Guitar Tabs for Beginners


Click Here for Guitar SuperstarsTabs is short for tablature and is a very popular and simple way of writing guitar music. It does away with the complexity of classical music transcript and provides an easy way to instruct the guitarist which strings to pluck and how they should be fretted. So popular has tabs become as a means of transcribing guitar music that they can be downloaded from the internet for many popular songs. In addition, there are many tab writing and editing software programmes that will easily allow you to write your own tabs. The disadvantage with traditional tabs is they do not tell the guitarist how long a note should last for before the next string is plucked or any qualities of the note such as volume.


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However, variations on classical tabs aim to overcome this. Below are examples of guitar tabs for beginners. 




The above diagram is an example of a classical tab. It is instructing the guitarist to first pluck the B string whilst pushing down on the second fret. Next the guitarist must pluck the D string whilst pushing down on the fourth fret, next the guitarist must pluck the A string whilst pushing down on the first fret and so on. A ‘0’ or no number indicates that the string is plucked open, i.e. not fretted. Some times a tab will have an ‘X’ instead of a number and this is to indicate that the string is not plucked at all. Note in the above diagram the strings are labelled e through to E, (the top E string being ‘e’ and the bottom being ‘E’), but this is often omitted, just implied.  

The above tab shows the fret numbers stacked. This instructs the guitarist to play the strings together, for example in a chord.  




The above tab is an annotation used by some tab writers to indicate how long each note must last for before the next string is plucked. However it can only give a qualitative feel and the best way to know how long a note should last is to read tabs whilst listening to the music. 


Some tab writers will add additional symbols to further indicate the quality of the note. They may vary from author to author and often you’ll find these symbols defined with the tab music. Common tab symbols used include: 



/ : slide up 

\ : slide down 

h : hammer-on 

p : pull-of 

b : bend 

r : release bend 

s : slide 

pm : mute with palm 

t : right hand tap 

v : vibrato 


Guitar tabs for beginners is a great way for the novice to read and write guitar music. 


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 Click Here for Guitar Superstars