Reading Mandolin Tab
Lines and numbers. What do they represent?
Tab is one of the most popular learning tools available. Tunefox features tabs for all of it's mandolin songs, licks, and lessons so to prepare you for the rest of the site, let's talk about how to read mandolin tab.
First, let's take a look at the staff. The 4 horizontal lines on the staff represent the mandolin strings. The lowest line is the 4th string and the highest is 1st string. The 4th string on your mandolin is the one closest to your face when you're holding the instrument and it's the largest and lowest string set on the mandolin. When you see a number on the tab, this is an indication for you to push down the string behind that fret. So if you see a number '2' on the top line, this means you'll push down right behind the 2nd fret on the 1st string.
The tab below gives you a sample so you can test it out for yourself. Another element you'll see in Tunefox's tab are up and downstrokes. These are notated underneath the staff. The downstroke looks like an upside-down hat while the downstroke looks like a 'V'. Another thing to watch for are the slur indications, which we will cover more in-depth in a future lesson.
In the 2nd measure of the tab below, you'll see lines connecting the notes in the staff. The curved line moving over the notes is a hammer-on and the one moving underneath the notes is a pull-off. The final diagonal line indicates a slide. The last thing to note is that there are chords above the measure. You can click on these to see the fingering of the chord notated.