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How To Read Guitar Tabs - It's Easier Than You Think

May 27, 2008
If playing the guitar is a desire you've been wanting to take hold of, there are basics to learn in the beginning. After you've spent the time learning all the notes and strings on a guitar, it won't mean you know how to play. There are several factors to take in and grasping the tempo of a song along with being able to flow from one note to another will be just as important.

This is where it all starts by memorizing the six different strings, and then learning how to read tablature. The closest string to you or the "highest" string on the lines is called the "e" strong. It is thinner than any other and since tabs are written in lines, it's the first one on top. As you move your way down the other five strings (B,G,D,A,E), you will notice each one becomes thicker, which the bottom E is the thickest.

Next there will be numbers placed within each line on a tab that needs to be played. Each number represents how you position your fingers on the fret board which is the long wooden shaft of a guitar. These are used to create vibrating lengths by simply pressing down against the fret. If you see the number zero on a guitar tablature, it simply means to play an open string -- i.e. you don't need to put any fingers on the fretboard.

As you become more familiar with how to utilize both hands while playing, you will then begin to implement all the other symbols which will be seen on the tablature. These will allow the music to have a creativity of its own by angling sections throughout the song with various techniques to make it your own masterpiece, especially if you plan to write at some point.

Things like hammer on, pull off, bend string up, release bend, slide up, slide down, vibrato, palm muting, legato slide, and several other terms will be used as you progress. Each have their own signs on a guitar tablature where they can be integrated with the rest of the music. For instance, hammer on addresses you to use the second note to echo the first by "hammering on" the fret board in the designated area.

One of the things that starts confusing a lot of people when they first start trying to learn tab is that they don't understand that tablauture won't show tempo or rhythm. To be sure, this is a drawback to learning songs in this way. But if you're already familiar with it, or can listen to it on a site like iTunes, then this shouldn't really make a difference.

We couldn't actually write an entire book about piecing together guitar tablature and figuring out how to read it. However, there isn't any sense in loading you up with a plethora of information for you to wind up confused. Try one thing at a time, take it slow, and you'll be amazed how easy and fast you will learn how to read tabs. Someday in the near future, we may end up seeing you play on YouTube!
About the Author
This how to read guitar tabs guide is the best one online, hands down. Click on the link to check it out now! Two others worth looking at are this how to read guitar tabs article, and this how to read guitar tabs site on Trailfire.
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