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Tablature Basics
by Domenick Ginex

Today's article is about tablature.

Tablature is a notation method for stringed instruments. It is very helpful in learning songs and solos. It doesn't give you the exact timing of playing notes but it does give you the general sequencing of the notes and also provides the representation of guitar specific techniques that otherwise are difficult to represent with traditional music notation. Examples of gutiar specific techniques would be hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends, etc.

Guitar tablature notation will show 6 lines which represent the six strings. The top linerepresents the high E string. The bottom line represents the low E string. This is shown belowwith the rest of the string representations.

E-----------------------
B-----------------------
G-----------------------
D-----------------------
A-----------------------
E-----------------------
Let's look at an example that has single notes. If you wanted to individually pluck the notes ofthe open C major chord starting with the low C note, then the tablature would be as follows

E----------0--
B--------1----
G------0------
D----2--------
A--3----------
E-------------
The notes are to be played from left to right. So start with the C note on the A string then playthe E note on the D string, then the open G string, then the C note on the B string, then theopen E string.

Tablature can also be used to represent other guitar playing techniques as described below. When a guitar player plays a bend, a note is played and then the string is pushed or pulled up to a higher pitched, or target, note. To represent a bend, the 'b' or the '^' symbols are used. Specifically, the beginning note is noted first, then the 'b' or '^' symbol, then the target note. A release occurs when a bent string is brought back to it's original position and pitch. This is represented by the 'r' symbol. See the example below. It shows a bend starting on the 5th fret of the B string and bending up to the equivalent of the 7th fret of the B string. Then a release back to the 5th fret.

E-------------
B----5b6r5----
G-------------
D-------------
A-------------
E-------------
A hammer-on occurs when a note is played and then, while the finger stays pressed on the first note and without plucking the string again, a second higher note on the same string is played. A hammer-on is represented by the 'h' symbol. A pull-off occurs when a note is played, then the finger playing the note is release from the played note while another finger is pressing down on a fret on the same string that is lower than the original note. The second note is allowed to sound out. A pull-off is represented by the 'p' symbol. The example below shows a hammer-on occuring from the 5th fret on the B string to the 7th fret on the B string. Then the A note at the 5th fret of the high E string is played, then a pull-off occurs on the high E string from the 7th to the 5th fret.

E--------5-7p5----
B----5h7----------
G-----------------
D-----------------
A-----------------
E-----------------
Vibrato occurs when a note is played and the finger pressing on the fret is jiggled and wiggled in order to create the vibrato sound. Vibrato is represented by the '~' symbol and is shown below.

E-----------
B----10~----
G-----------
D-----------
A-----------
E-----------
So you can see that tablature can really help with learning songs, solos and music in general

Domenick Ginex is a guitarist living in Tampa, Florida. He has played in several groups in the Tampa Bay area for over 25 years. His website, located at http://GuitarLessonsPro.com, offers guitar instructional information for beginner to intermediate level guitarists.

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