In Depth Guitar Lessons and Expert Help


April 17, 2013

Learn Tab and Standard Notation

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Written by: Mike Abbott

Learn how to read standard and tab notation – indispensable
assets to any guitar player!

Reading music is very much like reading words. You
read left to right, and you read down the page. In books, you read
letters, words, and symbols. In music, you read notes and symbols.
This guitar lesson will teach you the basics of Standard and Tab

Standard music notation for the guitar is written
on the treble staff (the lines and spaces you see
to the right of the treble clef.
Notes are placed either on a line or a space, each representing
a corresponding note on the guitar. Since you can play the same
note in many different locations on the guitar, the Tab
staff (short for Tablature)
is a great way to see the exact
location of a note. Don’t mistake the lines of the treble
for the guitar strings.

The Tab staff has 6 lines. Each line
represents a string on the guitar. Numbers placed on a line refer
to the fret on which you play the note. The 1st string is
the thinnest string on the guitar.

Many web sites that have guitar lessons show only
TAB notation. There are a few reasons why both Standard and Tab
Notation are included in Access Rocks’ guitar lessons:

  1. Standard Notation gives you a visual reference
    of a note moving up and down that the Tab staff does not.

  2. Those of you who want to learn standard notation
    get a head start.

  3. If you want to play the guitar professionally
    or study music at the college level, you had better start learning
    Standard Notation now.

Here is an easy way to remember the letter names of
the lines and spaces of the treble staff:

  1. Lines – Every Good Bird Does
    Fly -Bottom to Top line

  2. Spaces – Bottom to Top spells the word FACE

Time Signature
the top number tells you how many beats
are in a measure-this number might change from song to song. The
bottom number tells you that a quarter note gets one beat-this number
might change in more complex music.

This picture shows and describes the Tab Staff(guitar tablature) and the Treble Staff

About the Author

Mike Abbott
Mike is a pro guitarist and music educator.  He has performed with such diverse acts as the Rolling Stones Horns, Sammy Davis Jr., and Burt Bacharach.   After spending much of his music career in New York City, He now is a very busy guitarist in the Denver area, performing and teaching extensively. Mike's latest work is a book, The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook, published by Harper Collins and released in December 2012.



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