For any guitar player just starting out in his or her craft, it’s crucial to find good resources to help find new songs to play and learn. Playing scales all day isn’t much fun, and the importance of fun can’t be overestimated when it comes to learning a new instrument. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you probably won’t be practicing often, and without practicing often your skills will never advance to the point that you want.
Maybe you’ve learned a few basic chords and you’re ready to learn your first songs — or maybe you’ve learned a few songs, and need to graduate to something more challenging. We’ve rounded up our favorite beginner guitar tabs resources online to help you take your playing to the next level.
What are guitar tabs?
Guitar tabs, short for tablature, is the written language of the guitar. The tab has six lines, representing the six strings of the guitar, while numbers placed on the lines tell you which fret the note will be played on. The straightforward visual representation makes tablature much easier to learn and follow than traditional methods of reading music. Newbies to the world of playing music can start learning new songs on the guitar very quickly by reading tabs without needing to invest the energy required to sight read music traditionally.
The best resource we’ve found on how to read guitar tablature is this article on ThoughtCo.com. It explains the basis of how to understand the tab staff and interpret the numbers to see which fret to place your finger on. From these most basic elements of tablature reading, this article will guide you through all of the more complicated tab notations you may come across.
Getting started with tabs
Now that you can read guitar tabs, it’s time to find them — and turn them into music. For absolute beginners, we recommend the Guitar Tabs for Beginners page of the National Guitar Academy’s website. This article demonstrates how to break down a song and begin by learning one popular riff from a common song. The author gives advice on how to handle potentially tricky parts, and recommends starting slow and gradually increasing the speed as you grow more comfortable with the melody and develop muscle memory.
The instructor even provides videos that offer an additional visual aid as you’re working towards mastery of the easy rock guitar tabs provided on the site.
Finding guitar tabs free for all levels
The National Guitar Academy will guide you through 20 easy guitar tabs to get you started. It’s crucial to take things slow and follow an order such as this one to avoid becoming frustrated when your skills don’t progress as fast as you’d like. But once you’re ready to branch out, we recommend Ultimate-Guitar.com, which has a massive catalog of guitar tabs for beginners, intermediate players and experts alike. Unfortunately, it’s not free, but you can sign up for a free trial and decide if it’s worth the money to you.
For a free guitar tab resource with beginner guitar songs and beyond, check out Songsterr.com, which features an interactive player that makes it easy to follow along. The paid version offers more cool features like an adjustable tempo, but the free version of the site has plenty of music to get you started.
Keep practicing with these resources, and you’ll hit your guitar playing goals in no time — soon enough you’ll be learning how to write guitar tabs and finding out how cool it is to create guitar tabs for your own music!