How do you play chords that have no note in between them? Do you just pretend that it is a 0 or something?

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Sorry. I'm a noob on guitar.


3 Answers 3


Those are octaves. Mute the 4th string with the index finger. This is played in a million songs in Rock and Metal now. In Jazz, Wes Montgomery was famous for this technique.

Yes there should be an X on the 4th string, but with enough experience and listening you know that they are octaves.

  • Here is a video on the technique youtube.com/watch?v=XsQ6WFJweyU
    – r lo
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 18:12
  • A good reason not to put an X on the string in the middle is that octaves like this could also be played fingerstyle or with hybrid picking so you wouldn't mute the string in between, you just wouldn't sound it. If you wanted to notate the way I mute, you'd have to put an x on all the strings without numbers for every note or chord. So for economy of notation, xes are often left out. Commented May 23, 2015 at 18:59

You just don't sound the string in the middle. That is, you pick the two non-adjacent strings with two different fingers of the right hand, like thumb and middle.

There are also picks for that kind of thing even though they don't look like they'd work well with a full (typically every finger but the pinky) fingerpicking style.

  • depending on the song, you won't need to strike the strings with two different fingers; this might not be a piece in the fingerpicking style. you can mute the strings and strum if that's better suited for the piece, for example. another technique to consider is a pick between the thumb and index finger striking one string, and the middle finger striking the other. Commented May 23, 2015 at 5:16

I would consider this an unclear tab and look for another one, at least for verification. Typically, someone will mark in-between strings as open or with an x. Be very aware that a lot of tabs posted online are made by people that have no particular qualifications in that department, so your mileage may vary. It's hard to say exactly what they intended for you to do, since I have no idea what the song is. What you posted is used in Everlong by the Foo Fighters for example - tuned to drop D (in that case, I only play those two strings, muting in between like x5x7xx and so on). I would use your ear and compare it to the track and decide what sounds best.

  • This is not unclear at all. Play the octaves and don't play any other notes. Putting Xes would be redundant and unnecessary. By your logic, all four of the non-sounded strings should have Xes, which would be overly cumbersome notation and also would not reflect the option to play fingerstyle or hybrid. Commented May 23, 2015 at 19:01

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