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Learning Guitar: How to Read Guitar Tablature

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How to Read Guitar Tablature
man writing guitar tablature
Michael Sharkey | Getty Images
The following tutorial will help to explain to you the basic concept of how to read guitar tab. Although it may seem complex, learning tablature is quite simple, and you should find yourself reading guitar tab in no time. (If you're just interested in learning to read basic guitar chord charts, look here).

Guitarists are a unique breed. Chances are, if you play guitar, you are either self-taught, or have learned the basics from friends. If you were a pianist, you would have learned the instrument through years of private study, which would include both music theory lessons, and heavy focus on "sight reading".

There is nothing wrong with taking a more informal approach to learning music, but one of the basic skills that invariably gets ignored is learning to read music. Learning to sight read takes a reasonable amount of work, without immediate benefit, and it is these sort of skills that self-taught musicians tend to avoid.

If you want to get serious about a career in the music industry, learning to read music really is essential. For the casual guitarist, however, there is a guitar-centric method of music notation called guitar tablature, which while flawed, provides a simple and easy to read way of sharing music with other guitarists. Read on to learn more about how to decipher guitar tablature.

Related Video
Note Reading Basics
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