Learn to play ukulele : How to read a ukulele tablature

How to read a ukulele tablature

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Type: Lesson

A tablature is a method of writing down music played on stringed instruments like the guitar or the ukulele. It uses ordinary ASCII characters and numbers, making it easy to understand and ideal for places like the internet. It's a visual representation of the instrument's fretboard
Here is what it looks like. :

              C
A|---------2--3---2h3p2-----------|
E|-------3----0----------3/5------|
C|-----2------0-------------------|
G|---0--------0-------------------|

How to read a ukulele tablature :

The 4 lines correspond to the strings of the instrument,
The Numbers show you where to fret the strings (a zero means to play the open string),

Like in standard musical notation, you must read a ukulele tab from the left to the right to find out when to play the notes. If two or more notes are to be played together, they are written on top of one another.

Each letter above the tablature denotes the root note of a chord,
Extra letters or symbols between the notes to indicate how to play them,


Most common symbols are :

/ for a slide up
\ for a slide down
h for a hammer
p for a pull-off


Rhythm and timing :

Tablature notation lacks accurate information on rhythm and timing (it will not tell you exactly lengths of the notes), and in most cases you will have to listen to the song to find out when to play upstrokes and downstrokes, or how long to strum a chord...

Lesson by , 07 Aug 2009

Comments (4)

Something to say?
KalaKiwi avatar
flag for PH(ISO2) (Pasig City)
how do you do a pull-off?
25 Jul 2017
rosa2k10 avatar
BTW..."The Numbers show you where to fret the strings (a zero means to play the open string)"
23 Mar 2016
rosa2k10 avatar
...but Absolute Beginners shouldn't be discouraged to try. Maybe your a natural with tabs and you don't even know it...yet.:)
23 Mar 2016
Yook_Doom avatar
What it doesn't say (anywhere) as far as I can tell, which it needs to if it's supposed to be for absolute beginners, is WHICH FRET YOU PUT YOUR HANDILY NUMBERED FINGER on. Thanks a whole lot. This is great for someone who already knows how to play and isn't an "absolute beginner".
05 Apr 2014