If you're just beginning guitar lessons, knowing how to read guitar tab is a basic skill. It's easy to learn with this free guitar lesson for beginners. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions on this page. And practice ;-)
The single best reason I can think of for wanting to learn how to read guitar tab is that there are literally tens of thousands of free songs in tab format on the Internet!
Despite this, some music teachers are against guitar tablature (tab). Some of their points are valid, BUT...probably unrealistic. Tabs have been around for centuries. The reason they are useful for the modern day guitarist is that they're simple to read! And to restate the above point, there are thousands of free songs available.Pros and Cons...
Standard music notation's great but it takes at least a few years to get fluent with. Not everyone has had the benefit of music lessons in childhood. Not to mention that on the guitar there are many places on the fretboard where the exact same note can be found.
Musician's Joke: How do you get a guitar player to play softer? Put some music in front of him/her ;-)
Most other instruments don't have this situation. A certain note is found in one place. End of story. With guitar tabs you don't have to think about which "middle c" note to play. It tells you which fret and which string. Great!
The other criticism of tabulature (another spelling) is that it's not musical. Personally, I agree with this. When a highly trained musician sees music notation the tune starts to automatically play in their mind. However, nowadays with the availability of recordings it's not a serious issue.
Here's the first important point to keep in mind. When you use tab to learn songs or licks its extremely important to know what it sounds like.Get a recording of what you are trying to play.
Here's How to Read Tab...
The horizontal lines represent the guitar strings
The numbers on the "strings" tell you which fret to press down on
The notes are played in order from left to right
If notes are "on top" of one another, they are played at the same time
Some TABS have the rhythms included. This is helpful if you can read standard notation and rhythms. If not, listen to the recording
That's it! If you're following the steps above, you should at least be able to find your way around simple examples - like a lot of the ones on this website.
Try Reading This...
Now you know how to read guitar tab. Easy isn't it? I would strongly suggest investigating beginning music theory for more helpful information. Especially counting and reading simple rhythms. Thanks for joining me here at how to read guitar tab. All the best in guitar and Life,
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