#1
sooo I'm 15 and new to this guitar tab thing... First off, sorry if this isn't in the right section of forum discussion pages, I didn't know where to put it.

My question is, how do I read this:
e|-------
B|---0-
G|---x-
D|---x-
A|--x-
E|-0-

basically, it's palm muted in the middle, but played open strings on the sides. Another occurence would be here:
e|----x--
B|---3-
G|---2-
D|---0-
A|---x-
E|--x-

also, how would I play this? It's been confuising me for a while, and I've been just playing the notes and not palm muting, but due to curiosity, what would be the way to read AND play this on my guitar?

Thanks!!!

-LukeS
I_M_3rd

p.s. to rephrase my question, would this be palm muted while played, or just ignored?
#2
X doesn't mean palm muting. It means muting with your fretting hand.

But in this case I think it just means those strings shouldn't ring at all. It matters if you strum with a pick. But if you pick with your fingers, you can pick individual strings without really needing to worry about muting the other strings that much.

Especially in the second example that's what it means. You just need to make sure you are only playing the tabbed notes, and don't let any other note ring out. But that should be pretty obvious when reading a tab - only play the notes that the tab tells you to play. I think those mutes are unnecessary.
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#3
Palm muting is usually marked with a p or pm under the tab. An x like that usually means you're muting with your left hand. They're more common in chords where there is just one or two stings that need to be muted that are in between strings that need to be played. A good example would be something like this:

e|--
b|-3
g|-4
d|-4
a|-x
e|-3


Where you would have your pointer on the 3rd fret E string, but laying flat enough to mute the A, but not press it down. Then your ring and pinky on the D and G strings and your middle on the B string. In this chord it would be good practice to go ahead and mute the high E with the side of your pointer as well, but most people wouldn't write the X on it because it's not important in the way it's being played.

It's also really common to see only Xs stacked and in that case you just lay your left hand flat on the strings and strum to get a clicky percussive noise, like in the beginning riff of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

You'll also see this mixed with actual notes sometimes where it's that percussive sound mixed with a couple of held down notes, which is what I'm guessing is what your examples are, they're just fairly weird examples of it. I would guess on the first one you're meant to just lay your finger across the A, D, and G strings to mute them and strum all the strings except the high E. If that's the case then that seems a little weird to me. I'm not really sure on the second one. I guess mute the E and A with your thumb and use the finger on the 2nd fret to also mute the high E? With these kinds of things it helps to listen to the song and see what it actually sounds like so you have an idea of what the person that tabbed it was trying to say.

A more common use of mixing the percussive muting sound with actual held down notes would more be one or two notes being played, usually without any open strings involved, with some muting going on on other strings like:

x
9
9
x
x
-
or

x
x
12
x
-
-

or

x
8
x
9
x
x


Also, I just thought about another use. Some songs will have a "loose" style of changing chords in the middle of a strum where your fingers kinda glide across the strings as you're changing from one chord to the next, so that instead of completely picking your fingers up to change strings they're lightly touching the strings in between where they are and where they're going to mute a lot of the open notes. Maybe on some songs like that where someone really tried to tab it out as exactly as possible, even though it's a fairly loose style, they might tab the changes like how you have them in the OP. This is kinda a guess though because with those types of songs I usually just look up the chords and roll with it. And really I highly doubt anyone would be crazy enough to tab something THAT exactly.


I'm thinking Mag is probably right and whoever tabbed it just put some unnecessary mute symbols in there.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Jul 28, 2015,
#4
Quote by MaggaraMarine
X doesn't mean palm muting. It means muting with your fretting hand.

But in this case I think it just means those strings shouldn't ring at all. It matters if you strum with a pick. But if you pick with your fingers, you can pick individual strings without really needing to worry about muting the other strings that much.

Especially in the second example that's what it means. You just need to make sure you are only playing the tabbed notes, and don't let any other note ring out. But that should be pretty obvious when reading a tab - only play the notes that the tab tells you to play. I think those mutes are unnecessary.


