Reading Tablature
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[ Reading Tablature ]

TAB or tablature is a method of writing down music played on guitar or bass. Instead of using symbols like in standard musical notation, it uses ordinary ASCII characters and numbers, making it ideal for places like the internet where anybody with any computer can link up, copy a TAB file, and read it.

Understanding Guitar Tablature

All the examples on this site are written in the format below. This is pretty standard to most magazines, books, and sites.


Basic Tab Diagram

In standard notation the staff has 5 lines (E,G,B,D,F). Tab uses six lines. Each representing one of the six strings. The numbers represent the fret of the note that is played. Look at the diagram below for examples:

Tablature Symbols
Below is a table of of the different tab symbols and their explanations:

TAB will tell you what notes to play - it will tell you which string to hit and which fret to fret it at. TAB will tell you where hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, slides, harmonics and vibrato are used. TAB will tell you what tuning the piece is in. If this isn't given explicitly, assume normal tuning. TAB should also give you information on use of capos etc. TAB will give you an indication of the ryhthm of the piece - i.e it will tell you which are the long notes and which are the short notes. However it will not tell you exactly how long or how short they are.


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