How to Read Guitar Tablature

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Welcome to How to Read Guitar Tablature, an Adventure Learning Initiative in mentoring and instructing apprentice artists. We hope you enjoy this venturesome pursuit in the simple life of guitar and music.

Music is a language all on its own! Guitar tablature, or tab for short, is really far simpler that it looks. Learning this language will allow you to share in what others have created. And in turn allow you to share your own unique projects in the language of the guitar. There are many adventures in tablature on the web, just waiting for you to explore. Get ready to knock down your creative borders and discover a world of possibility with guitar tablature.

Have you just begun learning how to play a guitar? Learning how to read guitar tablature will really accelerate your learning curve. This page will cover the basics of learning how to read tab, which is all you require to get going!

What is Guitar Tablature?

There is no substitute for the value and experience you gain from working out the guitar composition of a song by ear! However, learning how to read guitar tablature can really expand your horizons on what you can play. And also help out when you get stuck learning a song by ear.

Guitar tablature (Tab for short) is a form of music notation designed specifically with the guitar in mind. Aren't you glad you decided to learn how to play a guitar? Guitar tablature is a graphical representation of the strings of your guitar and the frets on the fretboard. The following diagram clearly illustrates how to read guitar tab:

Each note to be played is indicated by placing a number (which represents the fret number to be played) on the appropriate string. It's as simple as that! Learning guitar tab is great if you would like to learn how to play your favorite songs or even if you are just looking for fresh ideas to put into your own compilation.

As with most other guitar diagrams, tab may seem upside down at first. The thinnest string is at the top of the diagram and the thickest one at the bottom. After a while it becomes natural to read it this way! The only drawback with guitar tab is that it doesn't accurately convey the timing of a song, like traditional sheet music does. But it’s a tiny drawback in comparison to what you get out of it!

There are PLENTY of sites on the WWW where you can download free guitar tabs, like - my personal favorite. Learning how to read guitar tabs will really boost your growth as a musician. Keep at it!

Musically Yours,
Andrew Pittendrigh in association with
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