Learn Guitar Tab

Learn Guitar Tab

Learn Guitar Tab Basics

Learning guitar tab is really important for all aspiring guitarists. Unless you have a natural ear for pitch or you read standard music notation you will have tab to learn guitar tab.

Despite what people think tab is not a modern invention. Tablature for fretted instruments has been around since the Middle Ages and it was only in the 18th century that standard notation became the preferred method for writing guitar music.

The difficulty of writing standard notation as text and the explosion in popularity of learning guitar informally has led to resurgence in the use of tab and it is now ubiquitous on the internet.

Tab Diagram

Guitar tab is really easy to read. A tab diagram has 6 lines. Each of these lines represents a string on the guitar. Sometimes the name of the string is written beside the lines. This is more common when non standard tunings are used. A basic tab diagram looks like this:

E|———————— (Thinnest String, highest pitch)

B|————————

G|————————

D|————————

A|————————

E|———————— (Thickest String, lowest pitch)

The bottom line represents the lowest string on your guitar. The top line represents the highest string on your guitar.

Open Strings

A ‘0’ on a line indicates that that string should be played open (not fretted). In the example below you would the A string open, followed by the D string open, followed by the G string open.

E|————————

B|————————

G|————0———

D|———0————

A|——0—————

E|—-——————

Fretted Notes

A number on a line indicates that the string should be held at that particular fret. In example below you would hold a Dmajor chord shape and play each of the bottom 3 strings one at a time.

E|——————3—

B|—————2——

G|————3———

D|———-————

A|——-—————

E|—-——————

Chords

When the notes are stacked on top of each other it means you play a chord (all the strings that are tabbed at the same time. The example below shows a D major chord written in tab. Notice the X on the lowest string. This means we mute this string.

E|————3—

B|————2——

G|———-3———

D|———-0———

A|——-—0———

E|—-——X——

Although guitar tab is useful it does have several drawbacks. The biggest problem is the duration of the notes are not shown on tab. Sometimes tabbers attempt to conteract this by spacing notes in their tabs or indicating beats by using / marks above the tab. These methods are not standardised though and in reality you really need to know the song to get the timing correct.

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Comments 5 comments

yojpotter profile image

yojpotter 7 years ago from Iloilo City

I wanted to know how to play the guita but my dad doesn't want me to..so instead I just studied piano...but someday I want to learn how to play the guitar, too..^^


moving101 profile image

moving101 7 years ago

Tabs make it possible for people to pick up a guitar and play within a very short period of time. Great hub, thanks.


GinneyHarris profile image

GinneyHarris 7 years ago

This is great information - my grandson really wants to learn to play the guitar and we've been searching the web for info together.  I'll definitely show him this hub - Thanks!!


Guitar Guy 7 years ago

Thank you so much for this. It is really well explained and easy to understand


efi 6 years ago

i just got started paying guitar,i hope i'll make it with tabs..i really want to learn..i;'ll try hard!!!!:-)

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