Steps On How To Read Guitar Tabs

One of the misconceptions when you’re first learning guitar is that you have to read standard music notation to be able to play anything and that couldn’t be any further from the truth because guitar has a very specific system of notation called tablature. It’s actually quite exact and quite descriptive and it matches the guitar perfectly and that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this lesson how to read tablature.

The Tablature Staff

So first, let’s look at the tablature staff the tablet your staff consists of six lines and conveniently enough. The guitar has six strings. So each of those lines stands for a guitar string, so when you’re looking at a sheet of Tablature and you’re looking at the tablature staff the line on the bottom the line that’s actually closest to you when you hold it is your low E string conveniently. That’s the string that’s closest to you when you hold the guitar. So when you’re looking at that tablet your staff that lowest line is your low E string and then it goes a d g b and then your high e so the high E string is at the very top of the tablet your staff. So that’s just the standard. Laughs itself those lines stand for strings low E at the bottom. Hi E at the top the next thing you’re going to see on tablature is numbers.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

Okay, and those numbers correspond to the Fret that is going to be held down on that specific string. So if you look at the tablature, you’ll see a 3 on that bottom line. That means you’re going to be holding down the third fret on the low E string. That’s what a single note will look like you’ll also run into stacked numbers.

So you might see something like this. If you look at your tab, you’ll see that there is a 3 on the bottom line a 2 on the second line to the bottom and then a zero on that third line to the bottom. So you have 3rd fret of the low E 2nd fret of the A and 0 on the D string. Well, what does that mean? That means those strings are played together. So if you look at the tablature that second example the Three two, zero example that’s going to sound like this. I’m playing the E the A and the D string.

The Frets

I’m fretting them as the numbers indicate on the tablature and voila there. You have it. The last thing you’re going to see in tablature is a big row of numbers generally speaking. That should send up a flag in your brain that says, okay that’s a cord meaning you’re playing usually all six strings are all five strings. If you look at the example in the tablature you have there, you’ll see that the there’s a 3 on the bottom line. A to on the a string open D open G 3rd fret of the B string and then 3rd fret of the high e they’re all stacked on top of one another and that means you’ll play them as such.

Okay, so you’ve got single notes some notes played together all at once and then a full chord. So those are the three most common examples you’re going to run into now I will say this you’re going to see other kind of indicators on there may be some slack. Ash has some letters and things like that. We’ll get to those later. You can absolutely look at a piece of tablet. You’re knowing what you know now and start to put your fingers in the right places and play the right strings and that’s exactly what I want for you so go forth and read tab. This is just one lesson in a series where I’ll take you from zero to guitar player in 30 Days by teaching you for super fun skills. That’ll get you hooked on guitar before you get started.