Guitar tab is a method of getting guitar music on paper without having to read music. The advantage of tab is it is relatively easy to learn and you can be learning songs very soon after learning to read it. The disadvantage is tab has no rhythm notation so can be tricky to learn songs you are not familiar with.
The horizontal lines represent the six strings on the guitar. The thickest E string is at the bottom up to the thinnest E string at the top. You read tab from left to right so the first three notes in the above example would be played one at a time.
The numbers on the lines tell you which fret to play. The first note you would play on the above example is the 3rd fret on the A String.
A zero represents an open string, so the second note on the above example is an open D string. The third note would be the second fret on the G string.
When the notes are stacked on top of each other like at the end of the above example this means you play the notes at the same time. Hopefully if you play the last stack of notes together you should end up with an A Major chord.
There are many more symbols associated with tab but we will learn these as we go along.
A chord is a group of notes played together to create a certain type of sound. The type of sound the chord makes depends upon the notes used in the chord. There are many diferent types of chord with Major and Minor chords being the most common. When you learn a new chord listen carefully to the sound and mood it creates. The following chord is a D Major.
The horizontal lines on the diagram represent the frets with the double one at the top being the nut. The vertical lines represent the strings with the thickest on the left. The black dots tell you where to put your fingers and the numbers next to them tell you which finger to use. An “X” next to a string means dont play it and an “O” next to a string means pluck the string without fretting any notes, this is called an open string.
When playing chords first of all make sure you are only plucking the strings you should be doing. Then pluck the strings one at a time starting with the thickest and make sure each note rings out clearly with no unwanted buzzing or muting. If the chord isn’t sounding right you will have to adjust your fingers and sometimes press a little bit harder. Check your fingers are only on the string they should be and are not resting on the fret wire. When you are happy the chord is correct it is time to strum the chord. Strumming means playing all the notes at virtually the same time plucking the strums using a downward sweeping motion.
Next: Beginners Chords