understanding guitar tabs

Discussion in 'English Guitar Tabs - Submit or Request' started by esgallindeion, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. esgallindeion

    esgallindeion Minstrel Knight

    This is for all those who cannot understand guitar tabs at all. Its really very simple, at least much simpler than staff notations. But tabs usually don't give u a good idea about timing. In any case it is the most convenient way of sharing on the net.

    1. First of all, there are 6 lines, each representing a string on your guitar.

    E--------------------------------------- (1st string)
    B--------------------------------------- (2nd string)
    G--------------------------------------- (3rd)
    D--------------------------------------- (4th)
    A--------------------------------------- (5th string)
    E--------------------------------------- (6th/last string)

    2. The numbers represent the frest on your fretboard.


    This tab tells you to pluck open strings from the last to the first and then return to the last after which you play the first fret on each string in the order 6 st string - 5th - 4th - 3rd - 2nd - 1st.

    E----------------0--1--------------------- (1st string)
    B-------------1--------3------------------ (2nd string)
    G----------2--------------2--------------- (3rd)
    D-------2--------------------0------------ (4th)
    A----0----------------------------------- (5th string)
    E-0-------------------------------------- (6th/last string)

    This tab tells you to play 6th and 5th string open and then the second fret on 4th and 3rd strings and open 1st string. Then you return playing the 1st fret on 1st string and so on as shown.

    I think thats enough for tonight. I'll continue tommorow with different symbols and other stuff.
  2. Redalert

    Redalert New Member

    Wow....excellent tutorials....keep it up:D :D :D
  3. FinalPhase

    FinalPhase New Member

    Nice tip man...all newbies should c this...:)
  4. scot_hacker

    scot_hacker New Member


    And of course if you see more than one note at once, it's a chord:


    A string is played open if 0 is indicated. So in this example, the lower two strings aren't played "open", they're just skipped.


    Elsewhere on this forum I remember having seen an article on hammer-ons and pulloffs.

    It's rather inconvenient but tabs can indicate timing (maybe not as well as a staff), but anyway:

    W - whole
    H - half
    Q - quarter
    E - 8th
    S - 16th
    . - note dotted

        W    H   H    Q  Q  Q  Q     E
    Timing is VERY rarely used in writing common guitar tab.

    | represents end of a bar, while || represents end of musical piece. Use |: and :| for repeats. If you don't see any fret indicated below a timing, rest that much.

    Timing is useful only when you really want to provide a clear description of the strumming pattern:

        Q  Q  Q    H   Q  Q  Q | Q  Q  Q    H   Q  Q  Q  ||                  
  5. nisha

    nisha New Member

    how do we know which pattern to strum the song ?
  6. mudgalbharat

    mudgalbharat Silence Must be Heard

    How to Denote a chord

    How do I denote an Fmaj chord sliding downto Gmaj chord ( both barre) ?

  7. cool_is_rule

    cool_is_rule Lead Guitarist

    Thanks a lot . It helped me very much . I m a beginer so it was of great use .

    cOoL iS :rule:
  8. jayanth

    jayanth <.: : Call Quits : :.>

    @ Mudgal.. You cannot slide a chord.. Agreeed that in this case its possible.. But thats again not an advised way of playing..
  9. mubz

    mubz New Member

    good job mans keeep itttt upppppp!!
  10. Kobain

    Kobain New Member

    some one enlighten me about how do i start learnin my chords.m doin tabs quite decently..ne songs in chords which would help me as a beginner......sos
  11. rampai

    rampai New Member

    thanks for the great intro. It's really helpful.
    I have a question.

    How to decide which finger to use for which fret?
    Is their any chart for it?

    waiting for the reply :nw:
  12. satan0508

    satan0508 New Member

    hey man i am new to guitars and this one really helped man thankx a lot way to go man
  13. Cirus

    Cirus New Member

    Hello esgallindeion,I'm a newbie and found your post interesting.
    What is a fret and fretboard? Actually I'm learning to play synthesiser.
    It also has tunes and tabs for guitar playing. Where can I find "frets"?
  14. sajid5555

    sajid5555 New Member

    hi guys im actually really new 2 guitar i dont know even know how to hold a guitar can u tell me the not how to hold :A, B, C and more thx
  15. arunav

    arunav New Member

    actually i am a newbie too and this article has proven to be very helpful.according to me the strumming pattern is something which comes from inside.you have to decide how to strum.try listening to more and more guitar based songs.that really hepls in picking up different patterns.rest all is trial and error concept. ;)
  16. prags1309

    prags1309 New Member

    hey me too a newbie ..the post is excellent..help to hang of guitar!! well find bar cords a lil' difficult to hold..any way to practice ??
  17. xulfi

    xulfi New Member

    Ya Hello Prags If U Wanna Practice Bar Chords Just Stretch Ur Fingers As Long As U Can And Strum It For A Time Of 5 Mins
    I Try This Thing At My Home At Jal Lamhey And I Found Out Quite Easy.........
  18. amit84f

    amit84f New Member


    hi....just want to know if there is any thing else to learn about tabs coz i have got some tabs really difficult to understnd :help:
  19. amisha

    amisha New Member

    This is what a tab looks like (or at least how I write them):

    ("Enter Sandman" intro)


    Each string is listed (although to save space, I sometimes cut out strings not used for a riff) The top string here ('e') is the smallest sring on the guitar with the highest note. The bottom string here ('E') is the largest string on the guitar with the lowest note. Both strings happen to be 'E' in regular tuning. So all the other strings fall into place and it looks somewhat like a guitar neck.

    Now, the numbers. The number tells which string and what fret to play.

    Ex 1 Ex 2 Ex 3 Ex 4
    e---- ---- -0- -----------
    B---- -15- -0- -----------
    G---- -14- -1- ----------9
    D---- ---- -2- ----5--9--9
    A--3- ---- -2- -5--5--7--7
    E---- ---- -0- -3--3------

    Ex 1: This example shows "middle C" hold the A string (2nd from the top) at the third fret. Just pick the one string.

    Ex 2: This example shows basically what example 1 did, but with 2 strings. So just play 2 strings. I have no idea why I put this here.

    Ex 3: This example shows an Emajor chord. Hold the A and D strings at the second fret, the G at the first, and the other strings leave open.

    Ex 4: This is an example of power chords. They can be played with either the three notes or just two, it doesn't matter much especially with lots of distortion.

    Terms, Abbreviations, and other useless symbols (in no particular order):

    harm harmonic; hold finger slightly above string and pick it can only be done at specific places on the neck (this takes practice and you should find someone to show you how, beause it's difficult to explain)

    A.H. artificial harmonic; more difficult than a harmonic, you have to mute the string with the thumb on the pick hand after you hit the note (this takes practice... blah blah blah, read above)

    h hammer on; (ie 7h8) fret and pick string at 7th fret, and without picking again "hammer" and hold string at 8th fret

    p pull off; (ie 9p7) fret and pick string at 9th and 7th frets, and without picking again pull finger off 9th fret and let 7th ring

    / slide up; note rises

    \ slide down; guess

    pm.... palm mute; holding the bottom part of your right hand (for right handed players) against the strings near the bridge keeping it from ringing. The dots that follow indicate notes (chords) above are also muted

    ^ bend note; this tells which note (the carrot) and how much the note should be bent (full means a full step higher, half is a half etc.)

    ~~~ tremolo; slightly bend and un-bend note to increase sustain

    x rake; mute strings with fretting hand by not quite fretting a note, but still holding strings

    * who knows, but it'll usually be explained in the tab
  20. chani-xX

    chani-xX New Member

    thanx that was really helpful, i never really understood it before lol :D

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