For beginners wishing to learn guitar, a primary step is to learn the guitar tabs or guitar tablature. This refers to the music notations that help the player read the music.
In guitar tabs, six lines are used to represent the six strings. While the bottom string is denoted by the bottom line, the top string represents the top line. Thanks to the numbers written on these lines, you can know the frets that need to be played.
For example, if you find the number 0, then you need to play the open string. If you find numbers like 1, 2, 3 or 4, you should press your finger on the corresponding fret as you play, keeping the fact in mind that the fret closest to the stock is marked as 1, with the numbers showing an increasing trend as they get closer to the body.
When you come across vertically aligned numbers, you should play the chords at the same time. Sometimes, even the chord names are written in the notations.
When you learn to play guitar tabs, looking for additional symbols telling you about how a specific note is played is also a good way to progress fast. E.g. for hammer on, you will find the letter “h” inserted between the hammered on fret and the original fret, while a “p” or “^” is noted between the pulled off fret and the original fret in case of pull off. Other common symbols are a dot or “x” below the number denoting string mute, or a “t” conjunction with the hammer on and pull off techniques indicating right hand tapping.
Learning guitar tabs is important, as it shows you the exact locations where your fingers should rest. Though some people often complain that these tabs are ineffective for knowing how long you have to hold the note, they are considered to be useful for making the task of reading standard music easier. So, despite their certain limitations, guitar tabs play an important role in deciding how your notes will flow. That’s why you should master these tabs.