Guitar Lesson 3

Tablature and Rhythm


Many songs written for guitar do not require you to strum chords but instead pick individual notes on the fretboard to form the melody. Guitar tablature is a simple way to represent the notes to be played in a melody and is very easy to use. The guitar strings are represented by 6 horizontal lines, and the frets to play are numbered along each line.

The only thing you need to work out is which fingers to use. A general rule for finger numbering is that in any string of notes, each finger should have its own fret – for example – play notes in fret 1 with your first or index finger, notes in fret 2 with your second or middle finger and so on.

Then as you move up the fretboard start again at fret 5. In the following piece, fret 5 is played with your first finger, then third finger on fret seven. The next bit can either be played with these same fingers again, or you could use your second and fourth fingers. For now it will be easier to just move your hand up and use the same two fingers, keeping the distance between the fingers the same so each finds the correct fret quickly. As you progress with your learning you may wish to experiment with using different fingers and there is no right or wrong method as long as the song sounds as it should do- experiment!


Try practicing this tune until you can repeat it to form a melody. Eventually you should be able to remember where each finger should go and it will become easier to play. As the notes become easier to find you are free to concentrate on the rhythm of the piece, keeping it slow and steady at first and then gradually building up speed.

If you found this information useful, please share it on Facebook, Twitter and Google.