Obviously you will need to know how to read some sort of music if you want to play guitar, especially if you plan on using GLI. There are two types of music to use when it comes to playing the guitar. One is the old school type of notation, and the other is called tablature. Many guitarists use tablature because it is very easy to read, but you should know that there are several downfalls to using tablature.
Because tablature consists of numbers and lines, it leaves out the importance of seeing chord shapes in musical form. Also, since tablature is only used by guitarists, it makes it very difficult for guitarists to communicate with other musicians like those who play piano and wind instruments. Tablature also leaves out the rhythms of the notes to play, so unless you know how the song goes, tablature may be useless to you.
Throughout the lessons in GLI, there will be music examples to help you learn. Don’t worry, our examples will consist of both guitar tablature and music notation. But first, you have to know how to read both of them. Lets start with tablature, or tab for short.
This is the first example of the music you will see on GLI. The top half is music notation and the bottom half is what we are focused on in this lesson: tab. Tab can easily be recognized by the lines and numbers it contains. There are other things beside numbers and lines on tab, you will need to know what they mean as well. This example shows us some of the most used symbols in tab music. There are 6 lines: the bottom line represents the bottom string on the guitar. The top lines represent the top and highest string on the guitar, and the numbers tell which fret to use.
This example can be divided up into sections called measures. Each vertical line shows the end and start of a new measure. All the GLI examples will have measure numbers on top of the examples in red. Measure 1 starts right atthe numerical symbol 1, and ends at the symbol 2. So, this example has two whole measures and a snippet of measure 3, but there aren’t any notes in that measure. But how do we know when a measure is complete?
The next thing we need to know is called time signature. The time signature will tell us how many notes can fit into a measure before a new measure starts. Sometimes tablature will tell what the time signature is and sometimes it will not. In GLI there will always be notation music above the tablature, so you can always look there to find the time signature. It will be two numbers on top of each other, like a 4 over another 4. This is called 4-4 time and is the most common time signature in music. The bottom number signifies what note will get the beat, and the top number shows how many of those notes are in a measure. Different numbers stand for different notes and time signatures, but to start with, we will stick to 4/4 time. There will be a lesson all about time signatures later on.
Other than numbers, there are various symbols that come with tablature. In our example we can divide the measures up into four beats: the first note, second note, third and fourth notes are all beats of the measure. The first two beats, numbers 3 and 5 are just plain notes. In the first measure, beats 3 and 4, or numbers 2 and 5, have a slanted and curved line between them. The curved line is common in all notation music. This simply means to slur the notes together, or don’t re-articulate them. So instead of plucking both notes, you would only pluck the first one. The slanted line means to slide your finger up from the first note to the second. If you’re looking to impress, this is called a glissando, but we are guitar players… just stick with calling it a ‘slide.’
When you see numbers stacked on top of each other, it means to play them all at the same time, also called a chord. Measure 2, beat 1 is a C chord. When there are Xs it means to mute the strings. Mute the strings by putting your fingers over them so they don’t vibrate. Do not push them down so much that they are being fretted. This will make a chucking sound.
The next symbol is the slur. Instead of sliding, pluck the first note, and then fret the next note without plucking it again. This is shown in beats 3 and 4 of measure 2. This will produce the same style sound as the slide, but you won’t hear the note in the middle.
At first this should feel like a ton of information. Like any new hobby or skill you learn, everything you read at first will seem very confusing and complicated. Make sure you watch the videos as well as the forum. There are many people you can discuss music with... it is only there to help you! www.guitarlessoninsider.com/forum