by Jason Steele

Now let’s go back to the open strings on the guitar so you can learn how to fill the gaps between each string. This is the very first step in learning your neck. Take a look at the notes E through A in the piano diagram below:

This represents the two lowest open strings of the guitar, big E and A. Notice the notes that are found in between E and A on the piano as well as the distance between each of the notes.

Finding the notes in between each string of the guitar is quite easy. When you push down the first fret of the big E string, the note that is produced is one 1/2 step higher than that open string. Therefore when pushing the 1st fret of the big E string you are producing an F note. The movement of one fret is equal to1/2 step, so pushing down on the 2nd fret of the big E produces an F#/Gb (one 1/2 step higher than the 1st fret F note). If you move 2 frets away you will have moved one whole step.

Go back to pushing down the 1st fret of the big E string, which makes an F note, and move 2 frets higher to the 3rd fret of the big E string. You have moved one whole step up from F giving you a G note.

Now move another whole step (2 frets) up from G (3rd fret of big E string). You should now be at the 5th fret of the big E string and this fret produces an A. In fact the A note found on the 5th fret of the big E string is the exact same A note that can be made by playing the open A string.

Just to be sure that you are getting this take a look at the diagram below. If you have spent any time with a basic guitar method book (Mel Bay or Hal Leonard) you may already be familiar with these notes and where to find them, but the first part of the diagram will show how all of the open strings relate to piano. The second part maps out the notes on each string up to the 5th fret.

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