Guitar tablature (tab) is a method of reading music designed primarily for guitar players. It’s a simple system that illustrates music by using a diagram of the guitar neck and marking the notes you’ll play by indicating string numbers and fret numbers. The tab method can be used for other string instruments as well, but is typically only used for guitar, banjo, mandolin, and other similar instruments.
You can find guitar tabs online or buy books at local music stores that have popular songs laid out in tab format. Tabs can be written at any skill level, making it easy for guitar players of every level to find something to play.
For example, check out this VIDEO LESSONEasy guitar tab is available everywhere and is ideal for guitar players who aren’t yet familiar with their instruments or haven’t had much practice applying written material to the guitar. A song written in easy guitar tab format is the actual song, but it typically leaves out the more complex passages. A piece written in this format will usually indicate the chords and may indicate important riffs in a simplified manner. Below is an example of guitar tab for the Rolling Stones song “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
This is a highly recognized and easy-to-play riff. Looking at the image, you see the six lines representing the six strings of the guitar, with the thickest string (low E) at the bottom, as if you’re looking down at the guitar neck. This means the strings are, from bottom to top, E, A, D, G, B,E. The numbers you see indicate the fret you need to play on the string to get the correct note. Above the diagram is a series of tails without note heads. These indicate the rhythm you’ll use to play the notes, but in easy guitar tab the tails are often left out because a lot of guitar players don’t understand them, relying instead on listening to a song to get a feel for how a riff is played.
When you’re looking for easy guitar tab online, be aware that much of what you find is going to be written by other guitarists who transcribed the song by ear. You might find when you play a piece you get from the Internet that it sounds “close” but slightly off. This happens because not all people are as good at hearing as others. The best way to combat this issue is to look for more than one “version” of the song and try them all until you find the one that sounds right for you. Another way is to transcribe the song yourself by listening to it and writing it down. You can make tab paper, buy it in packs at a music store, or download it from the Internet and print it out.
Learning your favorite songs is an excellent way to learn to play guitar, and if you don’t want to take the time to learn to read standard notation, easy tab can be a great way to play some of your favorites. You can also use this method of notation when you decide to take the plunge and branch off into writing your own songs.
And for those of you looking for more than online tabs, I recommend you to check out our beginner course in DVD:
ULTIMATE BEGINNER GUITAR COURSE