Mike Moxcey ©2005

Naming the Notes on the Instrument

Now you’ve got everything you need to know to name the notes on your instrument.

You start with an open (unfretted) string and call it the name of the note it is tuned to.

For example, the 3d string of the guitar, banjo, and dobro is a G string. The 4th pair of (or 7th and 8th) strings of the mandolin are G strings, too.

As you fret a string, you move up one note on the chromatic scale.
The 1st fret of the G string is G#
The 2nd fret of the G string is A
The 3rd fret of the G string is A# (and so on and so forth)

If you start on the D string, then
the 1st fret is D#, the 2nd is E, the 3rd is F, and so on and so forth.
The 12th fret is same name as the open string (G or D in the previous examples) because you’ve covered the entire scale. This note is also called the Octave.

Now you know everything you need to know in order to translate music notes from a melody line to your instrument. Of course, if you want to read music to a song you don’t know, you’ve also got to understand a little bit about its timing.
Reading Music Index