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How to Read Guitar Tabs

The numbers between the dashes indicate which fret you need to play on that string.
e|----2--3--4------
On the 1st string you should play the 2nd fret, then the 3rd and then the 4th.  Plucking the strings at each fret.
If the numbers  are under one another it means you play them at the same time.
e--0---------
B--0---------
G--1---------
D--2---------
A--2---------
E--0---------
This is the tab for the E Chord.
E chord on Guitar
Guitar Techniques are indicated through the following letters.
Action
Symbol
Example
Description
Hammer Ons
h
--7h9--
Pluck the 7th fret and hammer
on the 9th fret
Pull Offs
p
--7p5--
Pluck the 7th fret and pull
off to the 5th fret
Slides
/
--7/9--
Pluck the 7th fret and slide
to the 9th fret
Bends
b
--7b(9)--
Pluck the 7th fret and bend the
string up to the same pitch as
the 9th fret.
String or Palm
mute
x
e--x--
B--7--
Play the 7th note of the B string,
but do not play the E string at
the same time
Vibrato
v or ~~
---7~~~~--
Pluck the 7th fret and add
vibrato
e------------3--
B----------0----
G--------0------
D------0--------
A----2----------
E--3------------
With this tab you'll play the G chord from the 6th string to the 1st, plucking one string at a time.
G Chord on guitar
Otherwise you play the strings one at a time.  Always read tabs from left to right
If you're following the free guitar lesson program, you will learn how to play these in the techniques lesson.
e|-----------------------------
B|-----------------------------
G|--7-5---5-7-7-7-7-5-5-7-5----
D|------8-------------------8--
A|-----------------------------
E|-----------------------------
Now you understand how to read guitar tabs!  Simple right?

Keep in mind that guitar tabs usually do not indicate any form of rhythm.  A tab will show you which fret to play when, but not how long you should hold the note.  Tabs are great for learning a song that you already know, but want to be able to play on the guitar. 

With songs that you know well, you can usually work around the lack of rhythmic notation since you know what it supposed to sound like.


You know what Mary had a little lamb is supposed to sound like right?  Here's the tab for it.  Try to play it now!
e|---------------------------------
B|----------------------------6-6--
G|--7-5---5-7-7-7---5-5-5---7------
D|------8--------------------------
A|---------------------------------
E|---------------------------------
wOW! You really are rockin' now ;-)

Instead of relying on classic musical notation with all its curls, swirls and italian, guitar tablature (or tabs for short) is a very simplified form of musical notation. 

Once you know how to read guitar tabs you'll be able to play anything you can find a tab for, which is, well basically anything...

A guitar tab consists of 6 lines, each representing a string on the guitar.  The letter at the beginning of each line shows the tuning of that particular string.  A tab for the standard guitar tuning would look like this:
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Reading Guitar Tabs
Learn Beginner Guitar Tabs
Learn Chord Sets
Learn Beginner Guitar Tabs
Learn Chord Sets
Where to from here?

You can either check out my selection of highly popular beginner guitar tabs, or proceed to the next strumming related lessons, dealing with chord sets.
Learn Beginner Guitar Tabs
Learn Chord Sets
This article will explain how to read guitar tabs.  I'm sure you've seen a song you would like to play in some weird ASCII format on the Internet, with all sorts of dashes mixed in with some illogical numbers like
--9-3-4h5--. 
How to Read Guitar Tabs

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Well if you don't understand what any of that means, you're about to discover the easiest and most convenient way to read music.  Keep going...