Reading music for guitar (learning notes names)

I’ve been making a start on learning jazz standards and realised I have pretty much forgotten how to read music. Books such as Jazz Guitar Standards¬†(nice book by the way) contain lead sheets with just staff notation for the basic melody even though there’s tablature for the chord melodies, comps and single-line improvisations.

This post contains some basic information about the notes on the staff for the 6-string guitar in standard tuning.

Notes that fall within the lines of the staff

The notes of the treble clef that fall on the lines can be remembered by the following mnemonic:

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

The notes that fall in the spaces of the staff can be remembered by the following mnemonic:

F A C E

Notes that fall below the staff

Notes that fall above and below the staff utilise ledger lines to extend the staff up or down. Notes that fall on the ledger line below the staff can be remembered as:

F A C

And in the spaces the exclamation egad!:

E G A D

Notes that fall above the staff

The notes above the staff can go a long way up! On a 24 fret instrument that gives you a high E, 2 octaves above the open E string which requires 6 ledger lines! The following examples just go as high as the 12th fret.

Notes that fall on the ledger lines are ace!

A C E

Those that fall in the spaces can be remembered by the following mnemonic:

Go Back Down

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