Everything You Want To Know About Guitar Tabs

Guitar tablature (or tab) is a form of musical notation. It’s just that there are no notes in guitar tabs. Rather, there are indicated frets and fingerings that are in guitar tab.

Every guitar beginner has encountered himself with the idea of guitar tab. In this article, we’re going to address and answer common questions related to guitar tabs.

I hope you’ll find out the answer you’ve been looking for. Let’s go!

Are Guitar Tabs Cheating?

Guitar tabs are helpful for guitar beginners, so the answer is no. Reading guitar tabs is not cheating. However, when you become intermediate guitar player, you should gradually avoid reading guitar tabs, more and more. You want to rely on your hearing as you progress in your guitar playing.

Think about it. Isn’t it funny to see a guitar player always looking at guitar tabs? As it’s been said above, tabs are super helpful when you’re a guitar beginner.

You, as a beginner, want to learn how to play some song you’ve been listening to. It’s perfectly OK for you to look at tabs. However, as your playing skills progress, you should focus on your hearing. Transcribing songs from your ear is a valuable skill.

You want to be able to play a song right after you hear it. That’s a skill peculiar to better guitar players. The bottom line is following: Read guitar tabs at the beginning. After you develop as a guitarist, avoid them as much as possible.

Are Tabs a Good Way to Learn Guitar?

Yes, guitar tabs are a great way to learn guitar. They are easy to read and very engaging for someone who just started playing guitar.

Also, tabs are extremely helpful for guitar solos. If you want to learn some guitar solo that’s complicated, take a look at guitar tab.

Even when you transcribed a solo just by listening to it, you may want to check how accurate you transcribed it. Another thing is worth mentioning. If you’re a guitar beginner, you’ll almost certainly struggle at some point. And more often than not, exercises can become boring and repetitive.

In order to engage yourself with your guitar more, you decide to play some famous riff. But you’re not good enough to transcribe it just by listening to it. So you look at the tab and play it.

That’s the moment when you put off boring exercises and repetitions for a moment. Just to play some good riff. And those guitar tabs are here to help.

Do Professional Guitarists Use Tabs?

Professional guitar players can sometimes use tabs. Some professional session guitarists can take a look at the tab just to memorize the solo they have to record. Or else, professional guitar players can write tabs for guitar beginners. Otherwise, they don’t rely much on guitar tabs because they don’t need them.

Professional guitarists have advanced guitar skills. One of those skills is a good hearing. Every skilled guitar player has the ability to play on his guitar something he just heard a moment before. That’s called a good hearing. Skilled guitar players can transcribe anything they hear, easily and quickly.

That’s why professional guitarists don’t have to look at tabs. They know if they play something right. However, professional guitarists are often session guitarists. That means they record guitar in a studio for other musicians. Sometimes they have to quickly create a guitar solo in a studio.

In that case, they may quickly write a guitar tab so they can look at it when they play something new.

Are Guitar Tab Books Accurate?

More often than not, guitar tab books are not accurate. Don’t rely much on guitar tab books. Instead, you can find a tab you’re looking for on the internet and see the rating of the tab.

There’s a problem with tab books. The problem is you can’t hear it how it goes in time. Also, a lot of guitar books are made in a sloppy way. There are many guitar tab books that have so much mistakes. You can often stumble across a book guitar tab that makes so much mistakes it’s nearly impossible to play a song as it’s written in a tab.

Online guitar tabs are much better. That’s because you can simply press Play button and hear how it sounds. That way you can tell if the guitar tab is accurate enough.

Songsterr is an online site that has many guitar tabs accurately written. You can assure yourself by checking the site.

Is It Better To Learn Guitar Tabs or Chords?

It’s better to learn chords. But you also want to learn how to read tabs. Without chords you essentially cannot play guitar in a meaningful way. Reading tabs is easy and helpful for beginners, so why not learning it?

Chords are essential for guitar playing. Not only for guitar, but for every instrument in general. If you’re not faplamiliar with chords, then you can’t play any music, in general.

Chords are the first thing you have to learn on your guitars. When it comes to tabs, they’re so easy to learn. They’re engaging and helpful for beginners.

Are Guitar Tabs Free?

Yes, guitar tabs are free. You can just type the name of the song and the word ‘tab’ after on Google search, and you’ll find a guitar tab in a moment.

There are enough free guitar tab sites and softwares on the internet. You can find tabs for almost every song out there. For free.

Why Guitar Tabs Are Upside Down?

Guitar tabs are upside down because it’s easier to read them that way. It’s like looking at a guitar fretboard from the perspective of when you’re holding your guitar. That’s why they are upside down.

It wouldn’t be natural to hold your guitar while looking at a tab that’s not upside down. You would struggle while reading the tab.

Can You Use Guitar Tabs For Other Instruments?

No, you can’t use guitar tab for other instruments. That’s simply because other instruments don’t have 6 strings like a guitar. And they are not tuned in EADGBE tuning.

Other instruments usually have a classical notation instead of tabs. Stringed instruments, in general, can have tab notation, but those tabs are different for each stringed instrument.

Can You Learn Guitar Without Tabs?

Yes, you can learn guitar without tabs, but it’s better to know tabs. Older guitar players didn’t look at tabs. In today’s day and age you can access any tab you want in a moment. So basically, you already know to read tabs because they’re everywhere around you.

As it’s been said at the beginning, tabs are super helpful for guitar beginners. And it’s easy to learn reading them. In that sense, it’s better to know tabs than not.

What Is The Best Guitar Tab Software?

In my opinion, Guitar Pro is the best guitar tab software. It’s easy because it’s user friendly. And you can easily write guitar tabs whenever you want it.

Songsterr is an online catalogue of guitar tabs. It’s also a software worth noting.

Read more about Guitar Pro.


I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If that’s the case, I’m more than happy about it! It’s always a pleasure to provide answers to my fellow guitar brothers.

Don’t forget to look at other interesting, guitar related articles on this site.

Cheers, and rock on!

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