! thu
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#2931206 - 06/05/18 04:16 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Larryz]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5269
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
Sometimes I play a line and name the notes as I'm playing them, and then play the same thing an octave higher or lower, or just in another position, and name the notes.

Doesn't have to be fancy - the idea is to know where the Es and As are, all over the neck. So if I'm reading off a page, I know where to find the notes in different positions. Of course, some lines you have to work on the fingerings, because they weren't originally written for guitar and are somewhat awkward. But that's good learning, too, because you learn different ways to play the same notes.

The idea being to get to where you can just pick up the guitar and play what's written without having to think about it. Not always easy.... LOL

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#2931879 - 06/08/18 01:11 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Eric Iverson]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
An adjunct to Eric's exercise is to octave hop on each note of a line/phrase.
Can sound weird but can also open up new ideas.

Still, exercises for playing technique aren't the same as for reading facility.

Other than what I've already mentioned it might be helpful to dig into a book such as THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC by Dan Levitin.
[see description at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Your_Brain_on_Music]
That's one place I found some of the info posted above.
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#2932418 - 06/12/18 10:09 AM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: d]
Kenji13 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/18
Posts: 18
Loc: NY
The book, THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MUSIC, seemed interesting- I will buy one right now!
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Kenji

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#2932439 - 06/12/18 12:09 PM Re: How to practice reading notes on guitar [Re: Kenji13]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 6645
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Well, that's a good investment but here's a tip: check yer local libraries for a copy to read free !
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