Archive | April, 2013

Reading Guitar Tablature

Tablature is a system of reading guitar music which is based on fret numbers as opposed to symbols on a staff.  As guitarists we have two options when it comes to reading music.  One is standard notation, which is essential for translating music to anyone who’s not a guitar or bass player, and the other is tablature.  There are many people who will disagree with me on this, but I feel that learning how to read tablature and rhythms is enough to get by for the casual guitarist.  However, if you want to begin to learn music theory, get into the realms of jazz or classical music or pursue music as a career, then it is essential that you learn how to read standard notation.

Introducing standard notation too early on can be a little boring for guitarists excited to start playing the music that they love, so I almost always start with teaching tablature (unless the music that they love happens to be jazz or classical).  Once you’re able to read tablature there are endless resources available to you on the internet and in transcription books to keep you busy for a long, long time.  The good news is that tablature is an incredibly simple system for translating guitar music.  Once you get the basics of reading tabs, you should find a teacher or a book that explains reading rhythms.  This is really important in comprehending more complex solo passages or strumming patterns, and is often overlooked by guitarists.

This is what a line of blank tablature looks like:

Continue reading to learn more about how to read tablature

The Beginner Guitarist

There are a lot of different reasons people decide to play an instrument.  As a child it’s usually because someone you look up to in your life plays music, your parents decide they want you to learn music, or maybe you just heard something that caught your interest, and you want to try to emulate it.  In my case it was all of the above.

Adults, however, end up picking up an instrument usually after years of regretting not learning one as a child, or simply because they’ve enjoyed listening to music for so long they want to take a crack at it themselves.  Regardless of why you may have decided to start playing music, the next step is deciding what instrument to play.  Guitar being one of the most popular instruments in contemporary music is the first choice for many.  The sounds of acoustic and electric guitar are everywhere: radio, TV, internet; and a lot of people start playing music because they’ve specifically fallen in love with the guitar.  The truth is that it’s one of the most versatile instruments out there, and can be heard in virtually every genre of music.

Because guitar is such a pervasive instrument, it can also seem like a lot to take on.  Should I start with acoustic or electric?  What should I start learning first?  Should I take lessons?  And on and on and on…  In the following articles we’re going to help answer some of these beginning questions and hopefully get you started on a path towards enjoying the guitar to the fullest.  Like learning anything that requires technical ability, you want to make sure you cover the basics before trying to move onto playing Hendrix or Segovia.  Trying to learn difficult pieces right off the bat can be demoralizing, so you’ll want to start simple and work up to playing the harder stuff.  No matter if you think you’re a natural or not, the guitar will reveal itself to you with patience, practice and perseverance.

Continue reading for more basic techniques and concepts to get you on the right track from the start