Easy guitar tabs allow beginning guitarists to quickly learn how to play new songs. Using guitar tabs – a simplified form of musical notation – guitarists are also able to easily share compositions. If you’re just starting out on the guitar, keep reading.
We’ll share how to read tablature as well as several easy guitar tabs for beginners to popular songs and riffs that you can start playing today.
How to Read Guitar Tabs
Before we dive into the songs and riffs, let’s start with an overview of tablature. Guitar tabs are written out as six lines with each line corresponding to a string on your guitar, E-B-G-D-A-E from the top down, as shown in the diagram on the right. Guitar tabs show you which note needs to be played on which string by placing a fret number on the corresponding line, but they do not tell you which finger to use or the timing of the piece.
Read guitar tabs from left to right and use your ear to determine the timing of each note. If you’re struggling with a tab, it’s always a good idea to listen to a recording of the song, or work with a guitar teacher for some extra help. Now, onto the beginner guitar tabs.
3 Easy Guitar Tabs for Beginners
“Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” – Beginner Guitar Tabs
You can play a wide range of notes without sliding all over the neck of your guitar by playing across strings, such as in the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
For this tab, keep your left hand in what is known as “first position.” Your index finger will play all notes on the first fret, your middle finger plays all notes on the second fret, your ring finger plays the third fret, and your pinkie plays the fourth fret. Keeping your left hand still and using this fingering will help you build better speed and coordination as you learn how to play the guitar.
“Three Blind Mice” – Beginner Guitar Tabs
You can also play “Three Blind Mice” in the same position noted above. Here is the tab for this catchy nursery rhyme.
“Happy Birthday” – Beginner Guitar Tabs
Knowing how to play “Happy Birthday” on the guitar always comes in handy! Try out this familiar tune using the tab below.
As you can see, “Happy Birthday” is a melody that can be played on just one string and is composed of four short phrases. The tricky part of this guitar tab is deciding on the right fingering. We recommend starting with your index finger on the second fret, your pinkie on the fifth fret, and your ring finger on the fourth fret. You can play the first phrase with your left hand in this position.
To play the note on the seventh fret in the second phrase, you will need to slide your pinkie up to reach. You can then play the fifth fret with your middle finger. In the third phrase, you will have to slide your pinkie up again to reach the ninth fret, and then slide back down to play the fourth fret with your ring finger and the second fret with your index finger.
For the final phrase, use your pinkie to play the tenth fret and your ring finger to play the ninth fret. Then, slide your hand down to play the fifth fret with your index finger and the seventh fret with your ring finger. Following this guide to the fingering of this piece enables you to hit all the notes while making minimal movements with your hand up and down the neck of the guitar – playing quickly and efficiently.
Easy Guitar Riffs
A guitar riff is a short, catchy series of notes. It is usually repeated a few times within a song. Guitar riffs are typically pretty simple to play and easily recognizable. Rock and pop music are full of great riffs that you can learn to play quickly using these easy guitar tabs.
“Smoke on the Water” – Guitar Riff Tabs
This popular guitar riff comes from Deep Purple’s classic song “Smoke on the Water.”
You’ll notice that you need to play two notes on the same fret at the same time in order to play this riff. One easy way to accomplish this is to lay your index finger across multiple strings in a partial barre chord and only strum the G and D strings. Hold the partial barre shape with your left hand and move your hand from the third fret to the fifth and sixth frets as needed.
“Sunshine of Your Love” – Guitar Riff Tabs
This riff from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” is quick and easy to learn.
To use the proper fingering on this riff, start with your ring finger on the twelfth fret and your index finger on the tenth. Now, this is a little bit tricky. When you play the first 10th fret note on your E string, slide your hand slightly up the neck to play the 10th fret with your ring finger. Now you can easily reach the 8th fret note that is coming up next.
You’ll notice that this riff calls for a bent string, as indicated by the “b” on the eighth fret of the A string. To bend this note, push the string up the neck of the guitar as you play. Bending a note creates a distinctive, bluesy tone.
“Satisfaction” – Guitar Riff Tabs
One of the most-loved riffs in rock and roll comes from the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Check out the tab below:
You can play this awesome guitar riff all on one string! To practice the correct fingering and play with better speed, use your index finger to play the second fret, your ring finger on the fourth fret, and your pinkie on the fifth fret.
Free & Easy Guitar Tabs for Beginners
Keep in mind as you browse guitar tabs that most of what you see online was submitted by other guitarists just like you. If a tab doesn’t sound quite right, somebody may have heard the song differently or made a mistake when transcribing it. The guitar tabs you find online aren’t necessarily going to be perfect, note for note.
Online guitar tabs are a great place to start when learning how to play your favorite songs. But if you’re looking for more detailed instruction, nothing beats private guitar lessons! A guitar teacher can give you the attention and guidance you need to master tricky songs and riffs. Check out the guitar teachers at TakeLessons today to get started.
Photo Credit: dustinphillips