Ukulele Lessons

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How to Read Tablature

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Some of the tabs your see on ezFolk will contain two different lines of tab. There is a connecting line on the left and right ends so you will know that they are together. You can play either of the tabs, but you don’t play them both at the same time. They could be played as a duet by two different players, but the main purpose of the two lines of tab is to provide a reference for the melody as well as the accompaniment in an easy-to-understand way.

In the example below, which is the first four measures of “Skip to My Lou,” the top line provides the melody and lyrics while the bottom line provides the chords and a simple strum on each beat.

 The simple strumming pattern on the bottom tab line is meant to reinforce the importance of a steady beat. While it’s okay to play just the way that it is written, it will sound better if you will substitute more advanced strums as your playing progresses.

 The chord diagrams above the bottom line of tab shows the chords that you should be holding with your left hand. Hold the chord that is called for until a different chord is indicated. Notice also that the fret numbers where you are holding the chords are also written into the tab.

 Sometimes there will be fret numbers in the tab that are different than those in the chord diagram written above it. When that happens you should still hold the chord but modify it to conform to the tab.

 The “B” stands for brush and it shows you the direction that you should be strumming. Notice that the arrow goes in an upward direction you are actually strumming down, since the uke is held with the 1st string at the bottom and the 4th string at the top and the first line of tab is the 1st string.

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