I just bought a guitar today and try to play with it. However, I found I have a problem of understanding the note of tab.

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Under G, I do not know what does "3-vertical line-x" mean. I am thinking if it wants me to play String E, A, D, G, B at the same time and my left hand should press on the String B on the fret 3?

Also, under Am, what does 3 mean here?

Thank you so much.


  • 2
    This tab is too advanced for beginner. There are plenty of advice for beginners on the internet for example – david strachan Aug 1 '16 at 8:24
  • This appears to be a blend of tab notation and staff notation, and along the lines what some of the guitar tab software like Guitar Pro 5 use. I am a relative newbie too, and stick to the easier form of guitar tabs, and my (human) teacher. – bdutta74 Aug 1 '16 at 10:00

The "3" under the Am indicates a triplet, where three notes are played with the time value of two notes. The "3" under the G indicates the note at the third fret of the B string, which is D in a standard tuning and fits the G chord nicely. The "X" under that three suggests to me that the bass note of that chord is played in a muted or damped fashion; since no fret number is provided, I would recommend the chord root G on the third fret of the E string.

Above all, the best bet is listen closely to the music and attempt work out the unknown bits on your own. This will help train your ears, your mind, and allow you to readily transcribe future music. Enjoy!

  • I'm not sure your first sentence answers her question, and its probably a bit complicated for someone just starting out? – bigbadmouse Feb 13 '18 at 12:39

Usually with tab, a 'x' means mute the note, so it sounds like a dull thud rather than a proper sounding note - like you may do lots of the time as a beginner! This tab is being helpful in that it shows the note values (lengths) too. That's why the vertical line is there, it's one beat long.Two lines joined together are half a beat each, and as Kirk says, with a '3' under or over, 3 will be played in the time of two - triplets.

Having said that, it may be that the 'x' is what you actually play whilst holding down the chord as shown. Incidentally, the chord 'F7' in the 1st window should be called Fmaj7, slightly different, as the top string shows an open E note, not found in 'F7'.

You will learn over time that a heck of a lot of tab available on the internet is inaccurate, to say the least. Trust your ears more than tab!


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