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Bert Jansch

Born in Scotland in 1943 Bert Jansch is a folk guitarist probably best known for his work with the group Pentangle.

His style of playing was usually fingerstyle acoustic guitar which was distinguished by his unusual chord voicings, use of extended chords, and his clever use of unusual time signatures. Jansch played a number of instruments including banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, recording, and concertina, as well as, on rare occasions, picking up the electric guitar.

He learned his trade initially in Edinburgh in the early 1960’s before moving to London where his music was heard, covered, and famously copied by some of the leading musicians and bands of the time including Donovan, and Led Zeppelin. In the late 60’s and early 70’s Jansch had a lot of success with Pentangle before the group split up in 1973, to reform again in the early 1980s.

Sadly, Jansch died in 2011, leaving behind a large body of work for his fans to enjoy. He recorded at least 25 albums and toured extensively from the 1960s to the 21st century as well as winning 2 lifetime achievement awards from the BBC, one for his solo work, and one for his work with Pentangle.

Easy Guitar Books

Never a truer word said.  I owned one of these books in the olden days when I was a lad before the internet and all these guitar tabs and I can tell you it was exactly like this.  You kids dont know how easy you have it.

The Worlds Angriest Guitarist

We have all felt like this at some time in our guitar journey but this guy really knows how to express himself.

Awesome Zakk Wylde style guitar lesson

This guy knows how to teach.  A fantastic Zakk Wylde style guitar lesson coupled with some positive words to inspire other guitarists.

Guitar Swing Fail

Unless you are Steve Vai I would recommend not trying the guitar swing. It never works as this guy proves.

Yngwie Malmsteen

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963 Yngwie Malmsteen is the guitarist credited as being the first of the neo-classical rock guitarists popular in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Discovered by Mike Varney of shrapnel records he was flown to the U.S. in 1982 and had brief recording stints with the bands Alcatrazz, and, Steeler before releasing his first solo album, Rising Force, in 1984.

Rising Force won the Guitar Player Magazine’s award for Best Rock Album and was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Instrumental’, achieving #60 on the Billboard album chart. The guitar playing on the album was like nothing that came before. Rapid fire arpeggios, dark sounding harmonic minor scales and modes combining to produce a totally unique, dynamic, and exciting sound.

Malmsteen is famous for his use of Fender Stratocaster guitars and Marshall amplification and has signature series guitars and amplifiers. His guitars have scalloped fretboards and brass nuts to improve playability and sustain.

Malmsteen spawned an almost new style of playing and as such influenced many guitarists to learn theirs scales and improve their technique. His influenced can be heard in a lot of guitarists from the late 80’s and 90’s and continues to this day. He has released a number of studio and live albums and continues recording and touring as a solo artists and also as part of the G3 tour.

Vinne Moore

Vinne Moore was discovered by Mike Varney after playing professional gigs since the age of 12.  His connection with Varney led to him featuring in a Pepsi advert and then releasing the albums Minds Eye and Time Odyssey on Shrapnel Records.  He has since appeared on albums by Alice Copper, Vicious Rumours, and, UFO.  He is currently playing for UFO who released their latest album in 2012.

Moore is known as one of the earliest “Shred” guitar players and his early albums feature a neo classical style utilising fast picking, sweeping, and, some pretty cool acoustic playing.  Check out the track above for a wide selection of Moore’s techniques and also his compositional skills.

Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler was the guitar player and singer in Dire Straits from their beginnings in 1977 to their break up in 1995, selling over 120 million albums worldwide they are one of the worlds most popular recording artists.  Since 1995 Knopfler has had a successful solo career covering a diverse range of musical styles.

Mark Knopfler is left-handed, but plays right-handed, and fingerpicks  instead of using a plectrum. Fingerpicking is usually associated with the acoustic guitar, but Knopfler usually (though not always) plays an electric guitar. He revealed during a French interview that he uses a pick for his rhythm work during recording sessions. He surprised the interviewer by pulling a pick out of his pocket and saying that he usually carries one. He has long favoured Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster style guitars. Fender carries a Mark Knopfler Artist Series Stratocaster. During the 1980s he came to appreciate the tone of the Gibson Les Paul and his original 1958 has been used regularly in the studio and on stage.

