1. Understanding Guitar Tab

Lesson 1
Understanding Guitar Tab

One of the very cool things about learning the guitar is that it comes with its own dedicated note transcription method. Unlike the very formal Musical Notation System; where much of your introduction to music is spent, guitar tab very simply puts to paper exactly how & where to play notes. Which in turn means you’ll actually be playing the songs you want from a very early stage.

The basic idea of tab involves 6 horizontal lines each representing an actual string on the guitar; we then write numbers on the lines to represents the frets to be played on you guitar. In order to correctly interrupt & use this system you must remember this 1 most important rule. When we sit and hold our guitar the top string (thickness) is Numbered as the 6th string, the string below that becomes the 5th string and so on till we reach the finally string (thinnest) which is called the 1st string. Although this seems an odd way to look at it, it is the standard.

Below is an indication of how guitar tab might look. Aside from having a number value each string also has an alphabetical assignment, by remembering the silly rhyme associated one should almost never forget your open string letter names.

1st string Easter
2nd string Bunny
3rd string Gets
4th string Donuts
5th string At
6th string Easter

Guitar tab does come with its own set of strange symbols, as you may have already discovered if you’ve ever looked at a piece of music written in guitar tab, so as you progress through the lessons we will uncover the many various symbols found in guitar tab.