If you’re learning how to play the guitar, you may have some confusion over how to adopt the best fretting and picking techniques. Your friend may advise you to do things one way, while your tutor teaches another. Your frustration may grow when you learn that some people use sheet music with standard notations, while others use a code called tablature, or “tabs”, to learn new songs.
What are tabs, and how do they correspond to notes on your guitar? Learn more about when to use tablature and browse through our most popular guitar tab sheet music for beginners.
What Are Guitar Tabs?
Tablature is simply a written code that tells you where to place your fingers on the guitar strings. You won’t see this type of notation for other instruments such as the piano, flute, or bassoon — in fact, it’s written entirely for stringed instruments with frets such as the guitar and bass.
Many people find tabs easier to understand than musical notation, especially when they’re first learning the guitar. It depends on your background, though. If you were trained in a classical background on another instrument, you may be highly proficient at reading standard notation and find learning tablature more like learning a foreign language. In contrast, if you’ve always had trouble with standard notation, you may find tabs to feel like a breath of fresh air.
When Should I Use Guitar Tab Sheet Music Instead of Standard Notation?
You may be wondering “why can’t I just read regular sheet music when I play guitar?” — especially if you already have a musical background. Here are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with tablature when learning to play the guitar or a similar stringed instrument:
- You are a beginner when it comes to playing the guitar. Guitar tab sheet music is usually easy and fun to learn if it’s your first foray into the world of sheet music.
- You are learning guitar with a friend. Knowing how to read the same sheet music is essential if you’re playing the same songs!
- You plan to play guitar as a backup for your friend who sings, in a performance group with others, or as a part of your church band. It’s essential to understand this type of notation if you’re playing in an amateur or professional setting. Tablature and chord charts are frequently used in these environments to facilitate communication between performers and to enable fluid transitions between songs during a performance.
If you’re an advanced musician, or you wish to look at the sheet music with standard notation in addition to guitar tablature, we have dual copies for many songs. Simply look for the “scoring” section in our search menu and filter by this category.
Browse Our Guitar Tab Sheet Music Library
Overall, learning the language of tablature early in your guitar-playing journey is the best option as it will allow you to fuse together what you hear with what you see. Don’t delay in learning how to practice with tabs!