Little revelation about sharps and flats

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  • The way I instinctively work this out with a guitar in my hand is:

    Start on C (bottom E string). 

    flat keys: go up to the 5 string (F, 1 flat) down 2 frets and back on to the 6 (Bb, 2 flats) and carry on that pattern of up to the fith string, then down 2 frets on the 6th.
    sharp keys: Up 2 frets on to the 5th string (G, 1 sharp), down to the 6th (D. 2 sharps) then repeat the pattern up the fretboard, up 2 on the 5th string and down to the 6th.

    Put it in words and it sounds more complicated, but it couldn't be simpler.  You'll quickly start remembering F is one flat and G is one sharp (if you don't know it already), so you'll always know how to start.

    I’m just on the borders of DTs darling, and I’ve wasted some of my tremendous love for you on a lank redmouthed girl with a reputation like Hell. The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas
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  • vizviz Frets: 6486
    Hello all! An update from me. 

    I decided to get my little idea made out of wood; they just arrived from Japan this morning, and they’re lovely! 

    What do you think?

    https://youtu.be/m9KOuQmNXD0
    Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewarding those who accept it. - Guitartango
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  • bloodandtearsbloodandtears Frets: 886
    edited June 4
    very cool, father's day presents all round??
    My trading feedback

    is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?

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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4871
    Like it - could just learn the circle of 4ths/5ths once and for all of course ;)
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • vizviz Frets: 6486
    Jalapeno said:
    Like it - could just learn the circle of 4ths/5ths once and for all of course ;)
    Of course!
    Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewarding those who accept it. - Guitartango
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  • martmart Frets: 3950
    edited June 4
    So, what key are we playing Stairway in today? Hmm, let me just roll the dice ...
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  • vizviz Frets: 6486
    edited June 4
    mart said:
    So, what key are we playing Stairway in today? Hmm, let me just roll the dice ...
    Haha though that reminds me, I’m going to get some made for minor keys, in a darker wood. Cheers!
    Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewarding those who accept it. - Guitartango
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  • martmart Frets: 3950
    viz said:
    mart said:
    So, what key are we playing Stairway in today? Hmm, let me just roll the dice ...
    Haha though that reminds me, I’m going to get some made for minor keys, in a darker wood. Cheers!
    Love it!
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 541
    Good stuff, that's a new approach.

    The following was the method I found for myself many years ago to see key signatures. I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths, each subsequent fret adds another note to the key in the cycle of fourths (fifths).

    I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths. (Low to high string.)

    F = Bb
    Bb = Bb Eb
    Eb = Bb Eb Ab
    Ab = Bb Eb Ab Db
    Db = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    Gb = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb


    I see the sharps of keys on the fretboard across in fourths backwards (fifths). (High to low string.)

    G = F#
    D = F# C#
    A = F# C# G#
    E = F# C# G# D#
    B = F# C# G# D# A#
    F# = F# C# G# D# A# E#


    So, the flat key signatures go across the fretboard from the Bb at the 6th fret in fourths. The sharp go in reverse from the F# at the 2nd fret in inverted fourths (fifths). See the diagram below.













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  • vizviz Frets: 6486
    edited June 6
    GuyBoden said:
    Good stuff, that's a new approach.

    The following was the method I found for myself many years ago to see key signatures. I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths, each subsequent fret adds another note to the key in the cycle of fourths (fifths).

    I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths. (Low to high string.)

    F = Bb
    Bb = Bb Eb
    Eb = Bb Eb Ab
    Ab = Bb Eb Ab Db
    Db = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    Gb = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb


    I see the sharps of keys on the fretboard across in fourths backwards (fifths). (High to low string.)

    G = F#
    D = F# C#
    A = F# C# G#
    E = F# C# G# D#
    B = F# C# G# D# A#
    F# = F# C# G# D# A# E#


    .













    Nice. For me that’s where the 2 mnemonics come in - father charles goes down and ends (battle) - the C# key missing from your list, and for flats, Battle ends and down goes charles’ (father)
    Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewarding those who accept it. - Guitartango
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  • GuyBodenGuyBoden Frets: 541
    viz said:
    GuyBoden said:
    Good stuff, that's a new approach.

    The following was the method I found for myself many years ago to see key signatures. I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths, each subsequent fret adds another note to the key in the cycle of fourths (fifths).

    I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths. (Low to high string.)

    F = Bb
    Bb = Bb Eb
    Eb = Bb Eb Ab
    Ab = Bb Eb Ab Db
    Db = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    Gb = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb


    I see the sharps of keys on the fretboard across in fourths backwards (fifths). (High to low string.)

    G = F#
    D = F# C#
    A = F# C# G#
    E = F# C# G# D#
    B = F# C# G# D# A#
    F# = F# C# G# D# A# E#


    .













    Nice. For me that’s where the 2 mnemonics come in - father charles goes down and ends (battle) - the C# key missing from your list, and for flats, Battle ends and down goes charles’ (father)

    That's a good rhyme, I'm terrible at reading key signatures that have too many sharps. For Jazz improv, if anything had too many sharps I'd play it in the appropriate flat key.

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  • vizviz Frets: 6486
    GuyBoden said:
    viz said:
    GuyBoden said:
    Good stuff, that's a new approach.

    The following was the method I found for myself many years ago to see key signatures. I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths, each subsequent fret adds another note to the key in the cycle of fourths (fifths).

    I see the flats of keys on the fretboard across in fourths. (Low to high string.)

    F = Bb
    Bb = Bb Eb
    Eb = Bb Eb Ab
    Ab = Bb Eb Ab Db
    Db = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
    Gb = Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb


    I see the sharps of keys on the fretboard across in fourths backwards (fifths). (High to low string.)

    G = F#
    D = F# C#
    A = F# C# G#
    E = F# C# G# D#
    B = F# C# G# D# A#
    F# = F# C# G# D# A# E#


    .













    Nice. For me that’s where the 2 mnemonics come in - father charles goes down and ends (battle) - the C# key missing from your list, and for flats, Battle ends and down goes charles’ (father)

    That's a good rhyme, I'm terrible at reading key signatures that have too many sharps. For Jazz improv, if anything had too many sharps I'd play it in the appropriate flat key.
    Well, the system of keys does that for you, right? Down the right hand side of the co5 the keys G D A E B and F# accumulate sharps to a maximum of 6 (unless you include C# which has a 7th); the one after C# would have to deploy a double-sharp, an F##, but of course you’re well round the left hand side of the c05 by then, on Ab, which has 4 flats. 

    So really there’s very rarely an option to switch a key with too many sharps for an enharmonic flat key, apart from C#, which you’d switch to Db, and even so I’ve never heard anyone ever try to say C# major.

    Unless you’re talking about people saying “play it in G# major” or D# major or A# major or E# major, or oddest of all, B# major!

    A# major for example would have A# B# C## D## E# F## G## and A# - I agree with you, I’d prefer to call that Bb!

    The only time I can think of for wanting to call a key A# for example is in a modulation where say you’re in A and you want to shift up a semitone, then I guess you could call that A# major instead of Bb, but it’s still a bit strange.
    Misogyny ... enforces sexism by punishing those who reject an inferior status for women and rewarding those who accept it. - Guitartango
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