guitar tab also with standard notation

Can anyone tell me how to count the rhythm for this section? In the form 1 & which notes will be the upbeats and downbeats.

  • No connection to the question, but why are two quavers tied (correct) whereas two crotchets appear as is, instead of each being replaced by two tied quavers? The way the music is written, one can't see where the beat is. Feb 6, 2022 at 6:22
  • I not author of this I found this in Rockschool acoustic guitar grade 8 book
    – Beethoqq
    Feb 6, 2022 at 7:04
  • 10
    @No'amNewman That's good standard notation. The two eighth-notes are tied so you can see where the middle of the bar is. That makes the beat clear enough: no need to spilt the quarter notes.
    – PiedPiper
    Feb 6, 2022 at 9:26

3 Answers 3


Instead of thinking downbeats/upbeats, just count the whole bar in 8 rather than 4.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. Play the notes on the emphasised numbers.

The low F♯ is played on 1, and let go on 7.

The tied quavers are there to denote the centre of the bar - which points out that the C♯ is 'pushed'.

Incidentally, the F♯ on my count 2 should be played on fret 7, not 9 as written. Unless the note's supposed to be G.

If you must count 1&2&3&4&, then Aaron's answer works fine!

  • Good point. A related useful technique is to work out the rhythm at a slower tempo (very much slower if necessary) and then speed up gradually. If you employ both techniques, you can switch from counting in 8 to counting in 4 wherever it makes sense for you.
    – phoog
    Feb 6, 2022 at 13:07
  • "supposed to be G#"? Feb 6, 2022 at 18:11
  • 1
    Another good technique is to play all 8 8th notes in the measure first, then replace the quarters or tied eighths. Makes it easier to feel the syncopation
    – nuggethead
    Feb 6, 2022 at 23:49
  • @GregMartin - I guess it's more likely to be an F# to fit with the chord in that bar, but G# could also work. Also guessing the piece is in key A. But there really shouldn't be errors in exam stuff.
    – Tim
    Feb 7, 2022 at 10:09

In the image below, the bright orange count-markers are where the notes occur; the light orange ones are where the note is being held.

note 1: A5 = 1
note 2: F5 = & 2
note 3: C5 = & 3
note 4: E5 = & 4 
note 5: D5 = &

Simultaneously, the F4 is held for 1 & 2 & 3 &, then release for 4 &.

Counts added to OP image

  • Can you please explain how you interpreted 1 & 2 these three beats
    – Beethoqq
    Feb 6, 2022 at 7:00
  • 5
    @Beethoqq there are four beats, not three. Every note is played on the offbeat except for the low F sharp dotted half note at the beginning of the measure.. It's not clear what you don't understand.
    – phoog
    Feb 6, 2022 at 9:55
  • @Beethoqq The first note is an eighth note, which received a half beat — so, the first half of beat 1. The next note is a quarter note, which receives a full beat. That full beat can be thought of as two half beats, so it receives the second half of beat 1 and the first half of beat 2 (& 2).
    – Aaron
    Feb 6, 2022 at 14:44

I'm not sure what exactly is the problem with counting the rhythms, but I'll try to clarify.

First, let's separate the pitches of the voices more clearly. Pitches don't affect counting, so we might as well ignore them.

step 1

There are two separate voices, which have their own rhythms:

2 voices

Let's remove the ties as well, to make it clearer how to count.

ties removed

The higer voice has 2 + 2 = 4 beats, and the lower voice has 3 + 1 = 4 beats.

2+2 and 3+1

Can you count and play that?

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