Ukulele 101: How To Read Ukulele Tab Part 1

Happy 2008 everyone. I hope you enjoyed the holiday season and got plenty of ukulele practice in.

Over the hols I’ve been busy writing a guide to reading ukulele tab. A few people have asked me about it and I’ve had to direct them elsewhere which isn’t ideal as I don’t think there’s a really comprehensive guide around.

So, while everyone was quaffing egg-nog and kissing under the mistletoe (possibly at the same time), I was writing about ukulele tab. If you want to make up for my kissless Christmas, feel free to snog my face off in gratitude.

It ended up being 15 pages long, so I’ve divided into parts and the first is after the jump.

How to Read Ukulele Tab

Vihuela guitar tabMuso types like to bemoan the rise of tablature (or tab) but it’s been a way of representing music for hundreds of years. This picture shows tab for the Vihuela (an early guitar-like instrument)from the 16th Century.

Tablature is used to represent music for a specific instrument and is an alternative to standard notation (the one with dots and lines).

Tablature has a couple of advantages. Firstly, it’s much easier to learn to read than standard notation and much more accessible for those without formal musical training.

Secondly, it tells you on which string to play a particular note. This is particularly important on the ukulele as the strings are tuned so close together and the way in which you play them can change how easy it is to play a tune a great deal.

Basic Tab

Frets & Strings

Each of the horizontal lines represents a string on the ukulele. However, they are upside down from what you might expect. The top line of the tab is the A string (the one that’s closest to the floor when you’re playing); the line below that is the E string; the line below that is the C string and the bottom line of the tab is G string.

ukulele tab neck

That takes a little getting used to. I think of tab as being from the perspective of the ukulele flipped up towards my head.

The numbers that appear on the tab indicate which string to play and what fret to play it at (you can ignore the 4/4 at the beginning for now).

f note ukulele tab Here, the note is on the second line down representing the E string. You should play this string and only this string..

The number 1 indicates that the string should be played at the first fret. Playing the E string at the first fret gives us an F note.

open string ukulele tabOpen strings – ones played without fretting a note at all – are indicated by a 0. In this case the E string will be played without fretting a note.

Notes Played In Sequence

When notes appear one after the other horizontally in the tab, you play them in sequence – one after the other – and stopping them before the next note starts.

ukulele notes tab

In this example, the E string is played open, then at the first fret, then at the third fret and, for the final note, the A string is played open. Click on the player to hear this example (after a four beat introduction – we’ll be going over that later).

Notes Played Simultaneously

When notes appear in the same position vertically, they are played at the same time.

ukulele notes

Here two notes are being played together each time. First, the C string is played at the second fret while the E string is played at the first fret.

After that note, you play the C string at the fourth fret at the same time as playing the E string at the third fret.

It then shifts to a new pair of strings: E and A. The E string is played at the first fret and the A string is played open.

Tab for Chords

Whole chords can be written the same way.

Try to play the chord in this example.

f chord ukulele tab

You should have the G string being played at the second fret and the E string at the first fret with the other notes ringing open. This creates the F-chord shape that you are probably familiar with.

When chords are being strummed, you will often see arrows in the tab (in some tabs, these arrows have wavy rather than straight lines – they indicate exactly the same thing).

strum ukulele chords tab

These arrows indicate which direction you should strum in. An up arrow indicates a down strum, and a down arrow indicates an up strum. Don’t look at me, I didn’t invent the system. .

Read the rest of the series here: How to Read Ukulele Tab.

This series was derived from my ebook Ukulele 101: 101 Things Every Ukulele Player Needs to Know.

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View Comments


  1. Bob January 3rd, 2008 6:02 pm

    You do great work! Are you a special software application to create your tabs? Thanks!

  2. Bob January 3rd, 2008 6:03 pm

    Need to proofread! Should say…Are you *using* a special software application to create your tabs? Thanks!

  3. Nelson January 3rd, 2008 6:22 pm

    Very nice!
    Now I know where to refer my friends!
    Soon…we shall start our own Ukulele Orchestra the likes of which have never been seen!

    …don’t know how popular a ukulele orchestra from New Jersey can be though…

  4. Woodshed January 3rd, 2008 8:45 pm

    Bob: I use Guitar Pro to make my tabs. Power Tab is similar and free.

    Nelson: A ukulele orchestra? In Great Britain? It’d never work :D

  5. Ian January 3rd, 2008 11:07 pm

    Haha… and of course not…. who would ever have a crazy idea like that?

    ….now a place that it wouldn’t work is where I live… only one other person I know plays the uke…. oh well. Such is the curse of living in the USA (well, Texas, at least… I think i’d know plenty of other uke players if I was in hawaii…. but that’s different)

    Anyways… great to see you back bloggin’… I was starting to go insane with the lack of your posts…. wel, actually, I was occupied with going insane trying to decide on a new uke to buy… still not sure….

