Topic 2, Lesson 4
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How To Read Guitar Tablature (Tab)

Daniel February 28, 2024
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Until now, we’ve really only used numbers to help you learn and remember songs. But there is an actual system used by many guitarists called Tablature (or Tab).

It’s not as complex as music notation, which takes a long time to learn. Rather, it’s a very simple method that is quick to learn.

Watch the video below to help you learn how to read tablature. From this lesson forward, we will start using guitar tablature more regularly.

The Video Lesson:


  • Guitar tablature is a system used for writing music for guitar and other similar fretted stringed instruments
  • It contains less information than music notation, therefore is faster to learn, but ultimately less detailed and flawed
  • Each horizontal line represents a string on our guitar
  • The Low E string is the bottom line
  • The numbers indicate what fret to play on that given string
  • An example of Smoke On The Water is written below

Some things to note about the Smoke On The Water Riff:

  • It’s entirely on the Low E string – we don’t change lines for the entire riff
  • It’s broken up into four sections
  • These sections don’t really mean anything – it’s simply four sections that make the song easier to learn
  • The zero means “open”

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