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  • Notation for Low E

    Posted by Marquita on October 28, 2022 at 9:37 am

    This last month, I’ve been trying to really “get” notation instead of rely solely on TABS. I’ve seen 6th string low E on TABS as open E.

    No problem there. Confusion hit when several notated low E’s were on the 4th line under the staff lines.. and several were placed under the 3rd line under the staff. Which is correct? I’m thinking low E is not on the line but may be counting wrong. Thanks!

    N-lightMike replied 1 year, 5 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • N-lightMike

    October 28, 2022 at 11:38 am

    Hello Marquita;

    So the simple answer is 3rd line. The E2 that we play on the open E string is properly noted as below the 3rd line below the treble clef.

    So, for guitar, the C on the 5th string, 3rd fret, is our “middle C”, which means it’s between the treble clef, or G clef (yeah, that’s actually a G and is centered on the 2nd staff line from the bottom, which is G) and the bass clef, or F clef (yeah, that’s supposed to be an F centered on the 2nd staff line from the top, which is an F).

    So if we start on the center line, a C, then just go backwards, the B is below the line, the A (open 5th string) is on the 2nd line (which is the top line of the bass clef), G is below the 2nd line, F is on the 3rd line, E is below the 3rd line. (D would be on the 4th line, and C would be below the 4th line.)

    So counting backwards, the notes on the bass clef lines would be A, F, D, B, G. Starting at the bottom of the treble clef, the notes on the lines is Every Good Boy Does Fine, and the notes of the bass clef starting from the bottom is Good Boys Do Fine Always.

    Now, here is a link to a similar question.


    I’ve also included a picture from that web page. It shows the treble and bass clefs for the piano. When you put the guitar notes on music notation, you move them up an octave. So the E2, which is our open 6th string, is properly shown 1 half step above the middle of the bass clef. On this picture, which is for piano, that note is called E3.

    I hope this helps.

    MG 😀

    • Cadgirl

      November 6, 2022 at 3:52 am

      Thanks @N-lightMike for the link. Big help in figuring this stuff out.

  • Marquita

    November 3, 2022 at 9:06 am

    Thanks, Mike.

  • albert_d

    November 6, 2022 at 5:45 am

    Good review for me too. Thanks.

  • N-lightMike

    November 6, 2022 at 10:03 am

    @Cadgirl , @Marquita , @albert_d ;

    I’m happy to help. I’m glad this was worth checking out. Standard music notation is worth learning if you haven’t.

    MG 😀

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