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Old 01-05-2021, 02:27 PM
Truss_Rod Truss_Rod is offline
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Default Why Is Music For Guitar Presented Upside-Down?

Somethings in music just seem odd. It's kind of silly and not really that big a deal but maybe someone can shed some light as to why it's shown this way.

The first string you hit when you strum a guitar is called the "sixth string" and the last string the "first string"

I know strumming happens in both directions but still, most folks strum downward first, then up.

To further confuse matters, the E string at the top is called the "bottom string" and the string on the bottom is called the "top string"

The graph below depicts the string at the top of the guitar on the bottom, so I reckon this explains why it's called the "bottom" string and the little E is called the "top".

But then it begs the question...
Why are chord graphs shown upside down?

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Old 01-05-2021, 02:31 PM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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Think "pitch" rather than geography.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:36 PM
Truss_Rod Truss_Rod is offline
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OK, I get that. But wouldn't it be easier to read if the graph that shows guitar chords were oriented the same way a guitar is held?

Why upside down?
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:46 PM
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because when we rotate the neck to where we can see the frets to place our fingers, we are looking down.
That’s what a C looks like when i look down at it.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:52 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truss_Rod View Post
OK, I get that. But wouldn't it be easier to read if the graph that shows guitar chords were oriented the same way a guitar is held?

Why upside down?
It's NOT upside down. You need to change your viewpoint to yourself instead of imagining someone else playing.

Looks exactly like what I see if I tilt my fingerboard back towards myself.
And what looks like up and down are nearer and farther from me.

To the extent that you are looking at this like some disembodied observer, I recommend curing yourself of that, as it will make learning much harder.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:54 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truss_Rod View Post


Why are chord graphs shown upside down?

I don't recall ever seeing a chord shown like that. Only ever seen them like this:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-FIT_e5YK2B...chordchart.png
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:32 PM
Truss_Rod Truss_Rod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmcr View Post
I don't recall ever seeing a chord shown like that.
I've seen plenty. The chord shapes in the YouTube link I pasted below are shown in the same upside down format.

INSTANTLY Change The Way You Play Chords (DO THIS!)
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:38 PM
Truss_Rod Truss_Rod is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Currie View Post
It's NOT upside down. You need to change your viewpoint to yourself instead of imagining someone else playing.

Looks exactly like what I see if I tilt my fingerboard back towards myself.
And what looks like up and down are nearer and farther from me.

To the extent that you are looking at this like some disembodied observer, I recommend curing yourself of that, as it will make learning much harder.
I get what you're saying but from MY viewpoint, the first string to be struck when strumming is called the "sixth" string and the last is called the "first" so it still doesn't make much sense to me it's like this.

Last edited by Truss_Rod; 01-05-2021 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:45 PM
stokes1971 stokes1971 is offline
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Ever think that the first guy that printed a chord out had a choice, he flipped a coin and thats what came about and that has become the standard? As someone else has pointed out if I tip my guitar back that is what I see.And many years ago when I began playing I tipped it back like that all the time.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:49 PM
Truss_Rod Truss_Rod is offline
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Originally Posted by stokes1971 View Post
As someone else has pointed out if I tip my guitar back that is what I see.And many years ago when I began playing I tipped it back like that all the time.
Actually to make the fretboard look exactly like it does in the graph I posted, you'd have to do more than just tip your guitar back (as others have pointed out). You'd need to tilt it back 180 degrees until the guitar was upside down.

Last edited by Truss_Rod; 01-05-2021 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:50 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truss_Rod View Post
Actually to make the fretboard look exactly like it does in the graph I posted, you'd have to do more than just tip your guitar back (as others have pointed out). You'd need to tilt it back 180 degrees until the guitar was upside down.
No, think of a dobro player. This is exactly what Jerry Douglas sees when he plays.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:53 PM
Gordon Currie Gordon Currie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truss_Rod View Post
I get what you're saying but from MY viewpoint, the first string to be struck when strumming is called the "sixth" string and the last is called the "first" so it still doesn't make much sense to me it's like this.
Yes, this is somewhat arbitrary, but it has been in use for more than a century, so we just have to live with it.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:10 PM
PeterM PeterM is offline
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I have been wondering that for years and years. My brain is not wired this way, probably took me 3 or 4 years to figure it out.

I heard once that in Italy the do it the other way. Never researched that...
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truss_Rod View Post
Actually to make the fretboard look exactly like it does in the graph I posted, you'd have to do more than just tip your guitar back (as others have pointed out). You'd need to tilt it back 180 degrees until the guitar was upside down.
Seems like this is a significant barrier for you. Perhaps you would prefer learning to read notes on the staff.
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Old 01-05-2021, 05:25 PM
egordon99 egordon99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliff_the_stiff View Post
Seems like this is a significant barrier for you. Perhaps you would prefer learning to read notes on the staff.
And it's not like you are constantly reading chord diagrams, right?

Once you learn the C chord, it shouldn't matter anymore. And so on and so on for other chords. There aren't really that many chord shapes.
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