Order of flats and sharps

Guitar Tricks Forum > Music Theory > Order of flats and sharps

Itsmesilly

Registered User

Joined: 01/15/09

Posts: 292

Ive seen the circle of 4ths/5ths
ive seen different lists in books and online
ive heard different ways to learn and memorize

is there a better/best way to learn? or is it preference?
the one jazz book I was using has it starting at C than the order of flats from least to most picking up at the sharps most to least....

is there a diffference in which way you memorize them?

and it seems like this is pretty much the place to start as you really need to know the scales to really move onto everything else? I mean even without having the guitar neck in front of you....yes?

Im trying to learn theory....
and everytime I read and get stuck on the forums it comes dwon to not having all the above stuff under my belt solid.

thanks all

#1

Ive seen the circle of 4ths/5ths
ive seen different lists in books and online
ive heard different ways to learn and memorize

is there a better/best way to learn? or is it preference?
the one jazz book I was using has it starting at C than the order of flats from least to most picking up at the sharps most to least....

is there a diffference in which way you memorize them?

and it seems like this is pretty much the place to start as you really need to know the scales to really move onto everything else? I mean even without having the guitar neck in front of you....yes?

Im trying to learn theory....
and everytime I read and get stuck on the forums it comes dwon to not having all the above stuff under my belt solid.

thanks all

shaggy_bonez

Full Access

Joined: 06/28/07

Posts: 14

Memorize

The way I've been taught by music theory prof. and my current guitar instructor were both the same, so I would say this may be the easiest.

b's = BEADGCF

#'s = FCGDAEB


The reason for this is because when writing the key sigs, this is the order you will use for either sharps or flats.

(i.e. Eb major key sig would have the flats starting from left, moving right = Bb - Eb - Ab)

(i.e. D major key sig would be as follows = F# - C#)

Hope this helps even the slightest, man

#2

Memorize

The way I've been taught by music theory prof. and my current guitar instructor were both the same, so I would say this may be the easiest.

b's = BEADGCF

#'s = FCGDAEB


The reason for this is because when writing the key sigs, this is the order you will use for either sharps or flats.

(i.e. Eb major key sig would have the flats starting from left, moving right = Bb - Eb - Ab)

(i.e. D major key sig would be as follows = F# - C#)

Hope this helps even the slightest, man

t.k. gardner

Registered User

Joined: 03/27/09

Posts: 9

Another trick is to notice that in a key signature, the next to last flat is the name of the key

Bb,Eb = Key of Bb Major
Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb,Fb = Cb Major

For sharps, the last sharp in the key signature is 1/2 step down from the key

Key Sig: F# = Gmajor
Key Sig F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E# = F# major

Maybe this will help?

#3

Another trick is to notice that in a key signature, the next to last flat is the name of the key

Bb,Eb = Key of Bb Major
Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb,Cb,Fb = Cb Major

For sharps, the last sharp in the key signature is 1/2 step down from the key

Key Sig: F# = Gmajor
Key Sig F#,C#,G#,D#,A#,E# = F# major

Maybe this will help?

Brad Litton

Registered User

Joined: 03/24/09

Posts: 16

+1, smart answer from a smart man.

#4

+1, smart answer from a smart man.

GraehmeFloyd

Registered User

Joined: 04/03/09

Posts: 3

I find the simplest way to learn the order is to use the sayings:

#'s
------
Father
Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle

b's
-----
Battle
Ends
And
Down
Goes
Charles
Father

It may seem a little juvenile, but it works really well. If you want you could always come up with your own saying for this. To get the notes of a key, you then need to remember the number of sharps or flats in a specific key. I find a the cycle of fifths (specifically the circular diagram) works well for this.

#5

I find the simplest way to learn the order is to use the sayings:

#'s
------
Father
Charles
Goes
Down
And
Ends
Battle

b's
-----
Battle
Ends
And
Down
Goes
Charles
Father

It may seem a little juvenile, but it works really well. If you want you could always come up with your own saying for this. To get the notes of a key, you then need to remember the number of sharps or flats in a specific key. I find a the cycle of fifths (specifically the circular diagram) works well for this.

