Reading Guitar Tablature

A short 'How-To' devoted to guitar tablature reading.

Ultimate Guitar
The most useful guitar skill is to tab. Tab appears like this:
The letters up there mean the strings(highest to lowest-e is the highest and E is the lowest). This is an example of a song:
Knowing that E is the lowest and A is on top of it, it would mean that A is the second lowest.
e highest
B second highest
G third highest
D third lowest
A second lowest
E lowest
The numbers on A are " 7-7-10-7-5-3-2". Count on the fretboard till fret seven. Hit #7. There is another 7 so hit it. What ever the number is, hit it on the fretboard(on the correct string). By the way that is Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Those are the verses. There you go folks!

131 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i just want to say thanks... you been so helpful to me... at last, i found a web site that gives free lyrics and chords at the same time. u really made me happy.. thanks!
    PaulP89 wrote: i dont get this what is a fret board someone please help and do i just count to seven thrn hit the cord again
    a fretboard is the like neck that has all the frets on it its the long thing and to play tablature you have to go to fret seven and how many times you see 7 in a row is how many times you strum that string if you need anymore help email me at
    ash lw
    e----- B----- G----- D---7-7-10-7-5-3-2----- A---7-7-10-7-5- 3-2----- E-----
    ash lw
    does any 1 ere like cradle of filth thei song cradle to enslave the vid for dat song strange
    i agree too. i understant those normal, small numbers. but then im in broplems when i most play those big 22 or 57. thats what i dont find anywere... so PLEASE some1 help me whit this!!
    slash N @xl
    Yeah i aree with avenged_7_fold. I still haven't found any website which explains how to perform hammer on and pull off. Would be cool if this was added.
    you should really show other stuff like hammer-ons and pull-offs so you know how to play something like this: |-----18*b~-13-20-----22b |-----14\18--17-16h18p14h 1 5-----17-----19b |-----19-----| |--2-----18--| |--2-----| |- -0-00000-----| pm---|
    wow, that was so easy i cant believe i never got it, well i only started three weeks ago but now i feel like a complete moron.
    I think this a good example for people who are starting out. Thanks.
    well that would be me who doesn't know. I'm confused about 1 thing though because it seems that this tip compared to Reading Tablatures II is differnt. Is E the bottom string and e the top or is it visa versa?
    how do i play this? e|----- b|----- g|----- d|-5~~~--5- a|-3~~~--2- d|-3~ ~~--2-
    CatEyez wrote: Thnx for the lesson, but what do u do when u get a tab filled with numberz on each string??? PLZ HELP!
    you play them all
    piza pokr
    dude, you need to show a lot more stuff. like hammer ons, pull offs, or even slide dude. point is put more stuff there.
    maybe you should add things like how to read symbols like / is slide etc.
    what do you do if your tab look like this E|---3---3---3 B|---3---3---3 G|---5---5---5 D|---5--- 5---5 A|---3---3---3 E|---3---3---3 do you play them all vertically together? please email me anyone who can seems like i have the same quetion as someone else...
    I'm a beginner guitar player and these lessons are really working good. I'd recommend this for anyone who can't play guitar and would like to learn.
    man.... i thought it was how to do bend, hammer on, palm mute, etc... could someone help me please
    Thnx for the lesson, but what do u do when u get a tab filled with numberz on each string??? PLZ HELP!
    I'm totaly new to all of this and for a first lesson on tabs, It totaly worked for me. It was a plus having the song to listen to as well Thanks
    its a good article. but i see people asking questions and want to know the answers. it would be cool if there was a "repository" of questions where you could just link to the answers somehow. Like the Chili Peppers thing. I'd like to know that too. -R/R
    awsome well ya pretty simple only that the bottom isnt as specific as the rest but the beginging is so understandable.
    ash lw
    that is seven nation army da oder 1 at top no wer near as good as dat try it ure self
    just thanks. lol u dumbed it down easy i was havein trouble understanin tabs but i get it now. do u think u could do more advanced one and dumb it down to?
    its pretty nice actually.. thanks.. i didn't know learning tab is this easy and this fun.. xie xie...
    what are these lines for ----. do they mean anything? are they for counting? v -----
    I have been playing guitar for a short while and inderstand the tab but I don't understand what the brackets mean like 12-13-(14)- or 22b(24) how do u play this ?
    for the beginers..... e:1-2-3-4 b:1-2-3-4 g:1-2-3-4 d:1-2-3-4 a :1-2-3-4 e:1-2-3-4 Don't do it at the same time
    I've been playing guitar for about a year and my instructer never showed me how to read tab so thanks for the help.
    I think someone should add to this post a reference point to explain more about x, 0, hammer-ons and pull-offs. Kind of like a dictionary. It should clear up most of the questions being asked in the comments!
    Very good explained, easy and covers everything, leaving me with no questions to ask. [b]Thanks
    big q, wat does it mean when u have a zero? what do u do? and wat is the point of the dashes just please explain a more advanced and indepth a lol more. email me someone----
    Wow. Thank you so much for posting this. DX< I had no clue how to read all of these tabs I was printing off. Haha. Awesome song, by the wayy! =]