Guitar music has its own special musical notation. Rather than a guitarist using the standard musical notations which other musicians use i.e., staffs, notes, note values, ledger lines, key signatures and time signatures. Guitar players will use a much simpler operational type of musical notation, known as the tab. The advantage to using acoustic guitar tabs is that you can learn to play guitar without needing to learn to read music in the normal sense. Tabs (tablatures) are not only used by guitarists but by other people who play any kind of stringed instrument.
When you actually look at any acoustic guitar tabs, you will be viewing a diagram that shows you the strings on the instrument. The lines on the diagram that you see in front of you represent the strings with the first string (top of the instrument) being the uppermost line and the sixth string (bottom on the guitar) being the bottom most line. As well as the lines on the diagram, you will see numbers and these represent the various frets on the guitar neck and which you will need to play. However if a zero (0) appears on the line then this means that the string needs to be left open whilst an X tells you that the string needs to be muffled.
However, if you are not sure by what we mean when we say fret, this is a located between two of the metal bars that are found on the fingerboard (neck) of the guitar. In most cases, a good quality acoustic guitar will have between 21 and 24 frets on the neck of it. It is the dots on the diagram that clearly indicates to you the position in which your finger(s) should be placed on the neck of the guitar.
When learning how to play guitar tabs occasionally you will notice that all the numbers appear on the same line one after the other. Plus you will also see that the frets you need to place your fingers at will the same as well. When you see this notation on the diagram it means that you should just pluck this one string and no others at all. Also it is through this tab you learn that you must play this one note and no others.
But if you find yourself in a situation when reading the diagram that you need to place each finger on to a separate string and on the same fret this is indicating that you then need to play these notes at the same time. The easiest and most effective way of doing this is by strumming on the strings rather than plucking them all at the same time.
But as well as the tabs mentioned above there are other types that you will have to learn about including hammer on, bends, slides and pull offs if you want to be read acoustic guitar tabs. The letter “H” denotes the Hammer On. Whilst Pull Offs are denoted by the letter “P” and Bends by the letter “B” as for slides these are denoted by a slash “/”. So for example, you may see a notation for a Hammer On, which reads 7h9 on the diagram in front of you.
Once you are able to read acoustic guitar tabs you then need to start looking for some that you can practice. Ideally go online and search for some easy acoustic guitar tabs and then pick a song (basic as possible) that not only do you know well and then start to play it. But be warned you will find it will take some time before you are able to read and play these tabs as they take some getting use to. But you will be surprised just how quickly you are able to pick them and read others ones as well.
Also being able to hear the song that you have been learning the acoustic guitar tabs for makes it much easier to learn as well. So even if you do think that you remember how the song goes when listening to it but actually being able to read the tabs as well will help you to learn and understand the rhythm and detail of the song as well.
By using acoustic guitar tabs in order to learn how to play the guitar will be much more fun and before too long you will be able to play several different songs quite easily. These you can the play for your own pleasure or for the pleasure of friends and family.