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Color Coding on the Guitar

Looking at six monochromatic strings on a similarly colored fretboard can be visually confusing. Just like using a colored paper or highlighter can make words easier to read, adding color for each fret can make the strings easier to see and the frets easier to find. Vinyl strips come in lots of different colors and don't damage the guitar neck if you eventually decide to remove them.

My curricular materials use colors associated with fret, not pitch. This can be used to reinforce fingers, or assist with reading tab. Colors can even replace numbers in tab altogether, further eliminating the need for decoding symbols or relying on working memory. 

Find a specific outline of what colors I use for each fret below.

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To further support literacy with adapted notation, Color Adapted Tab (CAT) combines the colored fret system with a unique system aimed at supporting learnings who find standard notation systems a barrier to playing. I created the CAT font as a means of music literacy for developing guitarists who may not find staff or standard tab notation accessible. Colors are added to each line of tab, rather than fret numbers. For example, the following example demonstrates the 3rd fret of the 2nd string (B):

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Rhythm is denoted by blocks, each one representing one beat. 

This is meant to coincide with the format in which many audio programs represent length of sounds in MIDI bars. It gives a visual representation of how long a note lasts, unlike standard tablature, which often relies of auditory skills.  


The four notes below are each one beat and represent the following on the first string:

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