I Read that I must play the notes from first guitar string(e bottom)and after that notes on the B G D A and hight E string,but sometimes guitar players hit two or three strings together and at the sametime for example look at this tab:

6 G|---0-------0-|---0-------0-|---0-------0-|---0---------| 
8 D|-------------|-------------|-------------|-------------| 

My question is that how I know what are the strings(notes) to play at the same time (fingerstylse to hit the strings top and bottom strings together?)for every song?

  • 1
    The first string is generally known as E, the thin one, even though it's at the bottom of all the strings physically.
    – Tim
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:26
  • 3
    Your example doesn't have any simultaneously-struck notes.
    – user28
    Sep 2, 2015 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


Notes that are played at the same time are represented at the same horizontal position; another way to say this is that the note indications are "stacked" vertically with respect to one another when the notes are to be played at the same time.

In your example tab, none of the notes are played simultaneously.

Here's a strummed open E chord (all notes played simultaneously):


Here's a picked pattern with simultaneous notes on beats 1 and the 3:

( 1&2&3&4& ) = (beats)

Her's a breakdown:

  • The first thing you do in this TAB is a "pinch" with the thumb on the 6th (low-E) string, and the index finger on the 3rd (g) string. These note indications occur in the same column, indicating that they should be played simultaneously.
  • The next, on the "and of 1", is to pluck the 2nd string with your middle finger by itself (no other note indications appear in this column).
  • The next, (on 2) is to pluck the 3rd string (with index) by itself
  • On the and of 2: it's just the open 1st string (with ring finger)
  • A pinch also occurs on the 3rd beat -- but now using the thumb (on the 5th string) and the middle (on the 2nd string).
  • etc.
  • in the first part i hit two e strings together but after it B is played alone?
    – philosophy
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:21
  • in the second part i must two e strings together and this is true for B string as we see on the image
    – philosophy
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:23
  • Did you mean vertical, rather than horizontal. Horizons are horizontal!
    – Tim
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:35
  • Iam sorry I mean Horizons for example in the first image two E strings are played together... but when i play B string i must repeat high E string?
    – philosophy
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:52
  • is this true for the second image?
    – philosophy
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:53

Tab is read from left to right - just like this sentence. If two or more notes on different strings are to be played simultaneously (or several strings strummed), they will be stacked in the same vertical plane.

Try to picture an imaginary vertical line moving from left to right across the lines of tab. As this line moves across the tab, it will intersect or touch the note indicators as it crosses them. If two notes are positioned such that this vertical line will pass through them at exactly the same time as it moves left to right, then those two notes are to be played simultaneously.

To help you see this- click on the link below to a tab on Songster, that uses a vertical line moving horizontally across the tab. User Dave reminded me that Songster actually uses this concept with an actual moving line.

Active Tab on Songster

Hope this helps you make sense out of the way tab is written.

For more tips on reading tab - check this out on Stack Exchange Tips on reading tab for stringed fretted instruments

Good luck on your journey. It get's easier as you go.


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