3. Finding the notes

Lesson 3- Finding The Notes

Now that we have an understanding of the note names we need to put that into practice on the guitar fretboard. It is important for a guitarist to be able to name the notes on the fretboard.

This is the method that I use and teach.

The Fifth & Sixth Strings

First of all we need to be able to name the notes on the 6th and 5th strings and then we can use patterns of octaves to name other the notes on the guitar. The sixth string is the lowest sounding and usually thickest string closest to the top of the fretboard and the fifth is the next string down.

I use the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th, frets as reference points. The 3rd, 5th, and 7th, because they are natural notes and the frets have dots on them usually and the 10th as it is a natural note. Remember, the 12th fret is the same note as the open string but one octave higher.

Here are the notes. You will have to learn these. There are no shortcuts.

You may find it helps to work in pairs to learn these notes. For example the notes on the third fret are G on the 6th string and C on the 5th string. So 3rd fret = G and C. 5th fret = A and D etc.

Fill in the Gaps

Once you have these notes learned we can fill in the gaps between the whole notes. For example if we need to know the note for the third fret on the E string we know from the diagram above that this is a G. If we need to know the note on the fourth fret on the E String we can start at the nearest natural note which is either G or A and work up or down to the note.

Working up from G using the knowledge from the previous lesson you can see that we have sharpened the note so the note on the fourth fret is a G#. Working down from the A at the fifth fret will give us the answer Ab. We already know that G# and Ab are the same note. We will find out when to use sharp or flat notes in a later lesson.

Be careful to remember that the notes E and F, and B and C have no sharp or flat notes in between them. Therefore the 8th fret on the E(6th) string is the note C and the 8th fret on the A(5th) string is the note F.

Three Down Three To Go

We should know be able to name the notes on three strings on the guitar with a little bit of thought. Why three? Both the 1st and the 6th strings are tuned to E, so if we know the 6th we know the 1st. Cool eh.

Octave Patterns

To find the notes on the remaining strings we will use octave shapes to work back to the the 5th and 6th strings as we now know the notes on these two strings.

Naming Notes on the D (4th) String

If we pick any note on the D string, for example the 7th fret.

Move this note down two frets towards the nut arriving at the fifth fret

Move down two strings, down on the guitar means down in pitch, arriving on the thickest E string

We should now be on the fifth fret on the E String.

Using the fretboard diagram at the top of this page we know this note is an A

The note we are now on is one octave lower than the note we started on, so we know the original note was also an A.

Naming Notes on The G (3rd) String

Very Similar to finding notes on the D string

If we pick any note on the G string, for example the 7th fret,

Move this note down two frets towards the nut arriving at the fifth fret

Move down two strings, down on the guitar means down in pitch, arriving on the A string

We should now be on the fifth fret on the A String.

Using the fretboard diagram at the top of this page we know this note is a D

Again, the note we are on is one octave lower than the original note so we know the original note is also a D.

Naming Notes on the B (2nd) String

Slightly different shape but the same octave principle

If we pick any note on the B string, for example the 5th fret,

Move this note down up frets towards the body arriving at the 7th fret

Move down three strings, down on the guitar means down in pitch, arriving on the A string

We should now be on the 7th fret on the A String.

Using the fretboard diagram at the top of this page we know this note is a E

Remember – The first string is tuned to E so is the same as the sixth string. Happy days.


You should now be able to name any note on the guitar. It takes time and you get quicker at it, trust me. Eventually you may find you don’t have to use this method as you get to know the notes. To practice this just pick any note on the guitar and name it. You could try naming every note on every string on individual frets as well for example name every note on the 5th fret.  Have fun.

Leo Kottke

Blues, Jazz, Folk, Fingerstyle, slide,  syncopation, and much more.  Leo Kottke is a truly innovative and one-off guitarist.  He hasn’t had it easy in his playing career and has had to overcome a number of obstacles along the way.  A partial loss of hearing, and, tendon damage in his right hand resulting in him having to alter his technique.  Leo Kottke is a recognised master of the guitar.

Kottke has focussed on composing and recording instrumental music but has also been known to sing as well.  He has also collaborated with many other artists including.  Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett, Margo Timmins, Mike Gordon, and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, Carla Bley, Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds, Jorma Kaukonen, Kris Kristofferson, Randall Hylton, and many others.