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How to Read Music Notation in Bass Clef for the Bass Guitar

Learn how to read music notation for the bass guitar from musician John Sutton in this online guitar lesson from Howcast.


I wanna talk a little bit about reading bass clef and music notation. We know it's bass clef because of the symbol we see furthest to the left on the diagram. We see that there are notes that alternate names on the spaces and the lines. We can find our lowest A by finding the space right above the lowest line within the staff. Usually, we don't see the note names, we just see dots and empty dots on the lines and in the spaces, and it's up to us to know the names. If you find the middle line, we can find the note D. So, we always know that the middle line is note D, and we can find the other letters by going up, or by going back in the alphabet, from D. So, if we start with middle D, we know that F would be one space, and then one line, above it. So, F is the 2nd highest line on the staff. As the notes go above and below the staff, they continue, they don't stop just within the staff. And you can see that they'll continue with lines and spaces above and below the staff. For example, the high B is in the space that is directly above the staff. It sorts of looks like it's sitting on top of the staff. Then, the C is written with a ledger line through it, and then there are notes that continue above that. The same is true going down, and that's the basis for understanding musical notation in bass clef.

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