A flat ()
is a sign placed in front of a natural note which lowers the pitch
a half step (1 fret). A lower case B (b) is used to indicate a
flat sign in text documents. There is a half step between E-F
and B-C naturally, so that Fb is the same note as E, and Cb is
the same as B. For now think of these notes by there natural names
only (E and B).
A flat remains in effect for the entire measure, or until it
is canceled by a natural sign ().
Once you cross into the next measure the flat is canceled out.
Flats, sharps and natural signs that temporarily change the pitch
of a note are known as accidentals.
* Note that a courtesy
accidental in parenthesis is often used in the next measure
after a flat of the same letter name is used. This is not necessary
but is often done to avoid confusion.
Q. Hey cyberfret dude... how do I go down
1 fret from an open string (e.g. E down to Eb)?
A. First you have to have a basic understanding
of how the guitar is tuned (see basic tuning) You can't go down
1 fret from and open string, but you can go down 1 fret from the
same note played on a different string. For example when you tune
the 1st string on the guitar, you will play the 5th fret on the
2nd string. The first string open and the 5th fret on the second
string are both E. I you want to play and E flat, just move down
1 fret from the E on the 2nd string.
In the following exercise play the first 2 notes
(A and Ab) with you 4th finger. For all other notes use 1 finger
per fret (1st finger=1st fret, 2nd finger=2nd fret etc...) Be
sure to name the notes to yourself as you play.