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By: Maryellen Zelenski

The musical notation used for guitars is referred to as guitar tab. The notation shows guitarists which string needs to be picked, and also the position on the arm and the fret. Originally used for organ music, this kind of notation was developed in Europe. Guitar tab is a visual representation of the strings and frets on a guitar.

If you are just starting to learn the guitar you will find that guitar tab is less difficult to comprehend than traditional musical notation. Although guitar tab notation isn't sophisticated enough to depict note length or rhythm.

Before beginning it's wise to know your way around a guitar. The arm of the guitar is in fact called the neck, and at the end of the neck you'll find the headstock. On the headstock there are the tuners. The main part of the guitar is known as the body, and the hole is called the sound hole. The guitar strings attach to the body at the bridge, frets are found across the guitar neck as pieces of wire.

Each line on guitar tab signifies a guitar string of a guitar. In rising order, the lowest line represents E guitar string then A, D, G, B, and lastly the top line E. In the middle of these strings are situated numbers which signify the fret that the tab requires you to play. From the above explanation tab has described musical notation that signifies instrument fingering - what ought to be played. It's important to note that when number 0 is used in tab, it means that the open guitar string is to be played.

You can now see that guitar tablature is a coded notation that just needs your deciphering before you know which guitar string to pick in what position.

Step one is to look at the tablature 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.

Secondly, take a look at the number on each line to enable you to put the finger on the correct fret. For numbers above zero, press your finger on that fret when you pluck. Number one signifies the fret nearest the stock, two the next fret and so forth as you move nearer to the body.

Finally, play numbers that are stacked top to bottom simultaneously. As you read and play the tablature from left to right, at times you'll come across numbers which are lined up top to bottom. These guitar chords need to be played at the same time. You may be provided with the guitar chord name as well. Always be keeping an eye out for additional symbols that show you how a note is played.

Now you know what to do it is time to look for the guitar tabs for your much-loved songs!

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