How To Benefit Your Guitar Playing From Reading Guitar Tabs

How To Benefit Your Guitar Playing From Reading Guitar Tabs

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to benefit your guitar playing from reading guitar tabs.  The best way to read guitar tabs is to understand what they are & how to benefit from them.

Guitar tabs are a simplified form of sheet music. Let’s just say it’s a type of sheet music for guitar. As for where standard notation (regular type of sheet music) is more general and can be for any instrument.


Reading Guitar Tabs

guitar tabs

With tabs, you use lines and numbers to represent the strings and frets you play. Unlike standard notation where you use symbols to recognize notes.  Tabs are just a simple way for guitar players to read what needs to be played.

As you can see in the picture above, you have 6 horizontal lines.  These represent the six guitar strings.  In addition to that, we see that these lines have numbers on them.  These represent the frets in which we will play on those particular strings.

When numbers are stacked on top of each other as in the first example, this represents a guitar chord with notes played together.  When the numbers are horizontal across the strings, this represents the notes are played individually.


Reading Standard Notation

music notation

When reading standard music notation you use only five lines.  These are staff lines that are written horizontally across the page.  Since this type of music notation is good for any instrument, the sixth line is not needed.

In addition, numbers are not used.  Instead, symbols are used to represent notes.  Notes that can be played on any instrument.  Even guitar.  Also, you can see that these symbols are written on the lines and between them.

This is different than guitar tabs.  In tabs, numbers are only written on the lines because of the guitar strings they are being played on.  Guitar tabs are designed specifically for guitar players.  Kind of like our own language.  Where standard music notation is written for any instrument.


Music Notation Comparison

music notation and guitar tab

As you can see from the picture above.  The two types of music notations are very similar.  On the top, we have standard notation, and on the bottom, we have guitar tabs.   The guitar tab is almost the same thing.  Just written in a way that relates to guitar playing.  With numbers instead of symbols.

This makes learning to play the guitar easier.  It also allows you to enhance your guitar playing and musicianship by learning this very simple music language.  Learning to read guitar tabs gives you insight that you would otherwise not get.


Develop A Better Understanding

develop a better understanding

To be a good guitar player or musician in general you must take the time to develop skillsets.  And developing a better understanding of reading guitar tabs is one of them.  To help you get started, be sure to check out one of the books that I have authored on playing guitar

No matter what level you are at in your guitar playing, one of my books can help.  Written in a very simple and easy-to-understand step-by-step method.


Learn To Read And Write

read and write

Once you can read guitar tabs, then you learn to write them.  This is where one of the true benefits comes into your playing.   Reading and writing a new sacred language.  This is what makes guitar tabs great training tools.

Once you understand how they work when you’re reading them (say in a song) you’ll gain insight. Then if you take the next step in actually writing them, you’ll fully understand how things in music are put together. And that’s when the fun really starts.


Learning Guitar By Ear

learn guitar by ear

Playing by ear is great.  This is the way most guitar players approach the instrument.  You listen to music notes and then try to reproduce them on your guitar.

This is also a great skill to develop.  And not one to be overlooked.  But if you learn to read and write the written word (sheet music) it will give you a leg up on the competition as they call it.  It will allow you to figure things out in music faster.


Develop Patience


Just like all things we learn in life, we must develop patience.  Especially when it comes to learning to read guitar tabs.  Although they are simple, they are like learning another language.  Once you do, a whole new world will open up to you. You’ll understand things most guitar players who only learn by ear won’t.

Just start slow and take your time. Find a simple song you like and look up the tabs on it.  If it’s a popular song, there are probably guitar tabs written on it.

Since we live in the age of the internet, this can be found quite easily.  Just Google the song title with tabs and see what comes up. You might be amazed at how easy it is once you get the hang of it.


Lesson Conclusion

It won’t come overnight, but if you work at it daily, you will see some nice positive results.  And your guitar playing will soar.  You’ll find yourself wanting to learn more and more with your newfound skillset.  Reading guitar tabs.

And if more help is needed getting started, be sure to grab one of my guitar method books.

Dwayne Jenkins Method Books

All these books are written with guitar tabs for easier learning.  That way you can get fast results with easy step-by-step lessons and have fun in the process.

And if additional help is needed, feel free to drop me an email, or reach out to me on Facebook.    I also teach in-person and online lessons.  So no matter where you are in the world, we can connect and excel you in your learning.

In addition to all that, I have video lessons on my YouTube channel that can also help you out with your learning.  So be sure to take advantage of all the resources available, and you’ll be having fun playing guitar in no time.

Best of luck and take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins Guitar Teacher

Dwayne’s Guitar Lessons.