Tablature, tab for short, is a form of musical notation with an emphasis on fingerings rather than traditional notation. Tablature is commonly used for fretted instruments.
The problem with tablature is that it doesn’t indicate note length or duration. This is where understanding note values will help as most tablature is written below standard notation.
Below is a sample of what guitar tablature looks like and how to read it. Tablature reads from top to bottom EBGDAE.
The chords E, F, and G:
E F G
Each of the single columns represents a chord fingering. The G string is pressed in the 1st fret and the D and A strings are pressed in the 2nd fret. One problem with tablature is that it doesn’t indicate correct finger positions for the chords. Correct finger positions are essential as we move into barre chords, commonly known as power chords used in most music.
If you begin reading tablature instead of notation, you’ll find yourself able to get through a piece more quickly, but limited in many other ways as tablature lacks musical structure that makes a song beautiful and dynamic.