Building Guitar Tablature

This article is a quick and easy way to learn how to make a guitar tablature line, and what guitar tablature is.

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Introduction Guitar tablature is probably the most useful skill you will ever be able to have when you play guitar. Number one because to find out how to play most songs, the music is mostly written in guitar tablature. Number two, it helps when you write songs. Number three, you can get more tabs into Ultimate-Guitar.com. What Is It? Guitar tablature is pretty much a writing system that we guitar player use to write music. It consists of one line for each string, and the fret numbers on the lines. It is written out like this:
e|--------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5-|
A|-------------0-1-2-3-4-5--------------|
E|-0-1-2-3-4-5--------------------------|

e|--------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5-|
B|--------------0-1-2-3-4-5-------------|
G|-0-1-2-3-4-5--------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------|
E|--------------------------------------|
Building The Structure Building the structure of a line of guitar tablature (tab) is very simple. First you start out with the string names. (highest to lowest pitch.)
e|
B|
G|
D|
A|
E|
As you can see, after each letter there is a bar like this: | To get that bar, go to the right hand side of your keyboard and right above the Enter key, there is a key that has a slash and that bar on it. Hold down shift and hit that key. You may also have noticed that the first e is not capitalized but the rest of the string names are. That is because that first e is an octave higher than the lower e. make sure you always remember to do that. Here is how you don't want do start you guitar tab line:
Bad Way #1
E|
A|
D|
G|
B|
e|
Bad Way #2
1.|
2.|
3.|
4.|
5.|
6.|
Bad Way #3
e|
b|
g|
d|
a|
E|
Here are the reasons that these are all bad examples of starting your guitar tab line. - Bad Way #1 This beginning is just flipped upside-down. It would have been good except for the fact that the high e was at the bottom instead of the top. - Bad Way #2 This is not even close to the way your supposed to start out! Yeah it says that the high e is #1 but still. It doesn't have the qualifications of a good beginning. - Bad Way #3 The beginning of this guitar tab is very close to a good beginning. The only thing wrong with this one is that all of the letters except the low e is lowercase. It should be every letter except the high e is capitalized. The Fret Numbers Then, after that, put a hyphen (-) after the bar (|). This helps separate the strings from the actual notes/tablature. Next, put the fret number after the hyphen (-). What Is A Fret? A fret is the bar on the neck of your guitar. In guitar tablature, each fret stands for a number. So the bar right after the nut is the first fret. Then the second, then the third, ect Here is a diagram if you don't understand. Then put another hyphen after that. It should look like this:
e|-
B|-
G|-
D|-
A|-
E|-1-
You can keep repeating that until it looks like this:
e|
B|
G|
D|
A|
E|-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-
But remember to line up the other strings. Like so:
e|---------------
B|---------------
G|---------------
D|---------------
A|---------------
E|-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-
Finishing Up When you are done with putting all of the fret numbers in, make sure to put a bar (|) on the end. Then, eventually, you should end something like this:
e|----------------------------------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5-|
B|----------------------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5-------------|
G|---------------------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5--------------------------|
D|--------------------------0-1-2-3-4-5---------------------------------------|
A|-------------0-1-2-3-4-5----------------------------------------------------|
E|-0-1-2-3-4-5----------------------------------------------------------------|
If you want to learn more about submitting tabs, tips, and all of the fancy stuff, click here.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

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    Fitzpatrick
    There is a much easier way, when you submit a tab you can click on a link saying something about the templates for guitar and bass tabs. Then you just copy and paste it. Good article though.