- Understanding tabs - This section is to help those who can't read tabs


All tabs look like the following:
X:----------
X:----------
X:----------
X:----------
X:----------
X:----------


Each line represents a string on the guitar. The top string on the staff represents the bottom string of your guitar when holding it upright...as pictured below. The strings are numbers 1 to 6 from top to bottom. Below is each string with its string #.
X:---------- <---string 1
X:---------- <---string 2
X:---------- <---string 3
X:---------- <---string 4
X:---------- <---string 5
X:---------- <---string 6


Each one of those X's is a letter from A to G. This represents the note that the string should be tuned to. Standard string tuning, and what most DMB songs are in, is open E. This open E tuning is represented in the staff as:
E:----------
B:----------
G:----------
D:----------
A:----------
E:----------



- Basic Tab Reading -


To read tabs, all you need to do is know how to understand/read numbers and a basic understanding of the guitar. The guitar is sectioned off into frets. A fret is the space in between the metal bars on your guitar as shown below.


Each fret is represented by a number. In order to tell you what to play, we go by the fret numbers on the guitar. The following shows how we represent playing the 5th fret on the 3rd string:
E:----
B:----
G:-5--
D:----
A:----
E:----
   2


Although not commonly done, this tab site shows what fingers Dave uses when playing single notes. This is to help you, the user, play "exactly" like Dave. The tab above tells you that you should play the 5th fret on the 3rd string with finger #2. Fingers are numbered as pictured below:


Chords are when we combine notes and play them at the same time. It is basically strumming multiple strings at the same time(as opposed to picking a single string/note). The following is the tab for a normal D-chord with a picture to show you what I mean:
E:-2--
B:-3--
G:-3--
D:-0--
A:----
E:----


What this means is that you press down on String #1 on the 2nd fret, String #2 on the 3nd fret, and String #3 on the 2nd fret. The problem with tabs is that they do not tell you which fingers to use on each string. A normal D-chord is easy enough but some chords are harder to figure out.


When we come across a chord that isn't commonly used and isn't a "normal" chord, the site posts the fingers Dave uses on these chords. This is how an uncommonly used chord would look
(ENDING\Swim Naked Outro from One Sweet world):
E:---------
B:---------
G:-8----7-- <---4on8(2on7)
D:-8----8-- <---3on8
A:-6----x-- <---1on6
E:------6-- <---1on6 



- Advanced Tab Reading -


Reading basic tabs is fairly easy but there are variations that can make you a much better guitar player. Some of these variations include:


Hammer On's
Pull Off's
Slides
Mutes


Hammer On's are fairly easy to do. They usually start off with one finger on a fret. You play that note and then with another finger, hit the next indicated note. On the tab staff, it looks like this:
E:-2h3--
B:-3----
G:-3----
D:-0----
A:------
E:------
   2_4


The h indicates that you hammer onto the 3rd Fret with your 4th finger, after you strum the D-chord where your 2nd finger is on the 2nd Fret. The Dreaming Tree Intro shows how we indicate a hammer on when you start on no note(watch video also):
E:-----0h2-----2-------0h2------2--
B:----------0---------------0------
G:-2---------------2---------------
D:---------------------------------
A:---------------------------------
E:---------------------------------
   2   (3)     3   2   (3)      2


The number in the parenthesis indicates which finger you are to hammer on with(there is no starting finger becuase you play the string open).


Pull Off's are the same thing as the hammer but reversed. You start with a finger on a note and then pull that finger off while another finger is already on a note ready to be played.
The following shows a pull off:
E:-------
B:-------
G:-------
D:-------
A:--3p1--
E:-------
    4_1

It should be pretty apparent how to read this but you start with your 4th finger on the 3rd fret while your 1st finger is on the 1st fret. You strike the string and then pull your finger off the 4th fret and the new note will sound.


Slides are a very important aspect of playing DMB songs.There are MANY songs where Dave slides his fingers along the strings to get that sound. There are two different types of slides. There is a Slide Up and a Slide Down. A Slide Up is indicated by a Backslash(/). This is because the Backslash starts(from left) low and goes up. Similarly, the Slide Down is indicated by a Forward Slash(\). Here is how slides are indicated on the tabs(Watch video also):
E:----------------
B:----------------
G:----------------
D:----------------
A:-----------5\2--
E:--3/6-----------
    (2)      (1)


Mutes are a simple way of "hitting" the strings without playing a specific note. Here is the Minarets Intro:
E:-x--
B:-x--
G:-x--
D:-x--
A:-x--
E:-x--


All you do is lay your fingers on the strings without pressing down and play. When a chord shows an X in it, it means that string is to be muted. Here is an example:
E:----
B:----
G:-7--
D:-x--
A:-5--

E:-7--


This is a commonly used Dave chord where the D string is not fretted but muted and also "played."



*Credit and thanks go to J.Kanter and the dmbtabs crew for creating and putting all of this together