I need some help learning how to read some Chinese guitar tabs I found online. They seem completely different to the standard Western format: Guitar tab

I don't even know where to start with these, I suppose the first line is telling me which chords are being played, but I'm more interested in the fingerstyle which is why the 2nd line onwards just confuses me. Why are there x's on the lines instead of numbers? It's a shame because I really love this song but have no idea how I'm going to play it.

  • 1
    There is some extra info about this at my answer here: music.stackexchange.com/a/16843/9198 In particular, it explains about the numbers above the staves, which notate the melody line. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 11:30
  • By the way the text on the upper left tells you to use capo on the first fret. :)
    – Menglan
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


This is actually a really nice way to notate guitar. The chord symbol on top tells you what chord to play for the bar, and the tab itself is just indicating the arpeggio pattern. So for example, in the first full bar, you finger a x32010 C major chord, then play the strings indicated as eighth notes (which are indicated by the eighth note beams). Then there are a few hammer-ons written in the next-to-last bar when there are some notes outside of this system.

The numbers underneath are for the melody. The numbers are the scale degrees of the music, the bars beneath are the rhythm (eighth and sixteenth note beams), and a dot above means the second octave.


I'd read it like this:

Make the chord like the first line says. Then the x's tell you which string to play, starting from the 6th string in the bottom to the 1st in the top.

The bars uniting the notes are to give you the tempo of these notes.

The numbers on the top of the bars are a mistery to me.

  • 1
    After looking at this for a long time, my best guess at the numbers, underlines, and dots underneath the guitar tab is that it's a tab for another instrument, probably wind blown, and it's for the melody part that goes along with the words. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 1:59

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