A Way to Learn to Play Guitar Tab

Learning to play guitar tab starts with the strings, the top string on the guitar (high e) is indicated by the very top line of the tablature. The next line is for b, then g, then d, then a, and finally low e. For someone who has never taken formal lessons, this is probably the easiest way to learn to read guitar music. Guitar is unique because it more often self taught then learnt with formal lessons.

The Frets

One need not fret when learning to play guitar tab, the frets in which the strings should be pressed are indicated by the number located on the string; for example a number 1 would indicate the string closest to the nut and a 32 would represent the fret closest to the sound hole (on average, the number of guitar frets may vary depending on the specific guitar). A zero on a line means that the string should be played open (don't press any string, and strum the guitar).

Playing Guitar Chords

Leaning to play guitar tab chords demonstrates the major flaw in tablature; there is not a way to determine the rhythm in which the notes should be played. A rule of thumb is that if the numbers are form a column, those strings should all be pressed at the same time to form a particular chord; if the numbers are separated they should be played one after the other in the order they appear. There in lies the flaw, how fast should the strings be pressed and how fast should one strum while pressing?

Learning to play guitar tab can be difficult because if there are notations as to how fast the notes should be played (quarter or eighth stems or the like) the person writing the tablature might as well go the step further and put it into traditional sheet music. If a person has not previously heard the song they are attempting, and aren't able to isolate the guitars part of the song, they will likely find it difficult to follow guitar tab.

Guitar tablature is unique to guitar players, most guitar players like to play songs they have heard and are able to pick out the guitar section of the song, and that is what they want to play; this is where guitar tab was born. For this reason learning to play guitar tab may be easier for people that have at least a small amount of experience playing guitar; but guitar tablature also makes playing guitar accessible to many skill levels of players.