HOW TO READ THE TABLATURE
Contrary to what we usually think, tablature is not a transcription we have recently started to use. It's origin goes all the way back to the sixteenth century. It is useful because it allows you to play the guitar without knowing how to read music and shows us immediately what frets and strings to use.
If you have never read tablature, you need to take a few minutes to understand how it works and know how to recognize the symbols that appear on the lines, which are the strings of the guitar.
Each line of the tablature is a guitar string, as shown in the figures below. The first string in tablature is the high E string and the sixth string is the low E String. So the tablature basically shows the neck of the guitar and the strings.
Now, the symbols that appear at the beginning, for instance, could be the symbol 4/4 which is the time of the song. The number placed on a line of tablature indicates you have to press that fret on that string.
In the next example you have to press the third fret on the first string.
In the next however, we must press the first fret on the third string.
Zero indicates to play a string open, in this case, the sixth low E string has no fret to be pressed so the string is played open.
The fingering of the left hand:
The fingering of the left hand is represented by circled numbers that are always at the bottom of the tablature. The index finger is indicated by the circled number 1, the middle by 2, the ring by 3 and the little finger by 4.
The example below shows fingering for the first 4 frets. Press the first string down by using the fingers as stated in the diagram and photograph.
The fingering of the right hand:
In this book we will only use three fingers of right hand to perform all the exercises and songs. This is the easiest way for a beginner to learn the technique of alternating bass.
To pluck the strings I use the thumb (p), the index (i) and the middle (m). The fingers used are indicated above the tablature.
TIP OF THE WEEK
The development of good guitar technique requires patience, persistence, and attention to detail. Don't take on too much at once. Try adding just a few songs to your daily practice routine, giving yourself time to refine them before moving on. Skipping ahead or moving on too soon may result in the reinforcement of had habits or even cause bum-out when it suddenly seems too difficult. Likewise, "skimming" a large amount of songs is simply a waste of time. There are no short cuts. By patiently working with a smaller amount of material, your progress will be much more obvious and rewarding.
When tackling each song, start slowly, paying close attention to all of the details important to its per-formance. Establishing good habits from the start is far easier than "reprogramming" later. Once you become comfortable with the song and can consistently reproduce it without mistakes, gradually raise your tempo.
I strongly suggest the use of a metronome for this procedure. The mechanized pulse is indispensable in solidifying your performance of the song rhythmically. The metronome also provides a gauge with which you can measure your progress as you gradually increase the tempo on a piece.
In regard to electric guitarists who use effects (distortion/overdrive, delay, compression, chorus, etc.) be sure to practice the exercises with dry, clean tone (no effects) at first. This will reveal any less obvi-ous mistakes and weaknesses in general execution. Once you are able to perform an exercise using dry and clean tone, add your usual effects in order to further refine your technique and ultimately achieve the desired tone.
WARNING: Never practice to the point of pain. This can cause injury to the fragile muscles and tendons of the hands and wrist. If you experience any discomfort, stop and rest your hands. Begin practicing again, only when you feel 100%.