Chord chart to Stave (Finding the Notes)

To understand this exercise, we first need to know how to read a chord chart.

Transferring notes, chord chart to Stave

You’ll need these worksheets: (worksheet 1 / worksheet 2).


If you’re playing a chord that has six notes, there will be only ever be six note heads to find.

The same note in pitch can be located on 2 frets or more (from different strings) but, there’s only the one placement for that note, on the stave.

The A note on string 5 for example can also be found on string 6 fret 5.

The D note on string 4, can be found on fret 5 string 5 and, fret 10 string 6.

The treble clef

Guitar music is written in the treble clef and it’s important to know where each open string sits on the stave.

Located on a different fret & string, guitars can have the same note in sound in different areas of the fretboard.

This allows guitarists to create alternative chord inversions or order of notes whilst keeping the type of chord the same: majors, minors, 7th, diminished etc..

Even though you can have that same note in sound on different frets from a different string, there’s only the one note head placement.

Interested in learning about the same chord types in different positions? You’ll need to learn about the caged system. for guitar

Memorising note order for the guitar

Firstly, memorise the order of notes without the sharps & flats:


Secondly, memorise the order of notes with the sharps & flats:

A Bb B C C# D Eb E F F# G Ab

Thirdly, learn the names of the open strings & their locations on the stave (worksheet 1 / worksheet 2).

The open strings

To figure out where the note on the stave will be played & which string, we need to back track to the lowest possible note on that string.

If you’re on string A, the lowest possible note on that string is pitch A.

We can then work forward along the music alphabet and up a step & space on the stave in tandem.

We move along each fret as we move along each note.

Locating the open strings

Knowing where the open strings are on the stave will help discover where the fretted notes are located.

Once you feel comfortable locating the open strings on the stave, try finding the open strings as a fretted note but at the same pitch from another string.

(worksheet 1 / worksheet 2).

Musical symbols for guitar notation

When guitar music is written well, fretboard positions are indicated by roman numerals.

Roman numerals dictate where finger one will be. Position VII, for example would dictate that finger 2 will be on fret 8 not fret 7.

Numbers 1-6 in a circle dictates the String to be used

  • C.VIII means = a barre chord in position 8
  • 1/2 C would mean half a barre chord

Grid charts, which fret?

Standard guitars have a maximum of 6 strings. Therefore, you’ll only ever need to find a maximum of 6 notes or fewer. Open strings are also to be be included.

Grid charts have fret numbers which indicate the chord’s position on the guitar’s fretboard.

To be helpful, place the roman numeral to indicate the position of the chord. Remember the roman numeral indicates the position of the first finger but you might not necessarily be using that fret..

Guitar chord chart and stave, how to find the notes.

Ledger Lines & Stave Lines

Each line and space on the musical stave represents the next letter/musical note.

Typically, there are a maximum of 3 ledger lines on either side of the stave (if in standard tuning). An extra ledger line is needed if in Drop D tuning.

Accidentals are either sharp, natural or flat symbols – placed behind the note head which indicates whether to move up or down a fret / semitone. If in writing then it’s written as spoken. F# (for example).

Chords that have either a cluster of sharps or a flats included will depend on the key it is you’re in. The key of E major for instance has Four sharps, F# C# G# & D#.

Transferring from Grid to Stave worksheet

To complete this challenge, purchase the following worksheet Finding the Notes (Grid to Stave).