What You Need to Know About Acoustic Guitar Tabs

Guitar TAB, or tablature, is a godsend to those guitar players who can’t read standard notation or who have no desire to learn how to read it. TAB is a system of written music aimed at string players in general and most associated with guitar players. The system involves lines that represent the strings of the guitar. Numbers on those lines indicate the frets a guitarist should play. You can often see additional notation in TAB to indicate tempo, strum patterns, and other musical indications, although these are usually only used in more advanced tablature.

There is no difference between acoustic guitar tabs and electric guitar tabs. They are both notated the same way and simply called guitar tabs. Acoustic guitar tabs can be found online or purchased at music stores in book form. Acoustic guitar tabs are most often made of songs that sound best on acoustic guitar. Blues songs, rock ballads, flamenco and classical music, and country and western songs are songs that typically sound great on acoustic. A lot of times you can find songs in these genres in tab geared toward specific skill levels, from beginning to advanced. Beginning acoustic guitar tabs will normally have just chord notation and maybe important licks or riffs notated, while advanced acoustic guitar tabs will typically have all of the parts notated.

Check out this video lesson on ACOUSTIC GUITAR TECHNIQUES

The examples below show how acoustic guitar tabs might be laid out. One is an arrangement of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the other is the “Main Theme from Harry Potter.” The Harry Potter piece is extremely simplified, while the Nirvana piece is a little more complexed and arranged for fingerstyle playing. The next example is a picking exercise that not only indicates the notes to be played, but the direction of the picking as well. In addition to playing exercises, you can find scales and chords laid out in tab form, as well as exercises specifically made for fingerpicking.




Guitar tabs are ideal for learning to play and for finding transcriptions to songs you want to play. Whether you use tab exercises or just use tabs to learn your favorite songs, there are a lot of web sites that offer plenty of tabs to choose from. Start with a few basic scales if you need to learn the layout of your instrument. Use tabs to learn chords. While you’re using tabs for theory, pick out some easy acoustic guitar tabs that interest you and start playing. The best way to learn guitar using tabs is to take advantage of all they have to offer — everything from theory and technique (such as fingerstyle picking, flat picking, and strum patterns — to learning to play actual songs.

If learning songs on guitar is your goal, I recommend you to check out these courses:


Supper Easy Acoustic Lessons and Songs to Play

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