The internet is filled with bass parts for songs written out in bass tablature, or "tab" for short. This system of notation might seem confusing at first, but in fact it is quite simple and you can learn how to read bass tab in minutes.
You will see two kinds of bass tab around. In books and magazines, you are likely to see printed tab. It has a staff of four lines, the word TAB written at the left, and many symbols similar to regular sheet music. The other kind is text-based tab, the kind found in web pages and computer documents. It is made out of text characters, using dashes for lines and various letters and punctuation marks for key symbols. This is the kind we will go over in this lesson.