The Basics of Reading Guitar Tabs


If you are in the process of learning how to play the guitar, nothing can be more exhilarating than getting to know about the intricacies of chords and how they combine to form a rich melody. Even know there will be times when you might feel like giving up, it is important to persevere through your lessons if you want to learn this beautiful musical instrument.

Reading guitar tabs is not an easy job; if it were, then everybody would probably be Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. This is why you must have patience and get yourself involved for the long-term to get results.

Use of guitar tabs

Also known as guitar tablatures, tabs are responsible for breaking down songs by a display of notes about which note to play on what string of the guitar. A tab allows guitarists to skip reading the standard music sheet and create a sound as well as study them carefully. However, the biggest disadvantage of a tab is that it doesn’t show you how to hit a particular note.

On the journey to your understanding of reading guitar tabs, you need to understand what each of the six lines represent individually. The string located at the bottom of the tab denotes the bass E string, which is the thickest string on your guitar.

The string located at the top most position is the thinnest E string. Even though the details might confuse you at first, with time you get the hang of it, and even be able to teach others.

Understanding the tabs

Understanding what the numbers denote comes as a next step in the process of getting to know guitar tabs. Each number on your tab represents a fret on a string that the number is attached to.  If you see the number 1 attached to the second line situated on top of the tab, then you have to play the beginning fret of the B string, which is the second thinnest string situated just above the E string at the bottom.

The number 0 on a tab signifies that a string has to be played open, so if you see a 0 on the top line of a tab, then it is a sign to play the thinnest E string. When you see one single number at the same place on every line of the tab, only pluck on the strings with a strum to hit that note.

As you pick up the skills of reading guitar tabs, you need to keep an eye out on other notations as well. The job of these notations is to give you more information on playing a particular note correctly. This is just a basic intro about guitar tabs, which is intended to touch base on this aspect.

What to keep in mind?

Learning how to read guitar tabs can be complicated in the initial stages, but as soon as you get familiar with the basic ideas, you’ll be able to take your guitar playing skills to the next level. It is always a good idea to start playing with simple songs and progress slowly but consistently through regular practice.

Here’s a video on the basics of guitar tabs, check it out…

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