First of all, the need of tablature:. If music notation has been out there for a while (around 2000 years?) why do we need tablatures at all? Can’t we just play according to the standard notation? Yes, we can. But starting out musicians can’t read it - and that’s all there is to it. Tabs answer the basic need of a young guitar player who wants to play his or hers favorite songs.
Unlike traditional notation, tabs have six lines representing the six strings, as most guitars have. Each line we fill with a number from 0 to12, representing the fret we should press firmly to the fret board on a guitar string.
Because we already know how to read standard notation, you can see how a chord transcribes into a tab. ‘0’ means an open string and ‘2’, for example; press the second fret on this string - If you come across with an ‘x’ sign on a particular string, it will be the same as writing nothing - don’t play that string.
How come nobody tells you which string is which? Well, this you should remember quickly. The bottom tab line is your thickest string or the one that sounds the lowest. And the highest is vice versa.
If it’s too complicated to remember, imagine a right handed guitar lying down and the head of the guitar is on the left side. Meaning the guitar body is on the right. It should be an accurate representation of your fret board.
There are plenty of other signs you will come across as you seek for tabs of your favorite songs. ‘bend’, ‘pre bend’, ‘slide up or down’ or ‘pull-off’. Don’t worry - just listen to the song and it will be self explanatory.