Tips To Make Reading Guitar Tablature Effortless

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Before we cover some tips on how to make reading guitar tablature effortless, we need to make sure that you understand what it means. There are some dramatic differences between tablature, which was designed for stringed instruments, and regular sheet music, which is what most musicians use. 

Guitar tablature uses a form of musical notation that shows you the location of your fingering, rather than the musical pitches. They make it easy for a stringed instrument musician to follow along with the song because it shows where the fingers should be placed on the fretboard. With that in mind let’s get to the reason that you are reading this article. Once you understand the main sections of the sheets you will find that playing the guitar becomes much easier, so we will start here with the basics.

The Lines

The lines on the guitar tablature represent the strings on your guitar. From the top of the lines, you will have your E, B, G, D, A, and then E. The top E is going to be the high E and it represents the top string, the smallest one, on your guitar. You will find that for the most part there will be six lines that represent all the strings on a basic guitar, but some will have as little as four and others will have as many as seven. While learning, stick with ones that have six lines or less until you get the basics down.

The Numbers

The numbers that are placed on the lines of the tablature are the fret numbers, going from one at the base on up. Some guitars will have black dots in specific locations to help you learn quicker, some even have dots for each bar. For instance, if the guitar tab sheet music shows a number 5 on the B line, you would press the second string from the top down on the number 5 fret. It is that simple. If you have more than one number on each line you will need to press them all down on the correct fret. It may sound a little complicated, but as you practice you will find that it gets easier.

The Rhythm

If you do not play along with the rhythm of the song, it will not sound right. This is one part of playing the guitar that you need to work on as you progress in your skill level. You can see that on the numbers of the tablature there will be symbols placed within the lines. This means that you need to hold the note for that length of time. You can also find areas where you are silent, not playing any notes at all until the sheets call for you to begin playing again. 

The Time Signatures

At the very beginning of the guitar tablatures, you will see two big numbers, one above the other. This gives you the value of the beat, and how many fit into one measure. For example, a 4/4 which is one of the most common designations, shows that the song will have four quarter notes in each section. It plays along with the rhythm of the song and makes for the overall beat and timing of the piece.

Final Thoughts

Reading guitar tablatures can make learning easy once you figure out how to read them properly. They are much easier than trying to read musical sheets and figuring out where your fingers should go while on the fly. The problem with these is that you will not learn how to read the music, and the tablatures do not show you rhythmic notations, which means that unless you have heard the song before it will be hard for you to match the rhythm that the song originally came with. 

This is where technology helps because there are websites and applications available that solve this problem for you. All you need to do is follow along, do as they do, and in no time you will be using your own guitar tablatures to create some truly amazing songs.



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