Ever been confused by tab? This lesson will show you advanced guitar tab – how to read more than 1 note at at time. It’s perfect for power chords, open chords and more.
Confused By Tab? Discover The Secrets of Tablature
If you are comfortable reading tab so far, this will be nice and straight forward. Take a look at this screenshot from the video. When you have 2 notes in-line or right on top of one another in tab, they are simply played at the same time. This example “0” and “2”, you’ll see they are written one on top of the next and not one after another.
With your first finger on the second fret of the A string, play these two notes together by strumming down on the 2 strings simultaneously.
Generally tab doesn’t tell you which fingers to use, but as you progress, you’ll find the best ways of using your fingers and it will become more apparent which fingers should be used when you’re working your way through tablature.
Here’s another example:
Again, looking at the tab on the left, play the second fret of the A string with your first finger and the 4th fret of the D string with your third finger.
“0” written in tab will always indicate playing the string open.
*Remember, the difference between scale charts and tab – When reading tab, the numbers reference what frets to play. When reading chord charts, the numbers (if written on the strings) indicate your fingering.
The songs we have been learning up to this point are essentially bass lines on the guitar. The next set of songs will step up your playing to incorporate new techniques like 2 notes at a time and power chords.
Must-know “Open power chords” tabbed out:
Open power chords use the exact same formula as what I’ve been teaching – just utilizing open strings. These are the types of chords that a band like AC/DC loves. Actually, try going E5, D5 D5 D5, A5 A5 A5 and you have the opening chords to “Back in Black”!
Here’s a super easy guitar riff for beginners and a great power chord rock song – Iron Man by Black Sabbath.
“Iron Man” was released with little mainstream attention on Black Sabbath’s 2nd studio album “Paranoid” in 1970. It had a cult following and grew in success over the years eventually earning a spot on Rolling Stone magazines “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and even a Grammy for “Best Metal Performance” in 2000. The only thing this song has in common with the Iron Man movies and comics is its title. The song tells the tale of a man who travels into the future and witnesses the apocalypse. Upon his return to the present to warn humanity, he is turned to steel by a magnetic field and ends up becoming the cause of the destruction he had witnessed.
*This song will introduce power chords in a challenging yet straightforward way. Make sure you’re in tune, you’re sitting straight are warmed up.
The power chord is always the same formula; take some breaks & stretch. We’re taking our fingers to the gym!
You can keep your power chord shape pressed down and even slide between the power chords like this example.
- Play your power chords with your first and third finger.
- When you’re ready to take the next step, add the root note with your pinky finger for a fuller sounding power chord!
- Plow through the two strings with your right hand and use the D string (that you don’t play) to stop the pick.
- If you find the last section of the riff to be too challenging try using your first finger to go between the 10th and 9th fret. It’s a good way to start working on the fast change and to eventually play a full power chord!
*Don’t forget about the basic ground rules – listen to the song, get it in your head so you know what you’re trying to achieve.
This is an easy power chord song on the guitar. Nice easy rhythm, and easy shapes – power chords! Cool, catchy song too – 21 guns by Green Day guitar lesson.
“21 Guns” was released in 2009 on Green Day’s 8th studio album. The whole album had a very political feel and was described as a “rock opera”. The title of the song references a military gun salute, and gives a response to those suffering in America.
This song is questionably easier than “Iron Man” and is a great way to start getting a handle on power chords.
*In the frame shot progression on the left, you can see the first two chords of the song. Note that the second chord isn’t a power chord.
*Your right hand should be playing all downstrokes. Remember to use the string below the ones you’re playing as your pick stopper.
Here’s a Palm Muting Electric Guitar Technique Tutorial. Get that muffled, awesome rhythm guitar sound which is essential for any style of guitar playing – acoustic, electric, metal, rock and everything
Rock Guitar Techniques Using Power Chords
Palm muting is an awesome technique that every guitarist should get dialed in. It’s that muffled, super rhythmic sound that creates some very iconic guitar sounds. Think about (or YouTube) the intro to “Barracuda” by Heart or the intro to “Welcome To The Jungle” by GnR. Yup, those guitarists are using palm muting in a big way to make those riffs sound amazing!
Muting the strings with your palm sounds straightforward, but there are some tricks you should know. If you have been practicing the right hand technique from the beginning, you’ll already be in position. It’s a very important guitar technique so here’s the steps. Your thumb pillow is about to expand across your wrist and other sections of your hand.
- With your right hand planted on the bridge, choose a power chord and strum down strokes.
- While strumming, slowly move the base of your palm up the strings towards the headstock and listen to how the sound changes.
- When the sound becomes too muffled and you think you’ve gone too far, back off a bit to find that sweet spot.
- The area of your hand that you’ll use to mute the strings varies slightly with different players.
- Note that your palm muting technique changes when you use a guitar strap and stand up. When your guitar is lower on your body, you will use the right edge of your hand along side your pinky finger. Otherwise, the same rules apply – just find the sweet spot to mute the strings to get that cool muffled, rhythmic guitar sound!
Here’s an easy power chord songs on guitar – I love rock n roll by Joan Jett.
Power Chord Graduation I Love Rock N’ Roll
I love Rock & Roll (pt.2)
Here comes your power chord graduation!
Reference the tab that you see in this chapter. Make sure you’re using proper fingering (1st and 3rd) for your power chords. It will leave your second finger free and in a good position to get that third fret of the E string.
So, as mentioned, this is your power chord graduation. This is an opportunity to utilize and execute what you’ve learned so far up until now.
As you might remember, we learned “I Love Rock N’ Roll” as a bassline/single note riff like this:
With this “power chord” version, we’re going to extend the notes into full power chords which will get your riff a lot closer to the original recording.
This songs starts with an E5 chord, uses an A5 chord and a B5 chord. Remember, that’s just like saying an “E power chord”, an “A power chord” and a “B power chord”.
These techniques and chords are all over rock music. A band like AC/DC comes to mind. Rage Against The Machine also used these exact chords and techniques on the chorus of “Bullet in the Head”. They are truly universal, must-know guitar skills that can be used across a wide variety of music.
Remember to get those “claps” that mimic the snare drum throughout the riff. It’ll really make this song sound great. After the clap, get the pick on top of the next string you’re going to play so you’re ready to go.
*Bend the low E string with your second finger when playing the 3rd fret to make the riff sound juicy! In the tab below you’ll see “3b” to remind you.
Here’s the tab to let you know where the snare hits happen (x)