Guitar tab is a type of music notation specific to stringed instrument players and usually associated primarily with guitar players. Guitarists like tab because it is more visually accurate in the way it represents written music and tends to make more sense in a guitar player’s mind. Tab is nothing more than lines representing the strings of a guitar and numbers representing frets. Additionally, technique notations such as bends and slides are often included in tab.
Below are examples showing you how tab might look. The first shows standard notation and tab, the second shows how a chord would be notated in tab format. The third example is a song notated in tab showing finger indications as well, which you’ll see with fingerpicking tab. This example also includes note tails like you’d find in standard notation. Some tab will have these and others won’t. Without the note tails to indicate rhythm, the guitar player will need to know how the song goes before playing it.
Free guitar tab sites are abundant and offer guitar tablature of just about any song you’d want to play. Tab websites also offer scales and guitar lessons in tab format as well, so not only can you play your favorite songs, you can work on technique and bone up on your music theory.
Some of these websites have become so big and so trusted that they’ve gained a following of transcribers who upload new tab songs all the time. A couple of tab sites have even developed Android and IOS apps you can use on your phone, tablet, or iPad to download free tabs, which means you can access your song library anywhere.
For most guitar players, tab really is the easiest, most effective way to approach reading music, and with all the free guitar tab available online, it’s also the most affordable.