It’s never to late to learn to read music. Reading music opens up the world of other peoples compositions and often when playing in a group or with other musicians is essential in order to know what should be played and when. While guitarists can read traditional musical notation, guitar tablature or ‘guitar tab’ is also available. This article will help you with the basics for understanding guitar tab. Guitar tab can seem daunting but actually reading tab is quite easy and with the help of our article you’ll pick it up in no time.

One of the best things about learning to read tab is that you’l be able to read other peoples work, or learn the licks of the greats – reading tab well may take practice but it’ll pay off in spades. There are loads of resources around on the net which feature guitar tabs and most guitar magazines carry features with guitar tabs so it’s really useful to get the hang of.

Guitar Tab differs from normal music notation as it shows the strings and fret positions rather than musical notes on a traditional musical stave. In Tab the staff has 6 lines representing the six strings of a guitar. The bottom string represents the low E string. Where a number is shown the guitarists should play the fret indicated for example where you see a 3 on the third line from the bottom you should play the 3rd fret on your D String. Where the tablature shows a 0 it means to play an open string.

In the example below you would play 3 notes the first and 3rd frets of the high E string followed by an Open High E String.

guitar-tab

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