Piano tablature is really called a "staff." Piano players usually read two staffs as they play -- one for high notes (treble staff, for the right side of the piano keyboard) and one for low notes (bass staff for the left side of the keyboard).
Only one staff is needed for guitar players, the treble (or top) staff. The 3 charts below show how the treble staff matches up with guitar tabs notation.
What about the sharps and flats?
This set of notes does not show accidentals; only the plain notes. For showing your students sharps and flats, print out the PDF file farther down the page...
Won't my guitar students be stuck forever reading guitar tabs if I start them that way?
Although I write up songs for my students with guitar tablature notation, my GOAL is for them to become standard notation -- treble staff -- readers. I have found that my guitar students (who ALWAYS prefer to play by ear or with "tabs"/tablature, without fail!) will plug along through their notereading book without too much complaining, as long as they have guitar tablature music to play.
The method books typically add staff notes slowly... and months go by, with the notereading method book carefully adding one note after another, starting usually with the open G or B string and branching out from there. Finally, two-thirds of the way through the book, the kids are reading down into the ledger notes below Middle C.
Yay!!! They have really come a long way!
But how solid is their note-reading, really?
Suddenly, the book's authors remember that we haven't visited treble B, C, and D for while, so, out of the blue, we have songs thrown at us again populated with these old notes as well as the newer notes. And my students stumble around and say, "I've forgotten what that note is!"
Oops! We should have been reviewing. This is definitely my fault, not the student's fault!
So now, I try to build one review song from earlier in the book into each week's lesson, and their knowledge will stay more solid.
...and these notation charts!
But also, I keep these piano tablature/guitar tablature notation sheets handy for students, at the beginning or end of their music notebooks, along with a piano keyboard sheet.
These are only the basic or default frets for the notes - These charts show THE MOST USUAL guitar tabs for each piano staff note. Initially, one of the tricky things about playing guitar comes from the nature of overlapping notes from string to string; 2 or 3 adjacent strings can all play the same note, though on different frets, but these different fretted or open "sounds" will all be represented by the same note on a staff!
That's one nice thing about tablature - it tells you exactly which fret best accomplishes that sound, in that situation!
Do you have a story or a question about teaching guitar? Do you think it is a hard instrument for beginners, or easy? What have been your challenges?
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