Guitar Tablature

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Learn how to read guitar tablature and tab on the fret-board.

Guitar lesson 1 learn about the fret-board  Guitar Lesson 2- learn the notes on the fret-board    

 Guitar Lesson 3 control of the pick    Guitar Lesson 4 picking exercises 

Guitar Lesson 5 pentatonic scale

Sharps and flats ] [ Guitar Tablature ]

Learn to read guitar tablature

This guitar lesson explains how to read and use guitar tablature. Guitar tab, is used in place of music notation.
Guitar tablature instruction:  A six line staff that represents the guitar fret-board. When reading tablature, numbers indicate which fret you play. Each line equals the guitar strings.

Learning to read guitar tablature

In the illustration below, the second fret on the G string is being played. The number 2 shown above, represents the 2nd fret, on the G string.

Guitar Tablature

When you read guitar tablature, the lines on the tablature illustration, represents each string on the guitar. Look below and notice each string and placement. There's a red line on the Low E string, this is the fattest string on the guitar. You do not have to use your middle finger to play the note, you can use your index finger if you like.

How to read guitar tablature

Look at the the first tablature example above. This tablature example has the number 2, this represents the second fret on the 3rd string. Play the 2nd fret G string. The note you just played is the A note. Look below. Each line in tablature represents each of the guitar strings. The numbers on each line or string represents the fret number you play. So, the illustration below has the number 2 on the G string, this means you play the note at the 2nd fret G string. This would be the A note.
 
e-------------------skinny E string
B-------------------
G----2-------------play the note on the 2nd fret G string.
D-------------------
A-------------------
E-------------------Fat E string
 
The next illustration below, shows a 12 on the first string E and a 12 on the second string B. Both of these notes are played together at the 12th fret, e and B string. Play both of those notes together. These two notes are the E note and B note. Recall that I stated all notes repeat after 12 frets. Look below for an example of these two notes. 
 
e--------12-----------skinny E, this is showing the note on the 12th fret.
B-------12------------this is showing the note on the 12th fret on the B string.
G-------------------
D-------------------
A-------------------
E-------------------Fat E string
 
The illustration below shows the E major chord.

E major guitar chord and tablature

 
Look below and notice how the E chord would be displayed in tablature. Since all the notes illustrated below are lined up on top of each other, they would be strummed or played together.
 
e -------0-------------skinny E string, 0 means leave open, don't fret, but strum.
B -------0-------------The 0 means leave open, don't fret, but strum.
G  ------1--------------note on 1st fret, G string
D  ------2------------- note on 2nd fret, D string
A  ------2------------- note on 2nd fret, A string
E  ------0--------------Fat E string, don't fret, but strum.
 
Look below and notice how the A minor chord would look like in tablature.
 
e -------0-------------skinny E string, don't fret, but strum.
B -------1------------- note on the 1st fret, B string.
G  ------2--------------note on 2nd fret, G string
D  ------2------------- note on 2nd fret, D string
A  ------0------------- don't fret, but strum.
E  --------------------Fat E string, don't fret, but strum.
 
The next Illustration below, is that famous A minor pentatonic scale again. This time it is shown in tablature and also in the Root Note Position at the 5th Fret. In the last lesson, I had you working on the A minor pentatonic scale with the fingers highlighted. This time in the image below, the frets are numbered on each string. I stated earlier that it is important to learn the fingering pattern system. The reason for this, is that eventually we will only be showing the numbers representing the frets on the strings and not the fingers to play each note of the scale. You will eventually have the fingering for each scale memorized anyway. 
 
Look at the image below and notice how it starts on the Low E string, 5th fret. In the image below, the index finger is playing the note on the Low E string, at the 5th fret. This first note would be the first 5 or 5th fret below.
 

Guitar Tablature lesson

The numbers below the strings, in the image above, are the fingers that play the notes through the scale. Look below and notice what number equals for each finger. The scale above, is the same scale as below. The image above is shown in tablature. 
The numbers below, represent the fingers to play each note.
 
1 Index
2 Middle
3 Ring
4 Pinky

Am pentatonic scale and guitar tablature

The fingers used to play the pentatonic scale above are: 1-4, 1-3, 1-3, 1-3, 1-4, 1-4
 
 
The illustration above shows the same A minor pentatonic scale in tablature form in the root note position. The image below shows the same scale, but shows the fingers that would play each note.

A minor pentatonic scale

Here’s an example using the Am pentatonic root note fret position. Notice how the lead guitar part starts on the A note 7th fret, play this over the Am chord. The numbers under the lead, are the suggested fingering to use.

Guitar tablature and the pentatonic scale

 We still need to practice some fingering exercises and understanding tablature will make the exercises that much easier to work on. Don't worry if you don't have the A minor pentatonic scale in the root note position memorized, we will be working on it again. Fingering exercises.
 
The video below walks you through this lesson and in a little more in depth.
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