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Reading Chord Diagrams | First Chords | Reading Tablature | First Tabs | Mixing it up

Chord diagrams are good for describing notes that should be strummed, but what if we want to describe specific strings that should be played or a technique such as a hammer-on or slide? This is where tablature comes in.

How does it all work[]



Tablature reads from left to right. Each line represents a string on the guitar, and the number represent certain frets. These numbers aren't to be confused with finger numbers - which are only used in chord diagrams. They are quite easy though! All you do is play the string while fretting (placing your finger on the given fret) those particular strings.

e---------------- (thinnest string)
E--3------------- (FATTEST string)

Isn't this quite a bit easier then describing it like this:

Place your finger on the third fret of the 6th string, E.
Play. then place your finger on the second fret of the 5th string.
Play. Now Play the first fret of the 2nd string, and finally play the 2nd string open.

So we have established that tablature can be used to describe particular notes played in a sequence. It can also be used to describe guitar solos and special techniques. Here is a sample.


There are a lot of weird symbols in there. Those go along with a lot of the techniques you will be learning, so we'll get to them later.

What Tablature will and will not tell you[]

Learning Guitar Tablature[]

In order to learn how tablature works, you ought to jump right in. Pick a song you know with a good solo or two and find the tab(short for tablature) on the internet. Then listen to the song and attempt to learn it. You may not be able to play it fast or well but it's gonna take a while to do those things. If your still confused about tablature, look at the comprehensive guide under further reading. This guide features information on topics such as bends, vibratos, etc.

Further reading[]

How to Read Tablature