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Guitar Tabs For A Beginner

This article is an introduction to guitar tab for beginner guitar players. We take a look at how tab is constructed and also some bands whose songs are easy enough for a beginner to learn from tab.

Guitar tabs are the easiest of the two ways for a beginner to learn to read music. In order to read standard musical notation the beginner needs to understand a little music theory and learn what all the notation symbols mean but with guitar tabs, instead of notes you have numbers that simply tell you where to put your fingers.

Here is a guitar tab showing a basic single note version of the Smoke On The Water riff:

E -----------------|---------------|----------------|------------------|

B -----------------|---------------|----------------|------------------|

G -----------------|---------------|----------------|------------------|

D -0---3---5-----|-0--3---6-5--|-0---3---5----|---3----0--------|

A -----------------|---------------|----------------|------------------|

E -----------------|---------------|----------------|------------------|

Just play the riff in your head for a minute and then pick the notes on the tab. The dotted lines represent the strings on your guitar - the bottom line, marked E, is the sixth string - the low E on the guitar and the top line is the first string.

As you play the notes one after the other you will begin to recognize the riff. If you can't hear the riff in your head, however, you will have to use some guesswork to make sense of the tab, and even then your interpretation won't be too accurate.

The reason a beginner to the guitar, or anybody else for that matter, can't play the guitar from tab without already knowing the song is the lack of a way of including note values on tablature. I have seen some tabs with E for "eighth" or Q for "quarter" above the fret numbers on tabs. This is probably the best way of telling the guitarist the length of the notes.

So, let's use guitar tab to start playing some songs for beginner guitarists. Well, we have to find some suitable songs, and this is where the conventions of popular music play into our hands. Most of today's music can be played using a very limited number of chords and any individual song is quite likely to only be using three chords. So if you don't know many chords at the moment you will still be able to start learning some songs, and at the same time learn chords that you can use to play more songs.

What you are looking for is a few songs that you are familiar with so that you can learn them from guitar tab. The tabs you use should also include the names of the chords you are to use to accompany the song. To give you a general idea, bands you could start looking at to find guitar tabs for beginners are Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, Green Day, U2, Coldplay and Nirvana. If none of those bands appeal to you look amongst traditional folk songs like GreensleevesFree Web Content, Pallet On The Floor or Cocaine Blues.

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