pizza brain
11-08-2006, 10:00 PM
Hi every one I found these on a few forums and thought it might help people so if you know anything in here that's wrong please provide corrections thanks!
p.s. Would one of the mods be willing to change the name of this thread? It won't let me do it and it comes off as arogant now that I'm looking at it.
original post (
Anyone with any corrections or things I've missed, do contribute.

What the are these tab things you're on about?

Tab, short for tablature, is a system of notation for songs. It can be used for several instruments, but is mainly for the guitar, so that's what we'll concentrate on this FAQ.

Ok, so how do I read tabs?

The basics of tab reading is quite simple. Almost any tab you see online will look something like this, and be read from left to right:



So now what does that lot mean? Well the lines running horizontally represent the strings of your guitar (There may be 7 lines, if it's a 7 string guitar, or 4 or 5 if it's a bass), with the top one being your high e string (thinnest string on your guitar), the bottom one being the low E (thickest string), and I'm sure you can work out the other four from that.

So what about those numbers? Well they represent the frets on your guitar. Where you see the number 2 on a line, you'll play that string with your finger on the second fret. If you see a 0 you play the string open, meaning without fretting anything. If the numbers occur above each other you play them all at once, and have a chord.

So in the above example you'd play the low string open, then strike a note on the low E pressing the second fret, then pressing the fourth fret of the A string, then finally you'd play all strings except the low E, with your fingers in that chord shape.

Ok, so that's the basics, what about all these symbols?

Those symbols represent various playing techniques used in a song. Whilst there is some variations in symbols used on the internet, the majority of them will commonly be:
h = hammer-on
p = pull-off
/ = slide up
\ = slide down
s = slide
b = bend
r = reverse bend, or release bend
t = right hand tap
+ = right hand tap
x = rhythm click or muted string
v = vibrato
~ = vibrato
(5) = ghost note, or optional note
<5> = harmonic

If you need an explanation of how to play any of the above, check this page for a quick guide:

Ok! I know how to read tabs, now where can I find some?

For almost any tab you need one of the following sites will suffice:

Original post (

anyway's here's ths scoop on drop tunings:
low to high strings:
standard: EADGBE
drop C#/Db C#G#C#F#A#D#
drop B BF#BEG#C#

and so on.

basically, to get from standard to drop D you simply lower the pitch of the low string by a whole step. (2 frets.) from there on down it's just a half step down for each string till you get to the tuning you prefer.

as for how to tune these, a good chromatic tuner is definately the way to go. if you don't have one, you can use a piano, or if you're really adventutous you can do what i used to do and do it completely by ear, with practise you can get to the point were you don't need a tuner.