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By: Maryellen Zelenski

Guitar tablature is a term used to describe musical notation that indicates instrument fingering. In simpler words, it tells a guitar player which string to pick, the position on the guitar arm and the fret. It is a concept that begun in Europe and was used for notation of organ music. A guitar is a plucked guitar strings instrument and its tab is based on visual representation of the strings and frets on it.

If you are a novice, guitar tab is less difficult to comprehend when compared to traditional musical notation. Typical notation informs the musician of the tempo and timing for every note - unfortunately these elements are missing in guitar tablature.

Before you learn tablature,here's a short outline of the various basic components of a guitar. At the end of what looks like an arm - called the neck - is the headstock on which the tuners are attached. The big container that serves as the resonator is the body, the opening on it is the sound hole. The point where the guitar strings are attached onto the body is called the bridge. Frets are located across the guitar neck as wire strips.

Each guitar tab line represents a guitar guitar string. From bottom to top, the lowest line symbolizes E guitar string, then A, D, G, B, and lastly E. Between the guitar strings are numbers - they stand for the fret you need to play. When 0 is used in tab, it indicates the open guitar string has to be played.

The next thing of importance for you is to learn how to read the guitar tablature provided for you to play the music as dictated by the tablature. The tablature is an encoded notation that the guitar player has to decode and pluck the correct guitar string and on the right position on the arm properly.

The initial step is to consider the tab provided just the way you look at your guitar. Just like the guitar, by now you well know that a tab has six lines which match the strings on the guitar.

The next thing is to look at the number on each line so you know which fret to use. The number 1 represents the fret nearest the headstock, with the numbers getting higher the closer you get to the body.

As you read and play the tab from left to right, at times you will encounter numbers which are aligned top to bottom. These guitar chords must be played at the same time.

Now that you've learned what to do it's time to find the guitar tabs for your much-loved tracks!

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