How To Understand Guitar Tabs

author: Jack Bevan date: 08/14/2009 category: for beginners
rating: 8.5 / votes: 31 
Tablature is a system of notation that that graphically represents the strings and frets of the guitar fingerboard. Each note is indicated by placing a number, which indicates the fret or finger position to be picked, on the appropriate string. For example:
|---------------------|----------10----------|----------3----------|-|
|---------------------|----------10----------|----------0----------|-|
|---------------------|----------------------|----------0----------|-|
|----------5----------|----------------------|----------0----------|-|
|---------------------|----------------------|----------2----------|-|
|---------------------|----------------------|----------3----------|-|
The first bar indicates the 4th string, 5th fret. The second bar indicates the 1st string, 10th fret and the 2nd string, 10th fret to be played together. The third bar indicates an open G chord. Dictionary Of Guitar Notation One or two note up bend: Pick the first note, then bend the string to sound up either one or two frets.
|---------------------|                                     
|----------5b7--------|                                      
|---------------------|
|---------------------|
|---------------------|
|---------------------|
One or two note down bend: Pick the first (bent) note, then straighten the string to sound the lower (second) note.
|----------------------|
|----------7b5---------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
Slide and Pick: Pick the lower (first) note, then slide the fret finger up to sound the higher (second) note.
|-----------------------|
|----------5/8----------|
|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|
|-----------------------|
Slide Off: Pick the note, then slide the fret finger down an indefinite number of frets, removing the finger tension at the end of the slide.
|----------------------|
|----------5\----------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
|----------------------|
Hammer-on: Pick the lower (first) note, then hammer-on (tap down) the higher (second) note with another finger. Pick only the first note. These notes are always played on the same string.
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|----------5h7-----------|
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
Pull-off: Place both fret fingers on the two notes to be played. Pick the higher (first) note, then pull-off (raise up) the finger of the higher note while keeping the lower note fretted. Pick Only the first note.
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|----------7p5-------|
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
Vibrato: Pick the string as the fret finger or a tremolo bar rapidly rolls back and forth or bends up and down, making the note sound slightly higher and lower. An exaggerated vibrato can be achieved by rolling the fret finger a greater distance.
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|----------5~--------|
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
|--------------------|
Now that you know what these symbols mean you can try and play this guitar solo i wrote that uses them. By the way brckets () mean the note is to be held/sustained. Rock Guitar Solo
    Em             Em7           D       A                   Em
|e|-------12-11----------------|--------------------------------------|
|B|-15b17-------12-15-14-------|--------------------------------------|
|G|----------------------12-11-|-15~-----12-13-14-(14)-12-------------|
|D|----------------------------|--------------------------14-15p12----|
|A|----------------------------|-----------------------------------14-|
|E|----------------------------|--------------------------------------|

             Em7                 D             A           F#m
|e|----------------------------|----------------------12-|-12b14------|
|B|----------------------------|---7h8-10~-------9h10----|------------|
|G|-14p12----12p10----10----9--|-7-------------9---------|------------|
|D|-------14-------12----12----|-------------------------|------------|
|A|----------------------------|-------------------------|------------|
|E|----------------------------|-------------------------|------------|
       A           B           E             F#m             A
|e|-12-9--------------|------------7-----7-|-9------------------------|
|B|------12-10-14b12--|--------0h5---5/9---|---------10-9----12b14~---|
|G|-------------------|--------------------|--------------11----------|
|D|-------------------|--------------------|--------------------------|
|A|-------------------|--------------------|--------------------------|
|E|-------------------|--------------------|--------------------------|
            E
|e|-10p9-----------------------------------|
|B|------10-------9--9---------------------|
|G|---------9~--9h11-9------9--9-----------|
|D|--------------------11-9h11-9-----------|
|A|------------------------------11-7------|
|E|----------------------------------------|
More Jack Bevan lessons:
+ How To Understand Guitar Tabs. Part 2 Guitar Techniques 12/25/2009
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