Becoming familiar with guitar tab notation is an important step in becoming a guitarist. If you just want to learn and strum a couple of chords, than you won't need to know how to decipher tablature. BUT if you want to be able to play as many songs as you like, you will definitely need to learn how to read guitar tabs.

Learning tabs is easy!

Learning tabs is easy!

First of all, you need to know that reading tabs is very easy. It may seem complicated at first, but with just a little practice, you'll be able to effectively read guitar tablature, which is great, since you can download loads of tabs off of the Internet, not to mention the fact that our own Guitar Pro tabs database uses tabs as well.

Many of my guitar students have asked for a quick reference guide on standard tablature notation, and for a lesson on reading tabs. And you ask, I provide.

Visit our page on learning how to read guitar tablature first of all, but if you are already familiar with tabs, or need just a quick refresher, here is a thorough reference guide on the symbols you'll commonly find when reading tabs:

  • h = hammer-on
  • p = pull-off
  • / = slide up
  • \ = slide down
  • s = slide
  • b = bend
  • r = reverse bend, or release bend
  • t = right hand tap
  • x = muted/dampened string
  • ~ or v = vibrato
  • <5> = harmonic
  • P.M. = palm muting
  • (5) = ghost note, or optional note

I hope this will make things just a bit easier for you, and remember that practice makes perfect. Things that seem difficult at first, like reading tabs, will turn out to be one of the easiest aspects of learning the guitar.

2 replies
  1. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    Great review on guitar tablature this was very helpful! I didn’t know what PM was, now I know it means palm muting. Thanks for sharing


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