How to read guitar notes - step 4

Note values

The next step is to learn the rhythmical value of the notes. The Whole note is the note that we "compare" all other notes to. For example a note that lasts half as long as the whole note is called a half note. A quarter note lasts 1/4 as long as the whole note and so on.

Note Values

A Rest means that you should be silent for as long as the rest lasts. The rest to the right of the note in the table above has the exact same value as the note to the left of it. So that rest lasts just as long as the note.

Here is an example in 4/4. In 4/4 one measure has place for 4 quarternotes = 1 whole note. Let's fill one measure with a whole note, the next one with half notes and so on, to see how many of each note we can fit in the measures:

Note Values 2

and the same thing with rests:

Rests Values

I hope this makes it a little bit clearer. Finally we will look at some more important symbols.

More symbols

A Triplet is three notes in the place of two. They are called half note triplets, quarter note triplets and so on.


A Dotted note is lengthened by half its value. In this example a dotted quarter note will be 1 and 1/2 quarter notes long.

Dotted Note

Repeat marks indicate that the section in between them shall be repeated one time.

Repeat Marks

Start reading guitar notes!

Now you've learned all you need to know to start reading easy guitar notes! You should really try to practice reading notes on one string at a time. Try to find very easy sheets with maybe 3 notes per song and move on from there. Good luck!

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