Tabs For Those Just Starting Out

author: pHiLLa date: 10/13/2011 category: for beginners
rating: 9.5 / votes: 29 
Hey guys, So loads of you keep commenting on my first lesson that you're having a hard time reading and understanding tabs. This lesson is especially for you guys Okay lets break it down. You might have noticed on your guitar's neck it's divided with little metal bars. The spaces between those bars are called "frets" (check picture first) Just google "guitar frets" and select images Now most guitars have an average of 21 frets, the first fret is the one closest to the head of your guitar and the last fret the one closest to the sound hole or pickups (if it's electric) on your guitar. Good lets try tabs! first:
e| Thinnest string
B|
G|
D|
A|
E| Thickest string
 
e|--
B|--
G|--
D|--
A|--
E|-1-
Note: you see there are only a few ---- between the numbers. They mean nothing its simply to make your tab look neat or organised. They don't represent anything at all above: that means you play the "thick" top string and your finger will be in the first fret closest to the head of the guitar NOTE - with tabs the numbers represent each fret 1 = first fret 2= second fret 3 = 3rd fret and so on. if the "numbers" are next to each other you play each individually ONE-by-ONE and when they are beneath each other you play them all together "strum" example:
e|-------------------------
B|-------------------------
G|-------------------------
D|-----------------1-2-3-4-
A|---------1-2-3-4---------
E|-1-2-3-4-----------------
Above you will play that 1 fret at a time starting from the thick E string with your index finger at the 1st fret I suggest you then play the 2nd fret with your middle finger, 3rd fret with your ring finger and 4th fret with your pinkie. Then according to the above tab you will then play the exact same thing on your A string and so on NOW
e|-0-0-0-
B|-0-0-0-
G|-0-0-0-
D|-2-2-2-
A|-2-2-2-
E|-0-0-0-
Above now you see there are "numbers" beneath each other what means you play more than 1 string at a time "strum" in this case you will play all your strings starting from your thick E string, all the way down to your thin e string. Note: The "Thick E" is also known as your "Low E" The "Thin E" is also known as your "High e" So about the "other numbers" 5-6-7-8 it simply means you place your finger in that "fret" 5 being the "Fifth fret" 6 being the "sixth fret" most guitars have dots on the neck and they are usually on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th fret (some guitars have more dots) so on your "tab" the 5 means you place your finger on the fifth fret (usually the second dot) on which ever string stated.
e|------------------------------------5-6-7-8-8-7-6-5-------------------------------------
B|-----------------------------5-6-7-8---------------8-7-6-5------------------------------
G|----------------------5-6-7-8-----------------------------8-7-6-5-----------------------
D|---------------5-6-7-8-------------------------------------------8-7-6-5----------------
A|--------5-6-7-8---------------------------------------------------------8-7-6-5---------
E|-5-6-7-8------------------------------------------------------------------------8-7-6-5-
Try this little exercise do get your head into understanding the numbers, NOTE - Most of you might have already noticed on certain tabs there is a "0" now, the 0 means you still play that string but you don't place your finger on any fret on that string. The "0" stands for - 0pen Good, we are not quite out of the woods yet. here are a few symbols you will encounter on your journey to guitar success b = bends / = slide h = hammer on (not hammer time =P ) p = pull-off A bend is easy to execute what you do is you pick a note and play it, then you physically bend the string up or down to match the sound of another fret just like you were picking the other note.
e|-------
B|-------
G|-------
D|---7b8-
A|-------
E|-------
Slide - you play a note, then while it is ringing without taking your finger of the string you slide it up or down the fretboard where ever you want to
e|--------
B|--------
G|---1/12-
D|--------
A|--------
E|--------
hammer on - this is a technique where you produce a sound of another note without picking the string again. So what you do is you play a note let's say the 2nd fret of your "high e", pick the string and while it's ringing quickly press down hard on the 3rd fret of your "high e" string and hold it there. I suggest using your index and middle finger just to get use to it.
e|--2h3-
B|------
G|------
D|------
A|------
E|------
Pull-offs okay what you do here is simple, for the exercise we are going to use the 12th and 10th fret on our D string. so place your index finger on the 10th fret of your D string and your Ring finger on the 12th fret of your D string. Now pick the string and right after you did that take your ring finger of the string (12th fret) as if you were trying to "play" it with your ring finger. It takes some practice but it's easy to get. PATIENCE is the key to the Lamborghini, the more you practice the better you get. Listen to the intro of HIM - Wings Of A butterfly AC/DC - Thunderstruck Those are some great examples of hammer-ons and pull-offs. I hope this may help all you beginner rockers out there thanks for all the positive feedback. please read and rate all my lessons and feel free to ask anything you'd like to know!
More pHiLLa lessons:
+ A Good Start For Beginners. Part 4 For Beginners 06/24/2011
+ A Good Start For Beginners. Part 3 For Beginners 05/03/2011
+ A Good Start For Beginners. Part 2 For Beginners 03/15/2011
+ A Good Start For Beginners For Beginners 03/09/2011
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