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Home | Starting Out: Guitar | Lesson 2: Tablature Definition | Lesson 3: Power Chords | Lesson 4: Easy Songs | Lesson 5: More Exercises | Lesson 6: More Songs

Introduction To Tabs

Starting Out: Guitar

Guitar is an extremely hard instrument to play. Not only is Guitar the basis of so many genres, but also, it takes lots of finger strength and flexibility to play. Since their are so many different techniques to play guitar, one must know the basis before he/she launches themseleves to far into theory. Do the exersises below to build up finger strength.

How to play guitar: Hold the pick in your right hand between your thumb (on top) and your index finger (below). Have your right hand on the neck, with your thumb hanging over the top of the neck and your fingers in a 90 degree position. This form is the easiest way to play guitar. Now you are reday to begin strumming.

On a guitar, you strum one string at a time. You rotate which way you stum the string, so you'll strum down, and then up, then down, ect., in a pattern like ^ \/ ^ \/. Do these exercises to practice not only stumming, but finger strength and coordination between your left and right hand.
To read a tab: finger the fret that the number on the tab refers to. For example: If the tab says: E: |--1--|; then pluck the lightest string with your finger holing the first fret. Remember, the order of strings goes (from heaviest to lightest): E  A  D  G  B  E. The lightest string is always on top of the tab, the heaviest is on the bottom.


Once you have become fluent with the previous exercise (it may take almost an hour to get fluent, so be patient!), then try this one. Tip: On this one, the starting fret is 5, so your index finger should hold the fifth fret, the middle finger holds the 6th fret, ect. It does no good to practice these without proper finger placement. This exercise also does great as a warm-up. Remember to take breaks from playing your guitar every hour.


Once you are comfortable with the previous exercise (known as the chromatic scale), then try this one. It's a little harder. Make sure to learn it going backwards, too. The finger placement is: 7: index, 8: Middle, 9: Ring, 10: Pinkie.




Now here's another form of the exersice above. It sounds a lot better, but is a little bit more difficult. Remember, constant speed and pacing is the key. Same finger placement.



Practice these exercises for a couple of days. Maybe try one exercise one day, then one more the next. It is important not to move on before you are fluent and comfortable with the exercise. The biggest mistakes are not strumming up-down-up-down, and not keeping proper finger placement. After a while, both should become natural without reminders.

Make sure to also learn your chords. Chords are made by doing a sweeping motion down the strings, from heaviest to lightest, without pauses. The most important to learn are: (Fret #'s inside the tab, finger after)
G: Strum All Strings

e||-3--|| Pointer




A||-3--|| Ring

E||-2--|| Middle

C: Lightest Five Strings, Do not strum heaviest (A D G B E)




D||-2-|| Middle

A||-3-|| Ring

D: Hightest 4 Strings (D G B E)





For more chords, check out the chord dictionary on the Intro To Tabs homepage.

You are now ready to move onto Lesson 2. Be sure to that you are fluent and comfortable with all these exercises, and make sure you practice these exercises frequently, since these are the exercises you should memorize and use as warm-ups.


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