Cyberfret.com: Reading guitar tablature found on the Internet
Cyberfret.com Online Guitar Lessons
     
 
Home > Reading Guitar Music

Reading guitar tablature found on the Internet


Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF



Tuning

One of the first bits of information that you will find in a piece of tablature, is the tuning of the song. You may see something the following:

Standard Tuning

Drop D tuning

Drop D down a half step


You may also see a list of the names of the open strings.

notes low to high - Db Ab Db Gb Bb Eb

notes low to high - C G C F A D


The letters that you see to the far left in tablature indicate the names of the open strings. Below is what the names of the open strings are in standard tuning. This is very important to know, since all other tuning will assume that you know what the names of the open strings are in standard tuning.

   Names of the open strings
 
E:-------------- --> 1st string B:-------------- --> 2nd string G:-------------- --> 3rd string D:-------------- --> 4th string A:-------------- --> 5th string E:-------------- --> 6th string

 

Therefore if a song was tuned down a half step (equal to 1 fret), then it would look like this. Eb means E flat.(see below)

   Names of the open strings
 
Eb:-------------- --> 1st string Bb:-------------- --> 2nd string Gb:-------------- --> 3rd string Db:-------------- --> 4th string Ab:-------------- --> 5th string Eb:-------------- --> 6th string

 

In order to fully understand the tuning of a song, you need to understand some basics of how notes work in general. Here are a couple of basic ideas that you need to understand.

Whole step
A whole step is equal to 2 frets on the guitar. If you need to tune the guitar down a whole step, you will need to understand what note that is in relationship to standard tuning. (see the reference lesson list below)
Half step
A half step is equal to 1 fret on the guitar.
#
This is the symbol for a sharp. A sharp is one fret higher (in sound) than a natural note. A natural note is A B C D E F or G. So if you see "F#", this means F sharp, and is one fret higher that F.
b
This is the symbol for a flat. A flat is one fret lower (in sound) than a natural note. So if you see "Gb" this means G flat, and is one fret lower than G. In Internet text tablature, a flat is represented by a lower case B.

 

Reference Lessons

For information on guitar tuning, check out these lessons.

Basic Tuning - Learn the most basic tuning methods, tune with a piano, electronic tuners, tuning forks, etc...

Tuning with harmonics - The next step in learning to accurately tune your guitar.

Drop D Tuning - This tuning is fast becoming the "standard" tuning of the modern rock era.

For information on understanding the basics how notes work, and learning the names of the notes on the neck of the guitar, check out this lesson.

Note names - learning the names of the notes on the guitar.

 

Rhythm and Tab

Usually there are no indications of rhythm in Internet tablature. You may see some notes spaced further apart that others, this may or may not be a hint about the rhythm. For any song that you play, you should try and get a recording to help you. Rarely, you may see that someone has divided the song into measures and represented the rhythm by writing the counting below the tab. Below is an example this.

 

E:-----------|--------------------|------------
B:-----------|--------------------|------------
G:-----------|--------------------|------------
D:-----------|---------0--2-----3-|-2----------
A:-----------|--3----3------------|------------
E:--------3--|--------------------|------------
          4     1    2 &  3 (4) &   1

 

Page 1, Basics of reading tablature

Page 3, Chords in tab

How to read tablature
Jump Zone

Intro to Tablature
Tuning and Rhythm
Chords in Tab
Other symbols used in tab
Hammer-ons
Pull-Offs
Slides
Bends
Reverse bends

Smears
Ghost notes and optional notes
Right Hand Tapping
Rhythm click or Muted string
Vibrato
Natural Harmonics
Other Harmonics
Palm Mute
Tab questions answered



Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF








Guitar Courses

Rhythm Guitar Mastery
How to strum guitar like a pro, master rhythms, and build your vocabulary of essential chords

60s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 18 classic 60s rock tunes

70s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 70s rock tunes

80s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 80s rock tunes

90s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 90s rock tunes

Modern Country Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 16 modern country songs

Guitar Lick Factory
A system for creating rock & blues guitar licks