How To Read Tablature

author: 041892 date: 09/18/2008 category: for beginners
rating: 9.3 / votes: 23 
Tablature is a type of notation fostringed insturments. For guitar, it will show 6 lines representing the 6 strings. The first string(high E)is on the top line, and the 6th string(low E)is on the bottom line. The tuning of each string is to the left of it's line. The numbers on each line represent the fret at which you are to play. You are to play these notes from left to right. Take a look at figure 1: Fig 1
e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------------------------|
D|----------2----------------------------------------------------|
A|------2--------------------------------------------------------|
E|--0------------------------------------------------------------|
If you were to play figure 1, you would play an open E on the 6th string, then a B on the 5th string by playing on the 2nd fret, then play an E on the 4th string by playing on the 2nd fret. If you notice, tablature does not tell you how long to hold each note. Because of this, you have to either know the song or have the standard notation with it. Standard notation is given with most tablature. Chords in tablature looklike the E chord in figure 2. To play the tablature in fig 2, you just strum arr of the strings. Fig 2
e|-----0--------------------------------------|
B|-----0--------------------------------------|
G|-----1--------------------------------------|
D|-----2--------------------------------------|
A|-----2--------------------------------------|
E|-----0--------------------------------------|

Hammer-ons

A hammer-on is played by plucking a note then"hammering-on" another fret. The symbol for a hammer-on is an "h" and the note that you hammer-on is on is the one that follows the "h". look at figure 3 for an example: Fig 3
e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|----------------------7h9--------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

Pull-offs

A pull-off is played by plucking a note then lettiing go of that note and letting one at a lower fret sound. The symbol for a pull-off is a "p". The note that you pluck is the one before the "p". The note after the "p" is the one that will be sounded when you pull off of that note. look at figure 4 for an example: Fig 4
e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------9p7-----------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

Bending, Releasing, And Vibrato

A bend is done when you push or pull a string in order to get a higher sound. The higher pitch is called the "target pitch". The symbol for a bend is a "b" or an "^".the note before the symbol shows the fret you are bending at, and the note after the symbol is the "target pitch". In otuer words, you are trying to get a sound like the note at the fret after the "b". A release is shown by an "r". As you know a release is when a string is already bent and let go of it. The note before the"r" repersents the bent tone or the "target pitch", and the note after it is note you get after you release the bend. Vibrato("~")is simply when you wiggle your finger at a fret to produce a pulsating sound. You will find the "~" symbol after a note that you are to use "vibrato" on. Look at fig 5 for examples of bending, releasing, and vibrato: Fig 5
e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------7b9r7---7~-----------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

Sliding

Slides are shown by a "/" or a "\". A slide up (/) is when you play a note then slide your finger up to the target pitch. A slide down is the same accept you slide down. Look at fig 6: Fig 6
e|---------------------------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------7/9\7--------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------------------------|

Tapping and Dampening

Tapping is symbolized by a "t" amd you would simply tap on the note that follows the "t". Dampening is simbolized by an "x". To execute a dampened note, simply lay your left (or rigth for left-handed players) on the string(s) to be muted. NOTICE: an "x" in a chord chart just means that you don't olay anything on that string.
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