Why Are Guitar Tabs Drawn Upside Down

There are various methods to learn a guitar. Tabulation is one of the techniques to notate music for learning purposes. But Why are the Tabs drawn Upside Down?

 It is easy that way. Companies draw the guitar tabs upside down because, in this way, they are easier to read. Tablature is a unique tool for beginners to learn the guitar making the start-up process effortless.

 Veterans can usually figure their way around it, but some beginners still stumble through it. One thing that stunts the learning process is the upside-down notation on tabs that can make them hard to read and understand.



The first known occurrence of tabs was in Europe around 1300 and used for notating music for the organ.

Concept of Tabs

The standard notation represents the rhythm and duration of each note.


Guitar tabs are easier to read when drawn upside down. You look at the guitar from up to down, which flips its orientation. Apart from the adaptation of tabs, a few other things confuse the beginners.

Few other things make it difficult for beginners to read tablature. Reading guitar tabs can be a difficult task. It is easier for a veteran. However, for a beginner, it is like learning a new language. But, it can be easier for them to absorb it because they have some grasp of notation.

Learning To Read Tabs

Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned veteran, wrapping your head around how to read guitar tabs can be difficult. As a beginner, it can feel like learning a new language and set of skills concurrently.

It is admittedly easier for veterans as they already have the skills required and probably a decent knowledge of standard notation.

Some More Tips to Read Tabs Like a Pro:

However, it might be easier for them to learn tabs as they already have some grasp of notation. It might feel like learning a new dialect of a language you already know, a relatively simple but still taxing effort.

The start point of learning for every person varies depending upon their knowledge. The first thing to note is that some grip of music sheets might be helpful, but still, there are a few things that you should take note of if you plan to learn reading tabs.

How to Tackle Upside Down Guitar Tabs

The vital thing to note is that the guitar tabs are upside down. It can be easy or hard, depending on how you see them. Once you start, it becomes clear that a certain level of intuition is crucial here, which can make this method better than the alternative.

One easy hack can be that place the tab sheet on a flat surface so that you can look at the guitar and tab sheet at once. It can vastly improve how easy it is to figure out playing in different orientations.

Tabular Writing

Tablature is like as if you are looking down at the guitar, which is a common position of playing guitar. Once you have gotten past this, you have to worry about the learning process.


The tablature is composed of six lines, each line representing a string on the guitar. Both top and bottom represent the E string. The top line of the Tab shows the bottom line of the guitar. Things begin to get easy as you visualize the guitar strings on the tablature.


Notation is where tablature begins to differ from standard sheet music. Notation is a series of clefs, staves, and symbols, designed to give an idea of what the piece should sound like.

Unlike regular sheets, music tabs show the hand placement to produce the sound. An exception to this is the 0 notation which indicates an open string. This notation means you will pluck this String without holding down on any fret. The main thing to learn is that tabs use numbers to represent what frets to play on each String.


Frets are thin metal bars on the guitar’s neck. They start after the nut at top of the guitar. Guitars usually have inlays starting from the third fret to help you quickly locate the specific frets while playing.

One thing to note is that the twelfth fret has a double (twenty-four for electric guitars) inlay. It is significant as it symbolizes that the twelfth fret is an octave higher than the open strings.


Once you have gotten comfortable with fingering the guitar strings according to the lettering on the tabs, you will want to learn how to play multiple notes simultaneously. While reading Tabs, we need to read the entire set of strings left to right, just like a book.

How to Read a Chord

 You will know a chord when you see multiple numbers stacked in the same vertical line. This notation indicates that all the notes in the line are to be played together. This technique can take some time.

Proper form and technique will come with time. Learning chords, notations, and strings will allow you to play a large variety of beginner songs. How many guitar chords are there? Just remember that for every Chord there are 12 different chords – the total number of various notes in music.


They are relatively advanced techniques that you should only attempt when you are truly familiar with the basic ones and have spent much time with them.

What is Hammer-On’s

 Hammer-ons are a technique that allows you to produce notes faster than you would be able to normally. The symbol for a hammer-on is an h or a line between the frets indicated on the Tab.

To play a hammer-on, you have to bring your fretting finger down sharply on the fret shown in the Tab without plucking the string with your other hand. Doing this produces a smoother sound, although it fades quicker.

What are Pull-offs:

Pull-offs are almost the exact opposite of hammer-ons. They have p in place of h. To play a pull-off, you need to make the opposite motion to what you would make with a hammer-on.

The former requires you to strike down quickly with your fretting hand, but the latter has you pulling off the indicated fret with the same hand.

How to combine Hammer-Ons and Pull Off’s:

A combination of hammer-on and pull-off results in legato or roll. It will make your music sound much smoother and come out faster. This technique is sometimes essential, especially for more complicated pieces that require many notes in a short period.

That said, take your time to learn everything in order. For the change of taste, you can occasionally ignore the hammer pull-on and pull-offs for a typical plucking but remember not to lose stream in all this.

Sliding Technique

The slide is a technique where you slide your fretting finger from one fret to the other without releasing pressure from the String. You can see The Slide on the Tab with a dash between the notes. It can sound great when done correctly, but the improper technique will have your note fall flat at the end.

There are many more advanced techniques to learn before you can master tablature properly. When you have mastered these, you will want to get started trying to play actual songs.


Guitar Tabs are upside down

to make it convenient for beginners to learn this new technique. As in practical application, when you pluck the string of the Guitar the forming angle is upside down.

If tabs are upright instead of Upside down, it will confuse the user about how to play the guitar. There are fair chances that they will pluck the wrong string, or the angle will disrupt.


Yes, we read guitar tabs from top to bottom. It is because Tab contains six parallel lines, each representing six strings on the guitar. If you look at the Tab it starts from the representation of the high E string, which is the thinnest string on the guitar, and eventually following B, G, D, and A falls to the low E string, which is the thickest

guitar wire on the fretboard. Due to the order to parallel lines and String on the guitar. You have to read Tabs from top to bottom.


Yes, it is possible to learn guitar without tabs, but for beginners, it is not recommended to start without Tabs because Tabs give you a good insight into string handling in every type of tone.

Moreover, its design also aids in grasping the knowledge of strings and fretboard quicker. Starting without Tabs with no background knowledge of guitar playing can put you at high risk of losing in the complexities and difficulties. So the first thing you need to learn is Tabulation in the world of guitars.


Both have their plus and minus points. Both the chords and tabs pave a path for you to the guitar world. Every individual differs in need, some can learn better with chords others grasp them better with tabs. Technically speaking,

It is better to learn a chord. But You should also learn to read tabs. Without chords, you cannot play guitar in a meaningful way. So reading Tabs is easy and very helpful for beginners.

Chords are essential not only for playing guitars. But for every instrument in general. If you are not familiar with Chords then you can not play any music.


Tabs are the entrance corridor into the world of guitars and tunes. They are formulated for beginners with no background knowledge of music to make the learning process easier for them.

Yes, Professional guitarists sometimes use tabs. Some professional session guitarists take a look at the Tab to memorize them. Professionals can also take help from the tabs if they are trying to launch a new tune. Or else they write them for the beginners.

 Tabs are your way back to the guitar world.


 Guitar tabs are great. Although it can take some time to get used to reading them “upside-down,” it becomes infinitely easier once you get past that. Learning the strings, notation, and a few extra techniques will generally put you ahead of the learning curve and have you on the right path to playing your songs eventually.

As great as they are try not to limit yourself to tabs alone, as learning proper notation from sheet music is a great skill to have in your arsenal and will vastly improve your playing ability.

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