Finger Workout User Guide

Finger Workout™ User Guide

Reading Guitar Tab

How to Read Guitar Tablature

If you already know how to read tab, you can probably skip this page (or just take a glance). You should have no problem reading the exercises.

If you're not sure how to make sense of guitar tab, this page is for you. I'll run through everything you need to know so you'll be a pro in no time! Guitar tablature (or "tab" as its' normally referred to), is a way for guitar players to "read" music, without knowing how to read traditional sheet music, which is a little more involved.

A diagram with an explanation is all it takes, so please check out the below picture.

Guitar Tab Instructional Diagram

Hopefully that graphic made it clear to you how to read guitar tab. But just to be sure, I'll walk you through it.

Think of the grid as a map of your six guitar strings labeled from top to bottom. You read the numbers from left to right. These numbers represent which fret you should play on that string following along with the beat. The beat is represented by vertical lines and numbered 1-4, which is equal one measure.

So in order to play to the beat, you use a metronome (which we'll cover shortly). The metronome will click once per beat at whatever speed you set it to. In the above example, you count along with the beat and play four notes for each beat. The first note is the 5th fret on the B string... the second note is the 7th fret on the B string... and so on. Just follow along and play the notes in order. It's that simple. (Playing four notes for each beat is known as 4/4 time signature, which we'll also cover shortly).

Which finger you use to fret each note is important. The horizontal line along the bottom of the grid indicates which finger you should use to fret the corresponding note above it. As illustrated, fingers are numbered 1-4... with 1 being your first finger (next to your thumb) and 4 is your pinky.

Lastly, there are a few special symbols in red that you might see below a particular note.

The arrows mean you slide into that note (either up or down).

The upward pointers mean you should bend the string up to a higher pitch. The number within the pointer indicates how far you bend the note up. It goes by half steps. For example, if the number is a 1, then you bend the string up to the same pitch as the note 1 fret above the current fret... if the number is a 2, then you bend the string up to a pitch equal to 2 frets higher than the current fret. etc.

So in the above example, where you see a 2 bend at the 7th fret on the E string... the note should sound the same as if you played the 9th fret on the E string with no bend.

That's about all there is to it. Just remember to read left to right, and play the notes in order following the beat. Use the correct fingers, and keep an eye out for slide and bend symbols. You'll do just fine.

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