Tablature Explained

One thing that people have asked me for years is if I can read sheet music. The answer is barely. I can read the basic of sheet music that you would see in old church hymns or something in that nature. What I can read though, are guitar tabs. Guitar tablature is kind of an easier version of sheet music. If you can read guitar tab, then you can play just about anything. So for this week, I will be teaching you guys how to read it.

I found this neat little diagram online. I will explain it one step at a time.108-TAB-example  To begin, the 6 lines that stretch across the page represent your strings. The thickest string, which is at the bottom, is your low E string. Then A, D, G, B, and your thinnest string at the top is you high e string. It is almost like taking the guitar neck, and pointing it up towards you and looking down on it. This is what it would look like.

From there you will see multiple numbers across the tab. Each number represents the fret on the guitar that you will play. So whatever number lands on which ever string, that is what you play. If the string has a “0” then you play the string open. If the numbers are aligned along different strings at the same time, then you play all of those notes at once. You would most likely see that in chords and power notes.

The final step is to read each numbers from left to right. Some tab charts have the actual time signature to give you a beat, but in reality, if you know the song, you really don’t need this.

The awesome thing about guitar tabs is that they are world known. There are tons of websites that have guitar tabs on about any song that you can think of. My personal favorite is If you have the chance, you should check it out sometime. They have some very accurate tabs, and it is where I got started at. They also have a mobile app as well.

I feel like, as a guitarist, it is essential for all beginners to learn this. If it wasn’t for tabs, I would have never got to where I am! I hope this weeks post advances your skills as a guitarist, and I hope you find the information useful in your journey to be an awesome musician!


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