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Reading guitar tablature found on the Internet

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

Ghost notes and
optional notes

The best description of a ghost note, is a note that is felt but not heard. You will play the note softer, and without emphasis. The note is usually in-between 2 parentheses. In addition, notes in parentheses could mean optional notes. For instance, if a particular riff is repeated, but sometimes the guitar player throws in some additional notes, those additional notes may be in parentheses. Do keep in mind the use of parentheses for bent notes as well.

The example below could mean either a ghost note or an optional note. There is no way of telling without a recording. And really in this context, do either and it will sound fine.



Right Hand Tapping

Right hand tapping is basically a hammer-on with a right hand finger, usually your 1st or 2nd. This hammer-on with your right hand is indicated with a "t". Pull-offs from your right hand are indicated with a "p", like a normal pull off. Another way that you may see right hand tapping notated, is a "+" above the tapped note, along with any of the variations of hammer-on and pull-off notation.

                         +      +
E:------t12p5h8t12--- or 12^5^7^12---


Reference Lessons

For more information on right hand tapping, check out this lesson.

Right hand tapping - This is a technique that was made popular by Eddie VanHalen. From flash to more subtle uses, this technique is a great addition to your arsenal.


Rhythm click or Muted string

When you see an "x" in tablature, it means a rhythmic click, or to mute the string. In the following example, you would strum the chord. Then lift your fingers up so that you are no longer pressing the strings down against the fret bar, but you are still touching the string so that you will hear a "click" when strummed.



If you were to see an "x" in the middle of what looks to be a chord or between 2 other notes, this would mean to mute that string. You will usually mute the string with a finger that you are already using to play the next note lower. In the following example you will mute the 5th string with your 2nd finger, which is the same finger that you are using to play the note on the 6th string. For the most part, try and avoid using a finger that is not already in use.

E:----3----- 4th finger
B:----3----- 3rd finger
G:----0----- open
D:----0----- open
A:----x----- mute with your 2nd finger
E:----3----- 2nd finger


Page 5, Slides, bends, reverse bends, and smears

Page 7, Vibrato, harmonics, palm mutes

How to read tablature
Jump Zone

Intro to Tablature
Tuning and Rhythm
Chords in Tab
Other symbols used in tab
Reverse bends

Ghost notes and optional notes
Right Hand Tapping
Rhythm click or Muted string

Natural Harmonics
Other Harmonics
Palm Mute
Tab questions answered

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF

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