Reading Guitar Music

by Alex Y.
(North Carolina)

How can you tell what to play when reading the music sheet. I know how to read music and transfer it to guitar but I just don't get what to play.There are so many ways you can play a note do I'd like to know how you can know which version or like octave of that note to play when reading music.


Hi, Alex--

It does get a bit tricky with guitar, which is why tablature can sometimes be very helpful.

In general, the open "E" on your top string corresponds to the "E" on the top space in treble clef. The open "B" on your second string is the "B" on the 3rd line of the treble clef. "G" (open 3rd string) is the 2nd line treble clef. Open "D" on the 4th string is the D just below the 1st line. Open "A" on the 5th string is the A below middle C in treble clef, and the Open 6th string "E" is the E below middle C in treble clef.

Unfortunately, there is no traditional music notation to tell you where on the guitar to play a certain pitch. You will have to figure that out by finding out which position is easiest to play and sounds the best.

You can find more information at:

Guitar Music Theory


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