Dwayne's Guitar Lessons

TAB Reading Introduction

To easily read and write music, guitar players use a number system known as tablature (TAB for short). You don’t need TAB to learn guitar from video lessons, but TAB is easy to learn so its worth taking 5 minutes! Guitar TAB is made up of six horizontal lines each representing a guitar string. The thinnest string (high e) is the top line, and the thickest string (low E) is the bottom line, and the notes run in the order EADGBe like so:

strings tab

 

 

   When you view a guitar fretboard head on, the strings are arranged like this:

string names on the fretboard

 

 

 

 

 

So as you can see, the low E string is on the top and the high e string is on the bottom, which seems backwards from the TAB! However, the way TAB is arranged makes sense when viewed from the guitarists’ perspective…

When you hold a guitar and view the strings, you will find that the low E string is closest to your face, and the high e string is furthest away – which is exactly the way guitar TAB is printed, with the low E on the bottom line, and high e string at the top.

When you hold a guitar and view the strings, you will find that the low E string is closest to your face, and the high e string is furthest away – which is exactly the way guitar TAB is printed, with the low E on the bottom line, and high e string at the top.

Reading The Numbers

When a string is played open (which means the fret hand is not touching the strings), it’s represented as o in TAB

strings in open tab

 

 First the open E string is played 3 times. Next, D is played twice, then B is played twice, and open e is played once.

When the fret hand is holding string(s) down, the fret number for that string is displayed on the TAB:

string numbers in tab

 

 The 3rd fret of E is played, followed by the 5th frets of A, then D then A. Next the 5th fret of A and the 7th fret of D are played at the same time, twice in a row. We finish with an Em chord, where all strings are played at the same time.

Conclusion

So in conclusion as you can see, reading sheet music can be a bit tricky.  I have tried to explain it here in a very simple way for you to understand.  If you feel you need any further help in this area pleasefe el free to email me as I may do my best to assist you better.

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Copyright Dwayne Jenkins, 2011