Guitar Tabs Lesson Made Easy for Beginners

Sup fellow students of the guitar, Darrin Goodman here from bringing you another mini guitar lesson. Today I want to give you a lesson on guitar tabs beginners.

I remember the first time I saw guitar tabs and was very confused about them. Since there was no internet yet and could not just look it up I was really frustrated by it. Today I want to give some explanation and examples of guitar tabs for beginners.

There are several different formats out there for tabs, but today I’m going to be talking about two of the most common styles of tabs.


Text Tabs

Text tabs are very common because they do not require any special software to create or view them. They can be created using the “Word Pad” program that comes on your PC. Basically it consists of six lines, each representing a string, with numbers on them that represent the frets.


In this style of tabs, techniques such as hammer-on’s and pull-off’s are indicated with letters and symbols.

h = hammer-on

p = pull-off

v = vibrato

b = bend

/ = slide up

\ = slide down

Here are a couple of examples.



One of the problems with this style of tabs is that it does not indicate timing, such as a time signature (how many beats per measure) or note duration (quarter note, half note, etc…). The other type of tabs I’m going to talk about contains the missing information, but requires tab editing software to create and view such as “Guitar Pro” or “PTE”. I will be using “PTE” (Power Tab Editor) for the examples.

PTE Tabs

PTE tabs or Power Tab Editor tabs provide a much clearer and complete explanation of the song that you are playing. The examples I am using are the same riffs as I used with the text tabs so you can see the difference.


So the top set of lines is the “staff” with the actually musical notes. You do not have to know how to read the notes, but knowing how to identify the notes duration and how to count it is very helpful, especially if you are trying to play something that you have never heard.

Here is an example of an E minor pentatonic scale in the first position. Note that open strings are indicated by “0”.


Here is an example showing the performance techniques such as bends and vibrato.


As you can see, this type of guitar tabs is more complete and easy to follow.

I hope you found this helpful for understanding guitar tabs.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *