Acoustic Guitar Tablatures or Tabs

playing guitarI didn’t learn how to play acoustic guitar to impress others. Instead I saw guitar as a great way to entertain myself and enjoy my favourite songs, even when the radio wasn’t available. I could head to my bedroom, pick up my and play without bothering others in the family.

Today I play my acoustic guitar right in the living room while we’re watching TV and not really bother anyone. Note that I don’t bang on my guitar like some of my son’s friends do. That would bother anyone trying to do anything, in my opinion of course.

Learning From Tablatures AKA Tabs

When you look at a guitar tab you are looking at the neck of a six string guitar. If you look at the Happy Birthday tab below you’ll see that it’s marked on the left with the names of the six strings, E B G D A E.

happy birthday tabs

If you flip your guitar over so the strings are facing you it’s easier to see how they match.

acoustic guitar strings

I don’t read music very well but I do find it pretty easy to read guitar tabs.

Most tabs I find today look very similar to the one I’ve shown above but these don’t give any timing, however I have found many tablatures that are broken into measures so it’s easier to get the timing right. Usually I have the song playing in the background while I’m learning the tabs, just so I have the right timing.

Finding Tablatures For The Songs You Like

When I am looking for song tabs I will do a simple search using Google. If I am looking for Margaritaville tabs by Jimmy Buffett I will type the following:

Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett tabs

Note: You will find that a lot of people will use the word tabs when posting songs lyrics and chords, just to get more traffic but it doesn’t mean that they will all have the tablatures. Most will be likely to have only the chords, so you may have to look through a few of the links in the listings.

guitar tab for margaritaville

Like the tab above it most often gives you that distinctive melody that sticks in your head but isn’t always so easy to figure out. Usually when you play a riff like the Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville everyone recognizes it immediately. So it’s nice to know them to give a bit of an intro to the song.

I don’t do so well at learning by ear. I can get some of the chords but then get so frustrated with it. So when I want to learn a new song quickly I look for the guitar chords and to learn the intros or riffs in the song I look for guitar tabs.

There are literally thousands upon thousands of guitar tabs available and I’m still finding them for songs I know that I had forgotten about for years. So much fun learning how to play guitar using tablatures.

Incoming search terms:

  • happy birthday guitar tab

What The Heck Are Guitar Tabs

questions about tabsPerhaps you are completely new to playing guitar and guitar tabs or tablatures, we all started there at one point, right. Guitar tabs can look scary to the new guitar playing, so don’t feel like you’re alone when you look at them and scratch your head.

Learning to play guitar tabs can seem complex and have confused a few of my friends when I showed them how I learned leads and riffs they would like to learn. It’s not as difficult as it looks and with a little understand it all becomes clear.

Okay, So Just What Are Guitar Tablatures?

Guitar tabs, also known as guitar tablatures, are a musical notation forms that tell the guitar player the finger positions for each note played. The tablature bar or music staff represents the neck of your guitar and shows finger positioning instead of the individual notes.

Once I learned and practiced guitar tabs they became really easy to follow. I think it’s a great way to display as one doesn’t need to know the notes.

It’s a form of writing music for the guitar that easy. You don’t even need a musical background to write tabs. You just need to represent your guitar neck and frets. From there you just place a dot on the tab staff where each note is played.

Even a beginner guitar player can learn to read tabs and even write tabs after just a few minutes. They just look difficult but are rather easy at the basic level.

A Note On Basic Beginner Guitar Tabs

The music staff for tablatures kind of looks like your guitar neck. If you were to lay the tabs along the neck of your guitar you can see it represents your six string guitar. Although I have seen some people use it backwards, perhaps left handed guitar players. It can be a bit confusing when that happens.

Here is an example of a tablature for Happy Birthday.

happy birthday tabs

This is the simplest example I could find as there are a lot of variations in how even Happy Birthday can be played. The bottom line on this tablature represents the lowest E string, next is the A, then D, next G, then B and finally the high E string.

In this example I found all the notes are played on the high E string.

What Do The Numbers Mean

So now you know what the lines represent but what do the numbers on each string represent?

This is easy as they represent the fret to hold a finger on while striking the string or strings. So the number zero means you hit the string without holding it down at all. Two is telling you to put a finger on the second fret and so on.

happy birthday tabs

The spacing between each note is the timing or beats, however not all tablature writers are concerned with noting the timing and more about what note is being hit.

Here is another example of Happy Birthday using different strings and has a little different ending.

happybirthdaytab

So if you’ve been intimidated with guitar tabs, like my buddy Gary was, well stop fretting and start practicing. When I want to learn tabs I use Google to do a search and usually find GuitarTabs.com or tabs.ultimate-guitar.com and happy playing.

Incoming search terms:

  • happy birthday tabs on guitar