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Reading Tablature (Guitar Lesson)

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David Wallimann

Reading Tablature

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

Taught by David Wallimann in Basic Electric Guitar with David Wallimann seriesLength: 7:03Difficulty: 1.0 of 5

Scene 1: Reading Tablature What Is Tablature?

Tablature (tab) is a system of writing music for the guitar. It makes reading music easier and more convenient for guitarists than standard notation. On the guitar there are many different frets that will produce the same pitch, so when reading standard notation there can be some ambiguity on how to play a written part. Tablature shows the player exactly where to play a given note on the guitar.

How to Read Tablature

There are six horizontal lines written. Each line represents a string on the guitar. The top line represents the 1st string and the bottom line represents the 6th string. When there is a number written on the line, it represents a fret. Play the fret corresponding to the number on the string corresponding to the line. For example, if a there is a 5 on the top line, it is referencing the 5th fret on the 1st string. If there is a 0 on the line, it means to play the open string. Chords can be written by stacking numbers on multiple lines in the same spot.

Scene 2: Note Variation

There are different 'effects' that can be given to notes you play on the guitar, and there are ways to indicate different effects for a note in tablature.

Vibrato

Vibrato is when you wobble your finger to make a vibrating effect on the note you are playing. The tablature symbol for vibrato is:

Vibrato Symbol

You may also see it written as a series of connected 'v's.

Bend

To bend a string, play a note and then push/pull the string to the side with the finger that is holding the note. This will smoothly increase the pitch a small amount. The tablature symbol for a bend is:

Bend Symbol

You may also see it written as "b".

Pre-bend/Release

A pre-bend is when you bend the string and then play the note. A release is when you smoothly move the string back to the original position, like a reverse bend. This technique is notated as:

Pre Bend Symbol

Scene 3: Your Turn

It is very important to practice and become skilled at reading and writing tablature. To start, play a random sequence of notes and then write them down in tablature. It doesn’t matter if the notes sound musical or not. The goal is just to develop a better understanding of how tablature works. After you have practiced writing notes you have played, do the opposite. Write a random sequence of notes in tablature and then play them on your instrument.



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Comments

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.


hiphopguitarist.comhiphopguitarist.com replied

Thank you, easy to understand and good to have some of the unlearned but necessary basics out of the way

Southern CashSouthern Cash replied

didn't know that about the backwards bend. thanks

philmetalphilmetal replied

really easy to learn the way you teach it!

jgalt1jgalt1 replied

You are a good teacher.

mark vmark v replied

THE SUPPLEMENTAL CONTENT IS NOT WORKING. FOR GIVE MYSELF BUT I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO TYPE

garrett24garrett24 replied

Yay! I can read tabs now!:) thanks!

coldheartedmiserycoldheartedmisery replied

very good lesson David. You're a great teacher

JanFeeJanFee replied

* to say that I really enjoyed your first lessons, the way you explain things in a simple way. I'll check the next ones !

JanFeeJanFee replied

Hey David, just wanted to sa

bigjimdbigjimd replied

keep it comming easy to listen to

dearlpittsdearlpitts replied

good job

jdorsmanjdorsman replied

Nice lesson David. And also a good assignment that should help familiarize yourself with the tablature system. Looking forward to the next lesson, keep up the good work.

oldrockeroldrocker replied

Short but sweet explanation of tablature. Can't wait for more lessons! Thanks!

Basic Electric Guitar with David Wallimann

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

David Wallimann will start you on your electric guitar playing journey in this Phase 1 series.



Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

David Wallimann introduces himself, talks about his background, and offers advice to new players.

Length: 4:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Knowing Your GuitarLesson 2

Knowing Your Guitar

David introduces you to all the parts of your new instrument in this lesson.

Length: 11:18 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Reading TablatureLesson 3

Reading Tablature

This is a crucial lesson that explains tablature, how to read it, and why it's important.

Length: 7:03 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Callus DevelopmentLesson 4

Callus Development

David introduces some great exercises for callus development and finger independence.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Learning ChordsLesson 5

Learning Chords

David Wallimann provides an introduction to chords. In this lesson, you will learn how to read chord charts. David also explains how to play your first eight chords.

Length: 17:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Barre ChordsLesson 6

Barre Chords

David Wallimann teaches six barre chords in this lesson beginning with F major. Get ready for a hand workout!

Length: 10:26 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Making MusicLesson 7

Making Music

David walks you through some easy chord progressions and encourages you to make up some of your own.

Length: 8:17 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rhythm & TimingLesson 8

Rhythm & Timing

David Wallimann talks about the importance of rhythm and timing. You will learn the basics of notes, time signatures and measures in this lesson.

Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Rock TechniqueLesson 9

Rock Technique

David Wallimann goes over some basic rock techniques in this lesson.

Length: 16:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Playing TechniqueLesson 10

Playing Technique

David Wallimann provides some tips that will improve both your right and left hand technique.

Length: 13:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
The Blues ScaleLesson 11

The Blues Scale

David Wallimann shows how adding one note to the minor pentatonic scale creates the minor blues scale.

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
David Wallimann

About David Wallimann View Full Biography David was born in Aix-en-Provence, South France in 1977. At the age of 15, he picked up the guitar and started developing a true love for instrumental music and composition.

In 1999 he was recognized by Ibanez for his promising musical achievements and received an artist endorsement. That early recognition in David's musical career encouraged him to consecrate more time on crafting his musical art and apply to the school of modern music Artist' in Cavaillon, France. He received a full scholarship there where he graduated with honors.

In 2001, David won first place for the Tal Farlow French national jazz contest which gave him a full paid scholarship to the CMA school of modern music in Valenciennes, France. He graduated specializing in advance guitar with honors.

Following his school years, David spent the next 5 years working with several bands recording, writing and playing shows in France and Belgium. It's during that time that Wallimann was exposed to the world of progressive rock which opened new doors to his musical creativity.

Deep inside the Mind is his first release as a solo artist in which he exposes his Christian faith. The album was well received in the specialized press and was compared several times to some of Frank Zappa's approach to music adding an element of humor to deep subjects.

In 2005 he joined the internationally renown progressive band Glass Hammer based in Chattanooga, TN. He released several studio albums and live DVDs with the band.

David is today working on his next upcoming solo release and is also spending quite a bit of time teaching guitar in his studio and online at JamPlay.

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