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Guitar tablature or simply guitar tab is a musical notation consisting of 6 horizontal lines each representing strings of guitar. Take a closer look at the following figure:
The number on each line shows fret position. In the above example, it shows numbers 3, 5, and 3 respectively. This means that you must first play the 3rd fret of the lower E(6th) string followed by playing the 5th fret of the A(5th) string then 3rd fret of the D(4th) string. Hence, a number zero in the tab indicates open string.
Those who are new to guitar tablature find it confusing at first when reading the tab. Keep in mind that it is being read as if the fretboard of the guitar is lying flat on your lap.
Be sure to look for any legend on the music sheet when you read a guitar tab because there maybe unique symbols written depending on who wrote it. Like for instance, if I write a tab I may use letter "h" or "ho" for "hammer-on" or others may employ ">" symbol. Again it simply depends on who wrote the tabs.