Ed Jalowiecki

Registered User

Joined: 04/04/09

Posts: 29

Originally Posted by: GraehmeFloyd
I find the simplest way to learn the order is to use the sayings


Ha! I was gonna say something similar, but Graehme beat me to it. Mnemonic devices work extremely well when trying to retain information such as this. At the risk of embarrassing myself, I will share the ones I used way back when (and still remember) with the order of sharps and flats:

Sharps (FCGDAEB): Fat Charlie, Go Down And Eat Breakfast
Flats (BEADGCF): Boys Eat Apple Dumplings Good Charlie Fat (doesn't make as much sense, but it worked nonetheless)

And as a bonus:
Modes of the Major Scale: I Don't Pull Long Monkey Arms London

I guess the more ridiculous, the better it worked for me. Cheers!

#6

Originally Posted by: GraehmeFloyd
I find the simplest way to learn the order is to use the sayings


Ha! I was gonna say something similar, but Graehme beat me to it. Mnemonic devices work extremely well when trying to retain information such as this. At the risk of embarrassing myself, I will share the ones I used way back when (and still remember) with the order of sharps and flats:

Sharps (FCGDAEB): Fat Charlie, Go Down And Eat Breakfast
Flats (BEADGCF): Boys Eat Apple Dumplings Good Charlie Fat (doesn't make as much sense, but it worked nonetheless)

And as a bonus:
Modes of the Major Scale: I Don't Pull Long Monkey Arms London

I guess the more ridiculous, the better it worked for me. Cheers!

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 6509

I cover the circle of 5ths in this tutorial.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=835

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#7

I cover the circle of 5ths in this tutorial.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=835

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

ChristopherSchlegel

Guitar Tricks Instructor

Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 6509

Originally Posted by: rjameszy

I tried posting an image but it did not accept.. Can you post images in GuitarTricks?

Yes. I typically download (or create) any image I want to put in a forum post. Then I select the little image icon from the menu directly above the forum reply text box interface. It looks like a little square with a mountain range & the sun (or maybe the moon?!). Then I can open a path to the image on my computer.

Originally Posted by: rjameszy
Anyway , I created a web page on GoogleSites, check this out if you can.

Thanks! I made a clickable link from your address.

https://sites.google.com/view/jameszy/guitar?authuser=0

I have a tutorial on the Circle of Fifths. I am currently working on an updated version of it! I hope it will be published in the next month or so.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=835

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#8

Originally Posted by: rjameszy

I tried posting an image but it did not accept.. Can you post images in GuitarTricks?

Yes. I typically download (or create) any image I want to put in a forum post. Then I select the little image icon from the menu directly above the forum reply text box interface. It looks like a little square with a mountain range & the sun (or maybe the moon?!). Then I can open a path to the image on my computer.

Originally Posted by: rjameszy
Anyway , I created a web page on GoogleSites, check this out if you can.

Thanks! I made a clickable link from your address.

https://sites.google.com/view/jameszy/guitar?authuser=0

I have a tutorial on the Circle of Fifths. I am currently working on an updated version of it! I hope it will be published in the next month or so.

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=835

Hope that helps!

Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

rjameszy

Full Access

Joined: 12/26/14

Posts: 5

BEAD GCF

Circle of 5ths on Guitar Neck

BEAD GCF

That is all you need to know, And know it backwards is a plus.

It will show you everynote in every position on the fretboard.

See if you can figure this out

https://sites.google.com/view/jameszy/guitar?authuser=0

Jameszy Guitar

#9

BEAD GCF

Circle of 5ths on Guitar Neck

BEAD GCF

That is all you need to know, And know it backwards is a plus.

It will show you everynote in every position on the fretboard.

See if you can figure this out

https://sites.google.com/view/jameszy/guitar?authuser=0

Jameszy Guitar