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How to read tabs.

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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
April 14th, 2007 at 08:28am
Hello. My name is Gustav, and this is my tab reading tutorial.
I'm a stealer so I'll just borrow things from all-over the web because I can't say it better than those who said it perfectly.

Image
That is an electric guitar (works exactly like a bass guitar but looks different). This would explain where all those weird things like "nuts" and "bridges" would appear.

Reading Tabs

For most tabs this 'template' is used
e|-------------------------
B|-------------------------
G|-------------------------
D|-------------------------
A|-------------------------
E|-------------------------
(When you post a tab in this section of the forum, please use font 8 or 9 like I have here.)

The letter on the left of each '---' line indicates which string it is.
e = thinest
B = 2nd thinest
G = 3rd thinest
D = 3rd thickest
A = 2nd thickest
E = thickest
For bass guiatrists, just remove the two thinest strings and you'll have a bass template.

Now, let's move on to the frets. A fret is the space between the vertical iron 'things' on your fretboard. That's whythe fretboard is called fretboard and so on.
Some guitars have dots on frets 3, 5, 7, 12, 15, 17, 19, 21 and sometimes 24. These are there to help your co-ordination.
The 1st fret is the fret next to the nut, and the 21st fret is the one nest to the pick-ups. In between are the frets 2-20. Fret 0 is an open string. I hope that makes sense.

Now we'll move onto playing the thing.
Here's an easy example of a song, or a tiny piece of an intro to a song. xD

e|-------------------------
B|-------------------------
G|-------------------------
D|-------------------------
A|---------3---------------
E|--1---3-----3---5--------

You play this by holding down the 1st fret with any finger on your fretting hand and sounding the string. Then you strum the 3rd fret and so on.
If you can play it, it's obvious that you can read it. =]

It really is that simple.

When you read a tab you will also find letter's and stuff that are pretty important.
Here's a list of these techniques and things and hopefully one link to a lesson for each technique:

/ - Slide up
Drag your finger towards the nut while holding down the string.
\ - Slide down
Drag your finger down towards the pick-ups while holding down the string.
p - Pull-off
Play two notes with only one strum! Further Explanation
h - Hammer-on
The oppsite of a pull-off, almost. Further Explanation
b - Bend
Bend it, I can't explain it any better. Bends can look very different, here are two examples showing how much you should bend the string:
e|---------------------|---------------------|
B|-----17--(1Cool--------|---17b18r17----------|
G|---------------------|---------------------|
D|---------------------|---------------------|
A|------Ex 1-----------|-----Ex 2------------|
E|---------------------|---------------------|
~ - Vibrato (sometimes Ring out)
Bend the string very lightly up and down. As for the 'Ring out', just let it ring.
T - Tapping
Use your picking hand to strum the notes. For really good tapping you will need to use alot of distortion (electric only). Further Explanation
(19) - Ghost notes, notes in brackets
Played lightly or just the echo of the note before it.
TP - Tremolo Picking
Strum the note really fast and many times.
PM - Palm Muting
Place your palm on the bridge to get a muffled sound.

These indicatiors may change from tabber to tabber, but these are the common ones.

Because I just can't stress this enough, go to Ultimate Guitar. It helps alot.

If you didn't understand anything, give me a comment and I'll see if I can change it so it works, k? This is old and wrapped up in a few seconds, which makes it a work in progress. K?
sass attack.
Demolition Lover
sass attack.
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 15290
April 14th, 2007 at 08:35am

nice work Mr. Green

but what does it mean in a tab when they use this ( ~ ) symbol ?

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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
April 14th, 2007 at 08:37am
(19) like that?

That is a ghost note. It's played light and is barely heard or just an echo of the tone before it.

I'll add it.
sass attack.
Demolition Lover
sass attack.
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 15290
April 14th, 2007 at 08:46am
Gustavatron.:
(19) like that?


