Learn how to read tabs. Tabs will have six lines that represent your strings, along with numbers that designate where you should be placing your fingers. The numbers represent the fret in which you need to hold the string down. A 1 means the first fret, a 2 means the second fret, and so on. Numbers in a progression mean that you hold down the first individual fret and pick the note, then move to the next one, and so on in succession. Numbers on the same vertical line are meant to be played together simultaneously as a chord.
Okay, so if the diagram had O’s across the whole thing, then you wouldn’t even have to touch the fretboard at all, you would just strum it. However, this diagram has a couple of other marks on it, and those indicate where we need to place our fingers. In this case, they are on the 2nd fret of the 4th and 5th strings. The frets are the metal parts running perpendicular to your fretboard; they are what the string makes contact with when you press your fingers down. On the diagram, the frets are the horizontal lines. So count up to the second fret, and put your fingers down just behind the fret, like in the diagram.
If you are practicing regularly, like you should be (at least once a day) be sure to change your guitar strings once a month. You will be amazed at how much of a difference in sound quality a fresh pack of strings will make. You don’t need super expensive strings. When I was starting out, I got by quite happily on my local music store’s house brand of strings that cost about $4 a pack.
Justin, first off I just wanted to say thanks for all the advice and instruction. You make playing guitar easy and understandable and fun. You explain very well the hows and whys when presenting a new song to learn and walk it through so that anyone can learn. I have played guitar for 20 years now and have learned more from you in the last five years than the previous 15 by myself. You have also been a tremendous help to both my son and my daughter in learning to play as well by making playing fun and interesting. I have a couple of pictures of me and my children all doing what we love. Many Thanks to you Justin
I'm a performing guitarist in Dallas, TX. I play jazz more often than not, but also have experience playing many other genres (including alternative/experimental rock, blues rock, progressive rock, 19th century classical, 20th century classical, and ambient music). Some of the musicians I have played with have ties to jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis. I lived in Denton for 7 years while attending UNT, where I gained tremendous experience learning from and playing with others. Additionally, while at UNT, I took class ... View Profile