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Above picture there are some notes are written smaller does it mean play slightly more silent?

  • 3
    I'm not much of a guitar player, but I'd definitely play those grace notes in bar 2 as pull-offs on the B string instead of playing across two strings. This might be an computer-generated tab, so if something seems weird, it's a good idea to try other fingerings that might make more sense.
    – Edward
    Jan 17, 2021 at 20:49
  • Similarly for the hammer-ons in the final bar
    – Judy N.
    Jan 17, 2021 at 23:35
  • @Edward that would be the right answer! Why don't you expand your comment to a full answer?
    – mkorman
    Jan 18, 2021 at 1:02
  • I was just commenting on the choice of fingering given, not answering the question. They were already identified as grace notes by another user.
    – Edward
    Jan 18, 2021 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


does it mean play slightly more silent?

No. It means play that one note as fast as possible. It is called a "grace note" or in the Italian of formal music nomenclature, "acciaccatura". The time it takes to play the note is taken from the next note to which it acts as an ornament.

  • “It means play that one note as fast as possible” – I wouldn't describe it this way. It should be fast generally, yes, but how fast exactly is a matter of interpretation and context. The crucial thing is that the main note should still be achieved as roughly on the main beat, which means that often (at least in romantic and later music) the grace should be not only short but also slightly before before the beat, Jan 18, 2021 at 10:25

I'm not a great tab fan, but this looks like it was written by a non-guitarist.

The small notes are grace notes, called 'acciaccatura, which have very little time value themselves - could be almost seen as 'whoops, now I'll play the right note'. Often played slightly quieter than the main following note, wihich would then retain its accent, if needed.

On guitar, it's way more usual to play a grace note and the next note on the same string. If the main note is lower, then it's a pull-off, if it's higher, it's a hammer on (or, more rarely, a slide).

Depicting the two notes to be played on different strings? Well, it's possible, but unusual, and generally won't sound as effective, as well as most guitarists would look and go 'What..?'

  • Yes. Though personally, I actually find acciaccatura over two strings quite nicely playable, especially downward acciaccatura in fingerstyle: using the same finger to rake over both notes. (This technique is used all the time in walking bass lines on double bass, with the grace note being effectively just a dead note though it's technically an open string.) With plectrum, this would probably be called sweep picking, which is in general arguably also a kind of acciaccatura. Jan 18, 2021 at 10:29
  • @leftaroundabout - yes, I considered a sort of rest stroke followed through as well. Use it on bass all the time. More effective with a higher string for the acciaccatura note.
    – Tim
    Jan 18, 2021 at 10:37

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