I'm learning "Last Christmas" arrangement for the acoustic guitar, and have encountered lots of notes marked as "x" in tablature.


Seems reasonable, that those notes must be muted. But how? Especially when they are played together with another, not muted note.

1 Answer 1


x means to dampen the string with your fretting hand depending on what you are playing.

You see this a lot in tabs for metal and other driven music

In the case above, the sounded note is an open string and so shouldn't be too difficult to play; more complex lines may require some finger picking or hybrid picking if you are using a pick.

Often you see things like this which are for effect and sound pretty good with some overdrive (or not this sounds good acoustically too):

|-x--x--x-x-x--x--x--x-x-x-| X8
  • I had a go at playing the tab from the question, and why, in some cases, is there just one 'x' on it's own? What merit does that have to the tune or song? Does it help the player keep rhythm or time?
    – Ali
    Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 18:32
  • 1
    I guess what merit it has to the tune or the song is down to the creative licence of the writer; whether you choose to include that or any other part of it in your own interpretation is down to your own creative licence :).
    – Bella
    Commented Jan 15, 2011 at 18:36
  • 3
    @Alistair It's to indicate that the last note played on that string is still ringing and should be muted.
    – user28
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 2:44
  • 1
    @Matthew Read; I wouldn't say that exactly; in the case of tabs such as this the string is intended to be 'played' dampened; not simply muted; look at the previous one on the D string; there is no sounding string for the player to mute; the string is intended to be picked muted as part of the line.
    – Bella
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 6:34
  • Does an x always indicate a muted open string? Or is there a fret that should be pressed?
    – waylonion
    Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 19:59

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