Currently working on learning Secret Base (arr. by sungha jung) and the tabs have a P over the chord. I dont know if this means palm mute or what because its not a pull-off.

Also unrelated im not sure the proper way to play ghost notes if anyone can help me

https://i.sstatic.net/VEBh8.jpg <-- This is the tab im reffering to.

If anyone else has any other tips on playing this song I would really appreciate it.

  • It could mean strum with the thumb instead of fingers. I wound think that more likely if Sungha Jung plays a nylon string guitar. Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 2:29
  • I dont think thats it because in his video he does strum with his fingers
    – JSASCS
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 3:34
  • For ghost notes, see music.stackexchange.com/q/2115/39614
    – user39614
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 12:27

2 Answers 2


In Guitar Pro (a common tablature reading/writing software), you can achieve this P symbol by selecting the note/chord and selecting the pop option in the editor:

Guitar Pro screenshot of editor

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the tab author probably wants to indicate that at this point you need to lightly slap the lower (or lowest) string with your thumb as you play. This is a very common acoustic guitar technique and when you listen to this song, you will likely hear a light "slap" sound at this point as Sungha Jung lightly slaps the lowest string with his thumb here.

In fact, listening to the song on YouTube, he starts doing this around 30 seconds in.

An alternative interpretation could be that it is indicating where the percussive thumps go (which start around a minute and a half in), but it depends where in the song your tab is from.

Either way, I believe this to be a percussive marking rather than a dynamic or fingering one as others have suggested.

  • This is kind of helpful but at 30 seconds in there is no P symbol in the tab and it looks more like a regular thumb slap to me. The sound later is different and has a louder twangy vibe to it
    – JSASCS
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 2:10
  • That's interesting. So what timestamp in the song is this tab from? Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 9:38
  • Right before the chorus. Around 1:20ish. I also think I know what it is. When you slap a string but let your thumb bounce off the string to let it ring out. Im not sure and it doesnt really correlate to the tab nut that is what it looks like in the video.
    – JSASCS
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 18:32
  • Also do you have an email or somewhere I can dm u if you dont mind because I dont get notifications from this
    – JSASCS
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 18:36
  • @JSASCS I use the Stack Exchange mobile app to receive notifications from their sites (even if it is horribly buggy). Tbh I'm not comfortable giving my email out on a public site like this. I hope you can understand. Commented Aug 2, 2019 at 10:46

It could mean palm muting, if you have a video it is easy to verify, but most of the time it means quieter (piano). Double "pp" means even quieter (pianissimo). Mind you, that is kind of what a palm muting does so you won't be far off except it will sound very compressed as well.

Regarding ghost notes (crosses on the TABs) you just play them by lifting your finger so that it does not touch the fret board, just resting lightly on the string.

If you know how to do harmonics, this is basically doing the same except your finger is not somewhere on the string where you can hear harmonics. If you rest your finger right in the middle of the string (fret 12) then you will hear harmonics instead of a ghost note.

It generally happens incidentally in 2 cases. One is when you strum a chord but you want to ignore a string in between 2 strings. You have no choice but to rest your finger on this string so that we don't hear the open string.

The other case is when sometimes when changing chords people play the open strings while moving to the next chords to avoid a blank. But when the open string notes are not in the key they are playing in, it can sound disgraceful. Then in this case they might rest their fingers so that we hear ghost notes instead.

And then obviously ghost notes can also be stylistic like the ones in "Smells like teen spirit" main riff.

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