Thank-you for your reply. This is more for a question for fingerpicking than strumming. In the songs, xxxxxx (down a row), means you "slap" the strings for a more precussion sound. I was wondering how I slap the strings while fingerpicking, but it's good to know what you stated!

-LukeS
I_M_3rd
#5
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Palm muting is usually marked with a p or pm under the tab. An x like that usually means you're muting with your left hand. They're more common in chords where there is just one or two stings that need to be muted that are in between strings that need to be played. A good example would be something like this:

e|--
b|-3
g|-4
d|-4
a|-x
e|-3


Where you would have your pointer on the 3rd fret E string, but laying flat enough to mute the A, but not press it down. Then your ring and pinky on the D and G strings and your middle on the B string. In this chord it would be good practice to go ahead and mute the high E with the side of your pointer as well, but most people wouldn't write the X on it because it's not important in the way it's being played.

It's also really common to see only Xs stacked and in that case you just lay your left hand flat on the strings and strum to get a clicky percussive noise, like in the beginning riff of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

You'll also see this mixed with actual notes sometimes where it's that percussive sound mixed with a couple of held down notes, which is what I'm guessing is what your examples are, they're just fairly weird examples of it. I would guess on the first one you're meant to just lay your finger across the A, D, and G strings to mute them and strum all the strings except the high E. If that's the case then that seems a little weird to me. I'm not really sure on the second one. I guess mute the E and A with your thumb and use the finger on the 2nd fret to also mute the high E? With these kinds of things it helps to listen to the song and see what it actually sounds like so you have an idea of what the person that tabbed it was trying to say.

A more common use of mixing the percussive muting sound with actual held down notes would more be one or two notes being played, usually without any open strings involved, with some muting going on on other strings like:

x
9
9
x
x
-
or

x
x
12
x
-
-

or

x
8
x
9
x
x


Also, I just thought about another use. Some songs will have a "loose" style of changing chords in the middle of a strum where your fingers kinda glide across the strings as you're changing from one chord to the next, so that instead of completely picking your fingers up to change strings they're lightly touching the strings in between where they are and where they're going to mute a lot of the open notes. Maybe on some songs like that where someone really tried to tab it out as exactly as possible, even though it's a fairly loose style, they might tab the changes like how you have them in the OP. This is kinda a guess though because with those types of songs I usually just look up the chords and roll with it. And really I highly doubt anyone would be crazy enough to tab something THAT exactly.


I'm thinking Mag is probably right and whoever tabbed it just put some unnecessary mute symbols in there.


Ok. Thanks for your thorough reply/responce. I was looking at some Peter Gergly tabs (he's on youtube), and he has that symbol for a string slap. ALSO, I took the tabs from "I See Fire" (v.2 tabs) by Ed Sheeran, so anything weird is from there.

Again, they're there for the purpose of acoustics, and I was wondering for tips/techniques to hit the strings whilst playing, but it seems like it's unheard of here.

Thanks though!!!

-LukeS
I_M_3rd
#6
Ah, well slapping the strings can sound pretty similar to a muted strum, so that makes sense. You can just take the Xs to mean you should mute there so that things don't ring out, or to use a percussive sound, which usually means a muted strum.

I just looked up a video of him playing the song and he's doing the weird little slappy strum thing there, sometimes letting some notes ring and other times not. I do that too sometimes, but never thought about how it would be written - I just started doing it. To do it as smoothly as him takes a very relaxed but very controlled hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mllXxyHTzfg

There's a very clear shot of it at about 1:10, and again at 1:50, and other places. There are also some muted percussive sounds that I'm hearing but not seeing him play, so I'm guessing that some of that was added in on top as another track


this tab looks the most accurate out of the ones I glanced at
http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/e/ed_sheeran/i_see_fire_ver3_tab.htm