I'm not sure, I don't think I hear a ghost note in the song.
For the bridge of dance, dance it's like
{ It's for bass }



G|-------------------------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------------------------|
A|------5-5-------------5~-------------------------|
E|-77-------5x--33--------5x-----------------------|



I have another question. I must be annoying you xD

it says to ' pull off to 1, don't pluck it '
Does it mean you play the note, let it ring while you get to the next note ?

it goes like this :




G|-----------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------------|
A|----2----------------p1------------|
E|-----------------------------------|
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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
April 14th, 2007 at 08:50am
I heard somewhere that it could also be that you play the thing in brackets if you... want to. I don't know, really.

This bracket thing mostly appears in correct (music theory wise) tabs.
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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
April 14th, 2007 at 08:55am
Eddie Cocaine.:



I have another question. I must be annoying you xD

it says to ' pull off to 1, don't pluck it '
Does it mean you play the note, let it ring while you get to the next note ?

it goes like this :




G|-----------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------------|
A|----2----------------p1------------|
E|-----------------------------------|
You fret both notes (2 & 1) at the same time.
Then you play the 2 and quickly release your finger from the string. That way the 1 will chime.
sass attack.
Demolition Lover
sass attack.
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 15290
April 14th, 2007 at 09:04am
Gustavatron.:
You fret both notes (2 & 1) at the same time.
Then you play the 2 and quickly release your finger from the string. That way the 1 will chime.


Okay, thanks.

You did a good job with the tutorial (:
Mr.Armstrong
Awake and Unafraid
Mr.Armstrong
Age: 31
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April 28th, 2007 at 11:20pm
this is a great thread for beginners at guitars
Easy Mac
In The Murder Scene
Easy Mac
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Posts: 20401
May 3rd, 2007 at 08:15pm
This is a good thread for people like me because I am trying to learn how to play some songs and I can't really read tabs very good.
Kid Rock
Banned
Kid Rock
Age: 27
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Posts: 7686
May 8th, 2007 at 03:11pm
Yea I just got my guitar & I really appreciate this thread
Cerys
Killjoy
Cerys
Age: 28
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May 8th, 2007 at 03:20pm
i wanna learn how to play guitar but i don't want to have to pay for a tutor?
Kid Rock
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Kid Rock
Age: 27
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May 8th, 2007 at 03:20pm
What's a sweep?
jedicam10
Fabulous Killjoy
jedicam10
Age: 28
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Posts: 127
May 10th, 2007 at 11:58pm
Got any way of teaching tabs for bass?
Kid Rock
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Kid Rock
Age: 27
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Posts: 7686
May 24th, 2007 at 02:31pm
What does an x mean?
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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
May 24th, 2007 at 02:39pm
An x means that the string is muted. You hold your finger on the string so that it doesn't ring it, it just makes a scratchy kind of sound.
jedicam10:
Got any way of teaching tabs for bass?
Same as this one, just remove the two thinest strings.
jedicam10
Fabulous Killjoy
jedicam10
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Posts: 127
May 28th, 2007 at 09:37pm
Gustavatron.:
An x means that the string is muted. You hold your finger on the string so that it doesn't ring it, it just makes a scratchy kind of sound.
jedicam10:
Got any way of teaching tabs for bass?
Same as this one, just remove the two thinest strings.


Ya but i cant read tabs. Sad I'm reading your lesson now.
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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
May 29th, 2007 at 09:32am
jedicam10:
Ya but i cant read tabs. Sad I'm reading your lesson now.
I wonder if that's why I made this thread. Hmm.
OMFG DAN!
Salute You in Your Grave
OMFG DAN!
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Posts: 3300
June 9th, 2007 at 09:56am
lmao Im kinda confused. I can play the example you posted but how do you play read power chords and stuff? EXAMPLE:
How do you play this:
e|---------------|
B|--------------|
G|--------6--6|
D|--6-6-------|
A|--6-6-------|
E|--4-4-0----|? Do you play the notes separately or like a chord?
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Shotgun Sinner
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Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 8038
June 9th, 2007 at 04:38pm
As a chord. Notes vertically aligned are played at the same time, unless stated otherwise.
Shelbinwa
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Shelbinwa
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Posts: 8
June 12th, 2007 at 12:33am
its an okay tutorial, but you should explain in more proper musical terminology and further explain what a lot of it means. It sticks with people a lot better that way, and then they don't become lazy and only look at tabs.