View Full Version : How Do You Read Tabs???????

12-27-2007, 05:10 PM
Tabs are just a bunch of letters and numbers to me. i can play the ukulele pretty damn good but never could figure out how to read tabs. can anyone help.
heres a song im trying to learn but im just confused hwat to do!!!!

Never Go Astray (Malino)

Composed By: ???
Performed By: Malino
Submitted By: Braddah Jerms <pokestop8@yahoo.com>




Middle Picking




12-27-2007, 07:43 PM
The 4 lines are the strings of the ukulele. The top line of numbers is the "bottom string" (A string) of the ukulele and the last line is the "top string" (G string).

The numbers on the lines are which fret you need to hold when plucking that string. When theres a 3 or 4 numbers stacked up it means to play all those strings at once.

The letters relate to various picking techniques.

h - means to hammer on which is to pluck the first note first then "hammer on" the following fret.

p - is the exact opposite and means pull off which is to pluck the first note while holding the fret behind it then pulling of the front fret.

If you see an 'x' this means to mute the string so it doesn't make a sound when strumming.

Hope it helps, Dominator would probably be more of a help because he actually writes tabs.

12-28-2007, 05:42 AM
Another thing with tabs is that some of the authors don't exactly put the names of the chords. The chord generator by Sheep Entertainment has the best program to figure out what chord you're playing. You practically can click on each of the different frets on every string to find the exact chord. It'll help in the long run with remembering the basic shapes of some of the main chords used in a lot of songs.

The program is right here:

You can download a copy onto your computer on the left.

P.S. If you download a copy of it and run it on PC, it'll open in full screen. Just press ESC to make it windowed and you're good to go.

12-28-2007, 09:13 AM
Im starting to get it. i understand all the hammering parts and stuff. do u play each string by it self or is there some way u have to play aa certain number of strings to pick this. like do u switch from string to string is what im trying to say

12-28-2007, 12:28 PM
I think that quit a difficult piece for starting to read tabs.
Maybe you want to start with something not so diffcult.
Like the Wipe-Out piece from Dominator:



Simple and sounds good.

If you mastered that try this one: http://dominator.ukeland.com/Images/jesusjoy.txt
(this goes on ..)
0102 you play with your tumb (one stroke). All the notes here have the same tempo.

If it happens that you come along something like this:
You pick the notes on the A string with your indexfinder and the notes on the E string with your thumb.

And more:
If it should be more legatto I us only my thumb (on stroke) and if it should be more staccato I would pick the notes on the g string with my thumb and the e string with the index finger and the a with the middle finger.

A nother good exrcise is this:
left hand: i= index finger, m=middle, r=ring, l=little finger, 0 = no finger
lh 0 m 0 i r 0 m r l r m i r i 0 m 0

I hope I could help you a little.

12-28-2007, 02:51 PM
thanks so much i get it now!!

01-09-2008, 01:08 AM
nice demonstration Ikaru!!!

01-09-2008, 05:32 PM
The other thing I initially had issues with TAB is that it doesn't really adequately show timing. Some tabbers do a better job, but mostly, they really don't. so, it takes time with playing the song over speakers and following the tabs you are looking at simultaneously. A cheap PC audio recording software can help with this by putting the original song on one track and then easier to loop specific sections as you learn the timing or whatever.

01-10-2008, 09:42 AM
Timing with ASCII tabs can be an issue for sure. I use Powertab to create my tabs and so it has the musical notation as well as the numeric tab. But even so my recommendation when learning ANY song from tab is to make sure you are very familiar with the actual recording the tab represents (if possible and most of the time it is) as well as becoming intimately familiar with the tab itself. By that I mean becoming familiar with following the musical directions within the tab (D.S al Coda, To Coda etc.). This is done by listening to the audio over and over while following along in the tab until you know where each part of the audio is represented in the tab. Patience comes fairly easily for me and I've spent up to a couple hours listening and analyzing a tab before playing a single note. This allows you to become familiar with the timing and helps reduce the overall time it takes to learn the song which I find very beneficial.

08-28-2009, 12:09 PM
Check this out (http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/12/06/uke-minutes-30-how-to-read-tabs/)