How to Read Tab

Tablature is an easy and fast way to write out music for stringed instruments. It is very hard to express rhythm with tab, so it is only helpful when you know the song.

The four horizontal lines on a bar of tab represent the four strings of an ‘ukulele, with the g-string on the bottom and the a-string on the top. The numbers on the lines show which fret should be fingered and played. If there is more than one fret number in a vertical line, play the notes simultaneously.

Powertab Legend

Tab legend for text document:

p = pull-off: place one finger on the note to be played, and place a second finger behind the first finger. Pick the higher note and lift the first finger off the fret to transfer sound to the lower note. 7p5

h = hammer-on: Place your first finger on the lower fretted note, then hammer a second finger onto the higher fretted note. 5h7

/ or \ = slide: keeping your finger on the fretboard slide up or down to the designated fret. 5/7, 7\5

b = bend: bend the string up so that it equals the pitch of the second shown note. 5b7

~ = vibrato: roll your finger back and forth rapidly on the fret shown to vary the pitch a little. ~5~

( ) = ghost note: play note very softly. (5)

< > = natural harmonics: place your finger so that it barely touches the string right above the shown fret and pick the string to produce a “chime” like sound. <12>

< ( )> = artificial harmonics: fret the first shown note then place your index finger over the fret shown in parentheses and pick behind the finger with your thumb. Using this technique you can make any note into a “chime” like sound. <2(14)>