Tablature Guitar

It is important for the guitarist to learn both tablature and standard notation. Each has its advantages, and each conveys information the other does not. For this reason, many guitar songbooks feature both standard notation and tablature; some even feature a "tab-staff" variant, where rhythm notation is combined with tablature.
      Instead of describing the notes that are played, tablature describes how they are played: which strings and which frets. For instance, here is the very first song:

      This is a very simple song. The top line represents the first string, which you will recall is the high E string. The spaces between the lines are not used. Each number on a line represents a fretted note on that string. The number zero is an open string, the number one is the first fret, and so on. Try playing the tune. Take as much time as needed and do not worry yet about the timing.
Of course, print-quality sheet is impossible to write with plain text. Even when images can be used, they are often inconvenient: they take up more space and not everybody can write them. For this reason, there is a very informal and loose standard of "Internet tablature", using only ASCII characters. For example, the above tune would be written:

       This version contains less information. Without the standard notation (staff), rhythm can only be suggested by spacing, or less commonly by adding symbols above each note, such as Q for quarter note. Much Internet tablature does not even contain bar lines; timing must be discerned by listening to the original piece.
        (On the other hand, "tabs" are much more convenient than standard notation for conveying a specific finger positioning, precisely. Especially with alternate tunings, this is a clear advantage.)
        There are hundreds of tabs for popular music freely available at the On-Line Guitar Archive (OLGA). These can serve as an excellent starting point for beginning guitarists.
        TabWiki also has hundreds of free tabs and allows you to add and edit them as well for continual improvement.


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