Objectives: In this chapter, you’ll learn nothing! Other than which book to buy to learn to read music.

There’s no new material in this chapter. It’s a review of what you should have learned in previous chapters. It also provides a ‘chapter pause’ for you to learn to read music using another resource. You’ll return to Chapter 5 once you’ve learned a few basics about reading music.


You should be able to do all of these things now. Use this as a checklist for your proficiency exam.

  • From Chapter 1
    • Name all the notes in the musical alphabet, including both natural notes and enharmonic accidentals
    • Identify which natural notes are a half-step apart
    • State the purpose of ♭ and ♯
    • Identify each guitar string by both letter and number
    • Move your hand up/down strings and the neck
    • Name the note at every fret on every string up to the 17th fret
    • Locate a specific letter name note somewhere on every string
  • From Chapter 2
    • State the formula, in whole steps and half-steps, of the major scale
    • Define scale degrees
    • State between which scale degrees there are half-steps
    • Play any major scale ascending on any string, naming the notes as you do so
    • Play any major scale descending on any string, naming the notes as you do so
    • Improvise over a jam track using a single-string major scale
  • From Chapter 3
    • Differentiate between a scale and a key
    • Define key signature
    • Chart out (on paper) the notes in any scale/key

Reading Music

Here’s the book I currently recommend for learning to read music. I recommend you get the paperback edition rather than a digital copy.
Hal Leonard Guitar Method Book 1 (2nd edition)

There are three levels in this series: Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3. After completing Book 1 you should be ready to continue with Chapter 5 on this web site, in addition to starting Hal Leonard Book 2.