How To Read Tablature (Tabs)

To read TAB, you need to imagine that you are looking at your guitar sitting in your lap, with its head and neck to your left, and the sound hole and end at your right. As you look down at your guitar, this is how TAB is played and written. Below is how a G major chord would look then: G (G major) ---3--- 1st string (bottom string, thinnest string) ---0--- 2nd string ---0--- 3rd string ---0--- 4th string ---2--- 5th string ---3--- 6th string (top string, thickest string) The number on the string indicates what fret you should be playing. 0 means open OR unfretted (I'll explain later.) Here are 2 other chords: E (E major) ---0--- ---0--- ---1--- ---2--- ---2--- ---0--- D (D major) ---2--- ---3--- ---2--- ---0--- ---x--- ---x--- Notice that in the D chord there are 2 letter x. This indicates that those two strings (strings 5 and 6) are not played. There are other symbols as well: ---4-s-6--- The s means SLIDE. Strum the string on the 4th fret, then move up to the 6th fret. You can SLIDE down as well, which would look like: ---6-s-4--- ---4-h-6--- The h means HAMMER ON. Strum the string on the 4th fret, then place a different finger on the 6th fret without strumming again. ---6-h-4--- The p means PULL OFF. Before playing a note here, you need one finger on the 4th fret and one on the 6th fret. Play the note on the 6th fret, then quickly release that finger, thus leaving the 4th fret fretted with your other finger.
Using A Capo Many songs require the use of a CAPO like the GIPSY KINGS' "Montaña": (Capo on 2) Intro: Amaj7 D -------------(2)----------------------------------------- -----5------(2)-------3--h--5--p--3--p--2--------3-- 2-----------(2)---------------------------------2----2-- 2-----------(2)--------------------------------------4-- ------------(4)---------------------------------------5-- 5-----------(5)------------------------------------------ F#m E7 Amaj7 -------------------------------4---------------------2---- 2---------2-------------------3---------------------2---- ----------2--------2----------4-------4------------2---- ----------4-------------------2---------------------2----- ----------4------------------------------------------4---- ----------2------------------------------------------5---- Since the capo is on the 2nd fret, it thus means that you play any note on the 2nd fret 'open', that it, unfretted. Note the Amaj7 chord above. When playing it, you are only then be fretting the 6th and 5th strings on the 5th and 4th frets respsectively. Why do I tab this way? € It makes it easier to find a fret. € The chords presented ar compatible to other instruments, including one's voice. € Each fret is ACTUALLY played where it is denoted. There is another school of thought that tabs STARTING at the capo itself. It is primarily used in Flamenco, since music patterns are much the same, except that the key changes.