This lesson will help you make more sense out of guitar books and magazines. A firm grasp of all such basics is needed to meet your goal of being an excellent guitarist. Make sure you understand the points of this lesson and use you new knowledge when playing and writing music.

Example 1: Right & Left Hand Fingering Indications
THE FINGERS- The fingers of the hand that touches the frets are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 starting with the pointing finger as finger number 1 and the with the pinkie as finger number 4.

THE FINGERS- Classical guitarists have given letter names to the fingers of the right hand.

Left Hand- Used to press the strings down Right Hand- Used to pluck the notes.
Example 2: Fret & String numbers
THE STRINGS- Are numbered from the thickest to the thinnest with encircled Arabic numerals. The Fat string, is called low "E," string six.

THE FRETS- Are numbered from the end of the guitar closest to the tuning keys to the body with roman numerals. The Fat fret to closest the tuning keys is called fret one.
NOTE:If a regular style numeral appears on the TAB staff, that numeral is telling you which fret a particular note appears on.
Example 3: Reading TAB
Imagine facing a guitar neck which has been placed on its' side. When its all the way over on its' side the fat string would be the closest to the ground.

This is the angle you'll have to imagine when learning to read TAB.

POINT & CLICK on the picture at left to see this.

When you're reading TAB you're focusing your attention on the numbers which appear on the TAB STAFF. Those numbers tell you which fret a particular note is on.

In this example, the first note is played as an open sixth (thickest) string. The second note is on the third fret of that fat string (the note "G"). The next two notes are on the next string, the "A" String. The last note moves over by yet another string, all the way to the 4th string.

To make sure you have thew idea try to play the two examples below. After you finish click on the guitar to hear a MIDI file of the example. (MIDI file used over a Real Audio file to cut download waiting time.)
Example 4: Position Playing

A position is a group of 4 frets, each one of the frets in a position is primarily played by one particular finger. For example, in the First Position (Position I.) The First Finger would play any note in the First fret. The Second fret would be played by the Second Finger, the Third Fret would be played by the Third Finger and the Fourth Fret would be played by the Fourth Finger.


To play an out of position note you may want to stretch either finger one or finger four. Finger one stretches back one fret while finger four stretches up one fret. Think of stretching a finger as opposed to moving your whole hand and possibly forgeting what you were doing. This strategy can be amazingly effective.

Example 5: Chord Symbols
Any chord can usually named and therefore written in a few different ways. For example for the C Majot 7 chord you see three choices: either one is correct and is a matter of personal preference.
Keep your own musical shorthand clean and simple. The first example in each row should be your first choice when writing out chord progressions.
Study these chord charts as preparation for professional and academic situations in which you'll need a printed musical part to tell you what to play. The guitar parts are mostly chords progressions and rhythms.

The printed music that we see in guitar books and magazines can often be very confusing. Study these chart reading and musicianship lessons and reading all kinds of printed scores and guitar parts will seem easy to you. The more you know aboutr the language, the more fully you can participate in and understand the world of music makers.