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Reading different music notations

Different music notations for guitar - what are those?

Tablatures

Tablatures are guitar-specific notation, that indicate directly which frets to press on which string. They can also display info about playing techniques, like bending and palm muting. However, they usually lack accurate information about rhythm and note length.

A standard guitar tablature has 6 lines representing the strings. The string names can be defined in the beginning, which makes it easy to write music for alternate tunings too.

Standard notation

Tabs are quick to grasp and easy to read for guitarists, but if you want to sing or play other instruments, write your own music and understand music in general, you should learn standard notation too.

It's more complicated to learn for guitar than tablatures, but music for most other instruments is written in it. A staff has 5 lines, which don't represent the strings, so a guitarist has to learn, where on the fretboard the notes are located.

For example the note E4 (high E string open) is in the space below the highest line on a treble staff.

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