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Mechanics of Fretting Notes: Lesson 1

 

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The Mechanics of Fretting Notes

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This tutorial explores the mechanics of playing the guitar in more detail; this covers the physical motions required of your arms, hands and fingers.

There are two fundamentally different types of notes on the guitar: open string notes and fretted string notes.

Open string notes are indicated on tablature notation by the number zero "0" on the appropriate string. In this case, make sure to keep your fretting hand clear of the string so you don't mute it. You want to have your hand hovering or arched slightly over the string prepared to play the next note.

Fretted string notes are used far more often than open string notes. Fretted string notes are indicated on tablature notation by any number other than zero! When you play a fretted note, place the very tip of your finger right behind the appropriate fret (as the music notation indicates). It is important to use the tip of your finger. Beginners find their fingers can be tender & occassionally are tempted to use the pads of their fingers. With time (and dedicated practice!) your fingertips will harden with callouses. It takes time, be patient. It is worth it.

From the last knuckle of your finger to the fingertip, arch your finger so it is pointing straight down into the string & fretboard. This will give you the most leverage & power. In addition, your fingertip should be right behind the fret you are playing. Don't place your fingertip on top of the fret! You will get a muted sound right on top of the fret. Also, don't place your finger too far behind the fret. In that case you won't get enough leverage & you will be making it too hard on yourself. Right behind the fret is the best location.