What is Tab and how does it work?
Guitar tab is an easy way of reading guitar music. Tab has 6 lines, each one representing a guitar string; the lowest line on the stave or group of lines is the bottom E string. Bottom being the lowest pitch and lowest on the stave, then the line above represents the A string. You probably get the idea now and how it relates to the guitar but the best way to demonstrate this is the image below. This shows which line links to what string.
Remember each line of the tab represents a guitar string and the numbers tell you what fret you should play. Have a go at playing the scale in the diagram below. Start at the left and work your way along, the first note in this scale is 6th string 3rd fret. From your knowledge of the chromatic order you can work out that the note is G.
Look at the musical notation and you will notice that each note is a crotchet (quarter note) so you play one note per beat, four beats per bar.
This diagram interprets the scale in the tab above. It shows you which notes are played but you need the tab to know what order to play them in.
Challenge yourself and use your knowledge of the chromatic order to work out each note in this scale. We have filled in the first one to get you started. We have put the answers in the notes section at the end.
Use the chomatic order diagram below to help work out the notes.
Phew, that is the end of the theory part. Well done for sticking with it, you are now off to the best possible start.
Here is a recap of what we have learned so far
Understanding Music Notation
There is quite a lot to take in and we know that it may not have sank in the first time round. Come back to the theory at regular intervals; once you have some hands on experience the theory will make much more sense.
Move on to the practical section now and let’s make some noise!