I've recently started learning tabs so I am confused with how to play these notes with the standard notations. enter image description here

  • It is already standart tablature notation. You can check here for more information guitarlessons.com/guitar-lessons/…
    – Nabla
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:33
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    One thing to look for as a beginner trying to tease out what is happening in tabs (they seem kind of freeform sometimes): assume the guitarist is lazy and then ask "what chord form is this?" Individual note are not so easy, but the top line looks like... A (2-2); G (E barred with barre on third fret, 3-4); C (A barred with barre on 3rd fret). The tab in the MMazon comment below affirms these as chords used ( the 3-4 could also be the A/G listed in that tab)
    – Yorik
    Jun 30, 2020 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


What you see under the tabs isn't the full standard notation, it's only the rhythmic values of the notes, i.e. the timing of the notes.

In other words, the tabs tell you what notes to play, and the rhythmic figures below tell you when to play them, and for how long.

In any case you can do this in a couple of different ways:

  1. Listen to the original song and read the notes from the tabs. In this case you'll understand the timing of the notes by hearing them in the song, and you can ignore what's below the tabs.

  2. Learn the rhythmic value of those marks -- quarter notes, eight notes, 16th notes, etc. It's not very hard and it'll be very useful. In this case, too, listen to the original song a lot while reading the tabs, that will help you to understand the meaning of the rhythmic figures.

  • How is that NOT full standard?
    – user50691
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:36
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    @ggcg I'm linking to an image that shows the full standard notation. The top line is the full standard notation and the bottom line is the tabs. imgur.com/BzvA5Jh In the OP score, on the other hand, you only see the rhythmic value of the notes below the tab, not the full standard notation.
    – MMazzon
    Jun 30, 2020 at 14:55
  • I see thanks. I am used to seeing things that way too. But if you have the rhythm and the tab does the SMN staff add value?
    – user50691
    Jun 30, 2020 at 17:27
  • I suppose that for a simple melodic line, rhythm+tab and staff contain about the same amount of information. In general, however, staff notation contains more information, starting from the key signature itself, and just by briefly looking at the score you can already tell what's it going to sound like. And of course, standard notation can be read by anyone, while tabs are specific to just one instrument.
    – MMazzon
    Jul 1, 2020 at 7:29
  • @ggcg some people just prefer to read sheet music rather than tab. Or, you're trying to improve your sight reading skills (in terms of sight reading notes rather than tab) - it's a valuable skill to have. Jul 3, 2020 at 12:58

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