Solo Guitar Limits
Playing solo, that is backup chords and melody at the same time, is easy on the piano. Your left hand can be
working base notes and chords in the rhythm section of your piano or keyboard, while your right hand plays the
melody. The separation between your two hands can be multiple octaves. On the guitar your left hand holds all
the notes. The right hand does the picking or strumming to make them sound out. You can play just over two
octaves of notes at the same time, but they are generally in adjacent octaves. There is a way to go beyond the
two octave span by using open string bass notes but it's very limited. On a keyboard it's easy to play two keys
and so two notes next to each other at the same time. On the guitar, as you can only play one note per string,
the notes are separated. This makes the guitar a natural for playing chord accompaniment but it is hard to play
chords and melody at the same time. We  showed you one way to do this on the song "Some Folks Do" with the
bass chord solo. That worked because the range of the song was narrow but you will find that the song
"Careless Love" does not lend itself to an easy guitar solo. That is why in the guitar rock band there is a
division of labor. The lead guitar plays all the melody, the rhythm guitar plays the chords, and the electric bass
plays the bass notes. The only additional instruments you need to complete your band is the drums. Of course
lead and even harmony is also provided by the voices.
Piano Vocal And Guitar
Below is the piano vocal lead sheet. Remember guitar music is written one octave higher than it sounds to put
in all on the treble clef. If you play the lead sheet music as guitar music, you will be playing one octave lower
than the piano pitch. One good thing about that is the guitar pitch exactly matches the male voice which is also
one octave below the treble clef. I prefer working with the piano vocal lead sheets. They give me all the
information I need. Also as a part of the piano vocal arrangement, they are the most common and readily
available form of music. Play the sound samples. The "Piano Lead" sample is the melody on the piano as
sheet. Notice it sounds an octave lower. The "Guitar Lead High" sample Is written an octave higher than the
lead sheet as guitar music but sounds in the same octave as the piano lead. Scroll down the page to the
diagrams that more clearly show this octave difference between music written for guitar and music written for
piano. Go to
Guitar Music to see musical arrangements in both the low and high octave for guitar.
Piano Lead
Guitar Lead Low
Guitar Lead High
Careless Love lead sheet
Guitar Lead
Comparing the treble and bass grand staff to the treble clef guitar staff pictured below, we can clearly see how
guitar music has been moved up an octave to put it all in the treble clef. Looking at the location of middle c on
the guitar fret board diagram, we can see how the melody for "Careless Love" goes way up the neck of the
guitar if we want to play it in the octave above the accompaniment. I have given you the notes on the first two
strings of the guitar up to the 13th fret. You could have figured them out yourself. Make sure you understand
based on whole steps and half steps, why they are where they are. Remember when you get to the 5th fret on
the second string, it is the same note as the open first string. And of course all the notes with the same letter
name, on the second string from there on up, are the same as the notes on the first string. I have given you an
lets start with learning two. Go to  
Guitar Music to see this arrangement in music and tab.
notes on guitar frets
music for piano on bass and treble clef
The picture below shows the notes on all the strings of the guitar up to the 5th fret. When you get to the 5th fret
on the low e, a, d, and b strings and the 4th fret on the g string, the note is the same as the next open string.
From the 5th fret on the notes are the same as notes on the higher strings. I've given you the notes up to fret
13 on the two highest strings of the guitar. Notice how the b string repeats the notes on the high e string. Only
the high e string gives you higher new notes. Notice the location of middle c. Below to the  right we show how
guitar notes are written up an octave on the treble clef staff. Notice that middle c is in the third space for guitar.
Below to the left is the treble and bass clef that we use for piano and keyboard. Notice that middle c is one line
below the treble clef staff or one line above the bass clef staff.
notes for guitar on treble clef staff
Playing Guitar Chords
The fret diagrams for the chords for "Careless Love are pictured below. One way to play the chords is to simply
strum down across the strings, with your guitar pick, your thumb or the backs of your finger nails. You can't play
every chord note at the same time like you do on the piano. The pick is going to hit one note at a time low to
high. But if you strum quickly, it will almost sound like they were all played at once. Another way to play is bass
chord. Play a bass notes with your thumb and then brush down across high strings with the backs of your finger
nails. Unlike the piano, you don't have to jump around to play bass chord on the guitar. Every one of these
chords is in first position on the guitar. You can get all the root and fifth basses just while holding the chord
except for C. For C you just have to move the third finger between the fifth and sixth strings. We play basses in
the 1-5 order for G and C. We play  basses in the 5-1 order for the D7. We use the notes a and b on the fifth
string to go from G7 to C and b and a on the fifth string to go from C to G7. This is called a bass note run. It is
used to avoid playing the same bass note twice in a row. It sounds good too. We will learn to do more of it. Go
Guitar Music to see the bass chord example in music and tab. Listen to sound samples below to hear the
strumming and bass chord examples. I have given you a bass chord without melody to sing or play to.
Strumming With Lead In G
Bass Chord With Lead In G
Bass Chord With No Lead In G
G guitar chord first position
D7 guitar chord first position
C guitar chord first position c bass
C guitar chord first position g bass
G7 guitar chord first position
©2004 - 2005
Careless Love For Guitar
Notes On Guitar
Music For Guitar
Music For Piano
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