How To Read Guitar Tabs

Tablature, or tabs for short, is a very approachable and easy way to learn how to read guitar music. It essentially shows you two pieces of information:

  1. Which string to play
  2. Where on the fretboard to play that string
Here's how to read guitar tabs:

  • There are six lines, and each represents a string on the guitar.
  • The top line represents the thinnest string, and the bottom line represents the thickest string.
  • The numbers indicate the frets of the guitar that you should play, reading from left to right.
  • The vertical bars represent measures of the song.

Guitar Tricks offers a tutorial teaching how to read guitar tabs, and all of our lessons come with both guitar tabs and standard music notation. For guitar players that want to learn how to read music, check out the Guitar Tricks introduction to reading music tutorial.