When writing tabs, the lowest string sits on the bottom, ascending to the highest string on the top. For example, if you have a guitar tuned in standard (e, A, D, G, B, E), the bottom line will read as the low e, leading up to the top line (high E). Every stringed instrument has its own tuning and tabs that follow. Regardless of your instrument, converting tabs into chords shares the same process. To stop going back to the tabs each time to read chords, you can construct a quick reference for yourself by converting tabs into written chords.
Things You'll Need
- Stringed instrument
- Available tabs
Find your tab. Many websites house free tabs for budding musicians. The online community does not hold tabs for every song, however. If the tabs you desire prove difficult to find, try looking through one of the sites listed in the Resources section.
Read the tabs from left to right. Each number will tell you which fret needs strummed on which string. If the number "3" sits on a line, hold down the corresponding string on the third fret. If the number does not have any other numbers above or below it, play it by itself (a single note). If the number does have any other numbers above or below it, play the two (or more) notes together, making a chord.
Find the lowest note in the chord. Tabs help you identify this note by allowing you to look at the lowest line of the chord with a number. For example, if you're playing a guitar in standard tuning and the lowest note in the chord resides on fret "3" of the A string, that note signifies the lowest note you play.
Discover your bass note. The progression of notes for music follows: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, then back to A. For example, when the lowest note in the chord lies on the A string, start at A. The number that sits on the string tells you how many steps to count from the string note. If the number "3" sits on the string, for example, count three steps from A (A#, B, C). The third step ends on C, which indicates your bass note. In another example, if your low e string (the lowest in standard tuning) carries a "5," count five steps from E (which would give you a bass note of A).
Hold down the rest of the notes in the chord. For example, the C chord on a guitar in standard tuning indicates that you hold down the third fret of the A string, second fret of the D string and first fret of the B string. Strum these strings, as well as the open G string (leave out the low and high Es), and you'll hear a C chord.
Write down the notes in a chord format. List the strings from lowest to highest, going left to right. If you don't play a certain string, put an "x" in its place. The C chord would look like this: x3201x.
Tips & Warnings
- If you'd like to write the chord in another way, draw vertical lines for your strings and horizontal lines for your frets. Reading the strings from left to right, lowest to highest, place the number on its corresponding string and numbered fret.
- Photo Credit guitar image by Victor M. from Fotolia.com guitar chord image by Alex Motrenko from Fotolia.com guitare 1 image by Nathalie P from Fotolia.com
Tabs Vs. Chords
Guitar chord charts and tablature (tabs) both help you to learn and play the guitar. Tablature is a simplified way of notating...
How to Convert Tabs to Sheet Music
Tablature (or TAB) is a form of musical notation used primarily for musicians who play stringed instruments, most often the bass or...
How to Convert Music to Tab
Converting music to tab can be done manually, if you learn how to read both sheet music and tablature, or it can...
How to Convert Guitar Sheet Music to Tabs
If you know how to read sheet music but your bandmates can only read tab, you'll need to be able to convert...
How to Convert Piano Chords Into Letters
Reading music can be as easy as ABC, as long as you know a few tricks. A piece of piano music has...
How to Convert Guitar Tabs to MIDI
Guitar tabs are a common method for writing down guitar parts for songs. The term is sometimes more broadly used to refer...
How to Convert Music Notes Into Harmonica Tabs
Songs for harmonica are typically notated as tablature (tabs). Most harmonica music is laid out simply. Since a lot of harmonica players...
How to Convert Bass Tabs to Guitar Notes
Tablature, or tab, is music notation used most frequently by stringed instrument players, in particular guitar, bass and banjo players. Though the...
How to Convert MP3 to Guitar Tabs
Learning to play your favorite songs on a guitar can be difficult if you are a beginner. However, guitar tablatures (or tabs)...