Tablature Legend
 
   

This section of the Web site is my attempt to try and explain what guitar tablature actually is. As you can guess, I didn't write the book on tabbing, but this will hopefully clear up any confusion one may have.


Basic Definition of Tablature
Chords
Hammer-Ons
Pull-Offs
Slides
Bends
Bend-and-Release
Unison Bends
Fret-Hand Mutes
Natural Harmonics
Palm Muting
Parts
Rhythm and Alignment
More Than Two Guitars?
"same"
"then:"
Other

 

1) What does this all mean and how is it read?

Each line (or set of hyphens in this case) represents
a string on the guitar. The top line represents the
highest, first, or smallest string while the bottom
line represents the lowest, last, or largest string
on the guitar. The numbers represent the frets at
which the notes are to be played. It goes-a like-a dis...

e)----(string closest to the floor while standing)
B)-8--
G)---- Play the note at the 8th fret of the B, second
D)---- smallest, or second string from the bottom.
A)----
E)----(string closest to your head while standing)

1A) Chords

G - This is a G Major chord, but it is just
notated as a "G".

e)-3-- Play all
B)-3-- notes on
G)-0-- all strings
D)-0-- at the
A)-2-- same
E)-3-- time.

G5 - This chord is a little different
than a G Major.

e)----
B)----
G)----
D)-5-- Play only
A)-5-- these three
E)-3-- strings.

Octaves - These aren't technically chords,
but I'll classify them as such for now.

e)-------
B)-------
G)-7--9-- Play only these
D)------- Mute or leave this string open.
A)-5--7-- two strings.
E)-------

1B) Hammer-Ons

e)------ Play the note at the 7th fret of the second
B)-7h8-- string, then, without picking again and
G)------ without moving your finger from the
D)------ original note, place another finger on
A)------ the 8th fret of the second string,
E)------ moving the pitch up one half-step.

1C) Pull-Offs

e)------ Play the note at the 8th fret of the second
B)-8p7-- string, then, without picking again and
G)------ without moving your finger from the
D)------ original note, place another finger on
A)------ the 7th fret of the second string,
E)------ moving the pitch down one half-step.

1D) Slides or Legato Slides

e)------ Play the note at the 8th fret of the second
B)-8\7-- string, then, without picking again, slide
G)------ your finger from the original note to the
D)------ note on the7th fret of the second string,
A)------ moving the pitch down one half-step.
E)------

e)------ Play the note at the 7th fret of the second
B)-7\8-- string, then, without picking again, slide
G)------ your finger from the original note to the
D)------ note on the8th fret of the second string,
A)------ moving the pitch up one half-step.
E)------

1E) Bends

e)------ Play the note at the 7th fret of the second
B)-7b8-- string, then, without picking again, bend
G)------ the second string with your fretting hand
D)------ by pushing the string either toward the floor
A)------ or toward your head until you hear the note
E)------ made by playing the 8th fret of that string.

1F) Bend-and-Release

e)--------  Play the note at the 7th fret of the second
B)-7b8r7--  string, then, without picking again, bend
G)--------  the string until you hear the note made by
D)--------  playing the 8th fret of that string. Then,
A)--------  still without picking again, release the
E)--------  bend until you hear the original note.

1G) Unison Bends

e)-12----------- Play both notes, then bend the lower
B)-15b17--7----- note up until you hear the same pitch
G)--------9b11-- coming from both strings. Prime examples
D)-------------- of this bending technique can be heard
A)-------------- via Joey Santiago on any Pixies record
E)-------------- you choose to be inspired by.

1H) Fret-Hand Mutes

e)-x-----x-- Place your fret hand over the string(s) but
B)-x-----x-- do not play any notes, then pick the string
G)---x---x-- or strings. For examples of this, blow the
D)---x---x-- dust off of your old Nirvana records and
A)-----x-x-- take a listen.
E)-----x-x--

*NOTE* Random natural harmonics may be heard while doing
this, but that's just rock 'n roll for ya.

1I) Natural Harmonics

e)-12------ Place your fret hand over the actual fret
B)--------- or metal bar on the fretboard and lightly
G)----5---- touch the transcribed string to produce
D)--------- the notes. Natural harmonics are most easily
A)------7-- produced over the 12th fret on each string,
E)--------- so try those first if you are confused.

1J) Palm Muting

I don't transcribe palm muting in my tabs. The reason for
this is because I feel that if one knows what palm muting
is, he or she will know where it is or is not in a song.
Also, if one does not know what palm muting is, then this
should not be a concern of that person. If you are unsure
and/or curious about this topic, feel free to e-mail me.

2) Verses, Choruses, and other "parts"

I name the parts of the songs in order to help distinguish
certain sections of the songs from the others. Some parts
are given obvious names (the part with the hook is always
dubbed the "Chorus"), while other parts, such as Bridges
and Interludes, are given "luck of the draw" names, in
order to signify that they are different from the other
parts of the song. In other words, try not to take these
titles too seriously or literally. I capitalize all part
names because I like the way it looks, and for no other
reason really.

3) Rhythm and Alignment

Rhythm for the songs is not done in very fine detail. If
a certain section looks like this:

guitar 1:

E5

----------
----------
----------
-2-2-2-2--
-2-2-2-2--
-0-0-0-0--

it doesn't necessarily mean that the E5 chord is only
played four times. Rhythm is very difficult to tab on
Web sites, and most times, I hope that the
listener/guitar player understands the rhythm of the
song. At most times, the chords are written enough
times to take up the necessary space needed to align
them with the other guitar(s). Also, notes on the 10th
fret and up present another alignment problem because
they take up more space than any single digit numbers.
Again, the alignments for the songs aren't perfect,
although I'll admit that most of the time I spend doing
the tabs is spent on alignment and things of the sort,
and yes, I do realize that it probably doesn't even
matter. If alignment or rhythm ever confuses you,
e-mail me.

4) Five or six guitars in the same song?????

Some of the transcriptions feature more than two guitars
at times. One reason for this may be because I have
transcribed a keyboard part for the guitar. Another
reason for this is because, as you may already know,
when guitars are recorded, more than one track is
used to record the clean and distorted guitar parts.
Also, guitar overdubs may be added in the studio to
extra tracks to add parts to the song that cannot
be reproduced live without another guitarist.

5) "guitar 1 : same"; "both guitars : same"

In a tab, you may find one of the above, or something
similar to it, written in one or more places on the
transcription. What this means is that the guitar or
guitars play the same part that they were just playing.
It does NOT necessarily mean that both guitars are playing the same
thing as one another.

6) "then:"

I place the word "then" in between parts quite frequently
in order to clarify each part from the next. I use this
instead of adding more blank spaces between the sections
because, as I'm sure you already have noticed, my tabs
are quite lengthy enough without them.

7) Any more problems or questions, just e-mail me.