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How to read Guitar tabs

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

If you're interested in learning how to play the guitar or simply wish to know how to play a few of your favorite songs, there is perhaps no easier way to get your fingers on those strings than to begin with tablatures. This article will attempt to provide a basic understanding of "tabs".

To understand how to read tablatures or "tabs", You must first have a basic understanding of your guitar. Holding it in playing position, The closest string to you is the low E string or "6". The next will be the A string or "5". Then D or "4". Then G or "3". Then B or "2" and finally the high E string or "1". The included Example image does a beautiful job of illustrating this.

Tab Example

Think of tabs as a flat guitar neck and the numbers on the "strings" as fret numbers. While at first it may look complicated, It is really quite simple if you think of it in this way. 

In this next example image, I will explain what i mean.

Guitar tab

Thinking of the Tab as a guitar neck, The lines become strings and the numbers on the "strings" become frets. In the above Tab, the first note is the 5th fret on the low E. Following, We have the 3rd fret on the low E and back to the 5th fret. Then 3rd fret on the A string and then to the 5th fret on the same string. Going up one string to the D, we play on the 2nd fret and then the fifth. We end on the 2nd fret of the G.

Pull offs are usually labeled "po" on the tab and hammer ons are usually labeled as "ho", Slides are slashes like this "/"

That's really all there is to it. You simply need to practice until you become proficient at reading the tablatures quickly, However if you're serious about playing the guitar I would recommend learning to read music. 

For now, Take your newly found knowledge and play some awesome music!


Tab Example




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