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Guitar Tab: Learn To Play Yankee Doodle With Guitar Tab

Aug 17, 2007
You can learn to play melodies on your guitar even if you do not know sheet music notation. We will instead use easy to learn guitar tab or guitar tablature. Let's learn Yankee Doodle!

Yankee Doodle "Yankee Doodle" is a well-known American song, today sung patriotically. Originally it was a satirical song.

The first verse and refrain goes like this:

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-Riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

What is guitar tab?

We will use guitar tablature so you will not need to read sheet music notation. You will only use the four thinnest strings on the guitar. The string with the highest pitch is called the first string or E-string.

Tablature is a form of musical notation, often with numbers and letters, which tells the player where to place their fingers on the guitar fretboard rather than which pitches to play.

I will use my own type of guitar tab notation today to make sure that the guitar tab is correctly displayed on article sites. On my site you will find many popular melodies with the more common guitar tab staff notation.

The six strings on your guitar is numbered from the one with the highest pitch. This string is called the first string.

Look at this guitar tab notation:

11 12 03

As you can see the numbers are organized in pairs.

The first number in the pair tells you what fret to press down and the second number what string to play.

11 means that you press down the first fret on the first string. 12 that you press down the first fret on the second string. 03 that you play the third open string which means that you pluck the string without pressing down a fret.

Let's start with the first part of the melody with guitar tab:

Yankee Doodle went to town

12 12 32 01 12 01 32

12 tells you to play the first fret on the second string. 01 means that you play the open first string.

This type of guitar tab doesn't indicate the length of the notes. If you sing the lyrics you will better feel how to play the notes.

The names of the four notes you have played are C C D E C E D

How do you play guitar tablature with your left hand?

If you want to use your left hand in a professional way I suggest that you play the guitar tab notes on the first fret with your first finger, the notes on the second fret with your middle finger and the notes on the third fret with your ring finger.

Let's proceed with the next words:

A-Riding on a pony

03 12 12 32 01 12 02

The names of the seven notes are G C C D E C B

How do you play guitar tab with your right hand?

Well, there are many ways to pluck or play the strings with your right hand. The easiest way is to use your right hand thumb. I suggest that you use your right hand thumb and concentrate on your left hand fingerings.

Here is the next lyrics and guitar tablature:

He stuck a feather in his hat

03 12 12 32 01 11 01 32

The names of the tablature notes are G C C D E F E D

And called it macaroni

12 02 03 23 02 12 12

The names of the guitar tab notes: C B G A B C C

Learn to play guitar tablature part 2

Here comes the lyrics and the guitar tab for the refrain:

Yankee Doodle, keep it up

23 02 23 03 23 02 12

Guitar tablature notes: A B A G A B C

Yankee Doodle dandy

03 23 03 34 24 03

Guitar tab notes: G A G F E G

Mind the music and the step

23 02 23 03 23 02 12

Guitar tablature notes: A B A G A B C

And with the girls be handy

23 03 12 02 32 12 12

Guitar tab notes: A G C B D C C

Where can you find more guitar tab?

Now when you understand guitar tablature notation you can find many songs written this way on the internet. Search for guitar tab or guitar tablature. A complete guitar tab staff has six lines representing the six strings.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and guitar tab at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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