How to Read Guitar Tabs: for Beginners



Whether you are a beginner or intermediate guitar player, reading notes for a guitar can be difficult and sometimes confusing. Learning guitar tabs is an easier, simpler way of learning how to play a guitar. By following the steps below, you’ll understand how to read guitar tabs and realize how simple it really is!

Step 1: 1. You Want the Appropriate Guitar for the Song You Chose. by This I Mean If Its an Acoustic Song You Would Want That Sort of Guitar As to Give It a Similar Sound; Same Goes for an Electric.

(For exact sound you may or may not need accessories such as: effects peddle, or capos. Here are two links that will give you a better understanding of guitar effects peddles and a capo. ( ,

 For example the song we are choosing is by City and Colour called “Body in Box”, where a capo is used on the second fret of the guitar.

Step 2: 2. Next Will Be the Picking of a Song.

Something recommended would be to pick a song you really enjoy no matter the skill level to simply make it worth learning and practicing. If you already don’t know learning guitar can be a frustrating process, which is why many instructors say to chose a song that is around your skill level. By this they mean a song that is limited in chords or picking for beginners. If you have a song in mind and you are new to playing guitar you want to have a tab that gives not only the chord but the fret and string for each chord listed on the tab.

Here is the link to the song we chose for you to look at; this particular song is not an exact tab but sounds close enough to the untrained ear or beginner guitarist. ( ).

Step 3: 3. Once the Song Is Chosen You Will Want to Pick Up Your Guitar and Start Putting Your Fingers in the Right Positions That Are Listed on the Tabs for Each Chord.

For example the first chord to the song “Body in a box” is a G cord. This would be setting your pinky finger on the high E string (the smallest string on your guitar on the bottom), your ring finger on the A string that is the second string from the top, and your middle finger on the top string known as the low E string (or the top string from the bottom) Here is a link for a better picture of what a G chord looks like. ( )

Step 4: 4. You Will Want to Keep Doing This Till You Feel Comfortable Changing in and Out of the Chords With a Flush Motion.

The cords listed on the chart for the song “Body in a box” are E minor, C major, G major, D major, D sus. (There are links that show all the appropriate fingering for each chord at the right fret.)

Here is a live version of the song to help show the strumming pattern and the sound you are looking for.




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