Tab Reading Made Easy: The Basics

Basic Rule of Thumb (finger):

ALWAYS LOOK FOR WHERE YOUR INDEX FINGER WILL BE

  • Look for a passage that has a range of four or sometimes five frets. That’s one position (example A)
  • Notated slides often signal a position shift of the hand. You will often stay in the new position for at least a few notes (B).
  • Look for chords (stacked notes). They will show where your index finger is (C).
  • Bends will usually be the ring or pinkie finger (C). That can clue you to where the index finger and the hand position is.
  • Look for a scale pattern that can allow you to reach all the notes in a familiar way (D).
  • When a new note is ahead or below the 4-5 fret range and repeats, that usually signals a movement to a new position (E).
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