Figure 1 is a basic G Major scale starting on the sixth string. I’m not going to go into the theory behind the examples today because the point of this first lesson is to just get your fingers moving and introduce you to tablature. Tablature is a notation system that a lot of beginning guitarist(and sometimes experienced ones) use to write out their music. Here is how it works:

TabDiagramCredit: Ramblin Man

The 1st string is the smallest, or skinniest string on the guitar. It’s the one closest to the ground when you are holding the guitar. The 6th string is the biggest, or fattest string, closest to your head. The other lines correspond to strings 5-2 respectively. The symbol above the “3” for pick direction, represents a downstroke, meaning, the direction of travel for your pick should be from the top of the guitar down towards the floor. The reverse of that is the symbol above “5”, meaning upstroke. The small “2” above the downstroke mark is your left hand fingering and corresponds to hand diagram underneath Fig. 1. Therefore, to play the first note in this example, you would fret the 6th string at the 3rd fret with your middle finger and play a down- stroke.

Figure 1Credit: Ramblin Man

Figure 2 is a simple Eddie Van Halen style tapping lick. Tapping is when you use your right hand to “hammer” a string directly on the fretboard, instead of plucking it with a pick.

The first thing you need to do is place your left-hand index finger on the second string at the Fifth fret. This finger will not move for the entire lick. You’re not actually playing anything yet, this is just your anchor. Next, using your right-hand index or middle finger, “hammer” the second string at the 12th fret. This will be the first audible note. To move to the next note, flick your finger off of the fretboard towards the ground after you have hammered the 12th fret. This will make our anchor at the 5th fret sound off.

Lastly, using the fourth finger on your left hand, hammer the second string at the 8th fret. Lift this finger off of the fretboard while you tap the 12th fret again, just don’t forget to keep your first finger anchored on the 5th fret throughout the whole phrase. Repeat as desired!

Figure 2Credit: Ramblin Man