When it comes to wanting to play the guitar the first thing that you need to learn is the difference between guitar chords and a guitar tabs.  On the long neck of a guitar, there are a series of lines known as frets.  These frets mark sections of the guitar where tabs are placed.  When you’re just starting to play the guitar, learning where these guitar tabs line up will help you play music quicker and more efficiently.

Getting Started

When getting started many people will say you need to learn the guitar chords for the music first.  In a way they are right since learning chords will be the ultimate way a player manipulates the instrument, but for those who struggle learning how to play a guitar, focusing on learning the guitar tabs in the beginning will help quickly build confidence.

Understanding Strings

Now that we have the basics of the guitar neck down, it is time to move onto strings.  When looking at a guitar you will see that they have six strings.  These six strings are all that is needed to play any song you can possibly think of.  The strings on the guitar range from the first string which is a High E sound to the sixth string with is a Low E sound.  In between these two E sounds are the B – G – D – A strings respectfully.  When the player focuses on both the strings and the guitar tab positions they will quickly be able to manipulate the strings to generate the sound they are looking for.

Frets and Guitar Tabs

To play any song you need to understand the placement of frets, strings and tabs.  The first string is considered the zero 0 string.  The last string is considered the fifth 5th string.  When reading guitar tabs you will see a combination of strings and tabs.  If you want to play a low E for instance you would play string 5 on the lower portion of the guitar.  Remember that guitar strings are 0 based so zero will be the top string and five will be the sixth string.

Putting It All Together

After putting together all of these components, players will soon have a basic understanding of the guitar.  Think of it like typing on a keyboard; after a while, you build up muscle memory and just know which letter is where. With practice, you’ll build up muscle memory and finding the right strings, frets and tabs on the guitar will become second nature.


Relying on guitar tabs will get you far in the beginning but in order to really master the instrument the player needs to focus on chords.  By focusing on chords you’ll be able to create their own style and your own sound.  All musicians want to be able to play the greatest hits, but just focusing on looking at the strings and frets prevents you from knowing your instrument and letting loose.

Take your time and practice, do what it takes to learn the foundations, and then move onto the harder stuff.  It won’t happen overnight but in time everything will become second nature.