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I was wondering if anyone could possibly explain how I could somehow translate a guitar tab into notes on piano. Is there some sort of algorithm I can apply?


    B|---------------------------------| Riff 1

What would this translate to on piano and how does one deduce this?

I think this means for example, G on the 5th fret, but what does that translate to?


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I'm not sure why the tab is not showing up. – jmasterx Feb 17 '13 at 14:18
fixed with <pre> – slim Feb 17 '13 at 16:59
An A on a guitar is an A on a piano. There's no reason you can't just play the tab with a piano rather than a guitar. If you don't know what notes are and are playing tabs merely by mapping the physical position, then you should learn the notes! – Matthew Read Feb 19 '13 at 5:50
up vote 16 down vote accepted

This image shows the note on the stave corresponding to each guitar string:

Score showing the notes on a guitar

The lowest string is E, then A, D, G, B and E.

It might also be useful to refer to a map of the fretboard -- there's nothing there you couldn't work out from knowing the tuning of each string, and that each fret raises the pitch by a semitone:

Fretboard map

Now, lets take first chord in your tab.

Seventh fret on A string, 8th on D and 5th on G. This means, that the chord consists of three notes: first 7 semitones up from A, then 8 semitones up from D, and 5 semitones up from G, which makes it E, Bb and C.

Tab, score, piano

I think the easiest way for you would be just inputting guitar tab into any program (guitar pro; power tab; tux guitar etc), this will help you.

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If we call middle C C4, then the open strings of the guitar are as follows:

e - E4
B - B3
G - G3
D - D3
A - A2
E - E2

From the appropriate open string note, go up the number of semitones indicated by the fret number to find the written note.


G|-5-    is G3 plus 5 semitones = C4

One thing to look out for: alternate tunings. The above is for standard tuning. Some songs use an alternate tuning, which should always be indicated on the tab chart. Just change the open string notes to whatever's indicated and apply the same principle.

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Here is the standard notation for your example.

enter image description here

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