  6. Jeff January 4th, 2008 7:21 am

    I was checking out this Live Ukulele Site and found some tricky tab notation.

    How do you do the following?

    5/7\5 Is this a continuous slide, one pluck?

    3h5p3 Is this one pluck for 3 notes?

    Thanks, Jeff

  7. Ritchie January 4th, 2008 9:29 am

    Al, so well presented …thanks.

    Nelson, go for it … if you are ever in the North East of England be sure to ‘check out’ the Ukulele Allstars (shameless plug)

    Jeff, what a pleasant plucking song!

    Al, not wishing my life away … but keep ’em coming.

  8. Dom January 4th, 2008 2:34 pm

    Top stuff as ever…

  9. Winger January 4th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Nice one Woodshed, yet again – and a Happy New Year to you, may your 2008 be uke-ing wonderful!

  10. Woodshed January 4th, 2008 4:40 pm

    Thanks for the comments and good wishes, folks.

    Ian: There must be some uke players in Texas. Enough for a Uke Fest.

    Jeff: That tab is a little different from mine, but I’m pretty sure it’s just one pick for all three notes in each case.

    Ritchie: Will do.

    Dom: Thanks.

    Winger: And to you!

  11. Ron Ajemian January 4th, 2008 4:45 pm

    Happy 2008!
    Beautifully done! Easy and very clear representation of ukulele tabs. Can
    you include a pdf version of these
    lessons (without music sample) so that
    a hard copy can be printed out.
    Thanks so much for sharing your talent.
    God Bless!


  12. Woodshed January 4th, 2008 8:45 pm

    Thanks, Ron.

    This is going to be part of an ebook I’m writing. I might give away this section of it as a pdf. I haven’t decided yet.

  13. Cysero January 4th, 2008 10:46 pm

    New Uke player as of 12-24-2007, great site and the tips are great!

  14. Woodshed January 4th, 2008 11:04 pm

    Thanks, Cysero. Always good to hear from new uke players.

  15. Ian January 5th, 2008 4:31 am

    True… I had heard of that somewhere before… but I’d forgotten about it…
    …haven’t had the chance to go, as I’m kindof a school aged kid who happens to be 1) in school during the fest and 2) a few hours driving from where the festeval is held…. someday, though…. someday…

  16. Ian January 5th, 2008 4:33 am

    Oh, and by the way…. Cysero… welcome ‘aboard’!

  17. Woodshed January 5th, 2008 10:00 am

    Meh, steal a car and skip school :D

  18. Ron Knaus January 7th, 2008 5:37 am

    Found the chord instruction over my head. I will review this one and let you know. Didn’t even look at the Ragtime stuff. I may be a bit sluggish on this music thing; I must have Van Gogh’s ear for music. I’m not stoppin’ now! Like your approach to helping us Newbies out here.

  19. Woodshed January 7th, 2008 9:42 pm

    Sorry about that, Ron. Is there anything in particular you’re struggling with?

  20. rachel January 25th, 2008 10:28 am

    thanks i understand tab now! yay

  21. Woodshed January 25th, 2008 7:27 pm

    You’re welcome. Glad you found it helpful.

  22. Ross January 31st, 2008 7:32 pm

    So the Tab is the same as guitar?

  23. Woodshed January 31st, 2008 9:16 pm

    Pretty much, yes.

  24. seeso May 5th, 2008 12:00 pm

    This is great stuff, but there’s a little glitch. In the “Notes Played In Sequence” portion, the play button takes me to a jpeg.

  25. Woodshed May 5th, 2008 12:26 pm

    Thanks for letting me know, seeso. It seems like it’s working fine for me. And the link seems to be ok. I’m stumped.

  26. seeso May 5th, 2008 12:48 pm

    Hmm, I just checked your code. The swf file in question is wrapped in anchor tags that do point to the jpg.

    For Firefox, that doesn’t matter, the swf file will behave as you intended.

    For Safari, a click on the swf will result in the execution of the anchor tag.

    The other swf files on the page are not wrapped in anchor tags. If you got rid of the anchor tags around that swf file, the problem should go away.

  27. Woodshed May 5th, 2008 1:32 pm

    Thanks, Seeso. Fixed it. I think.

  28. seeso May 5th, 2008 7:17 pm

    Yup, all fixed.

  29. Rosie May 25th, 2008 12:12 am

    Hey, thanks alot for this. I asked for a ukulele for my 16th birthday and am really enjoying playing it. This site has helped so much and now I can read tab. :D Also thanks so much for doing all the Beirut stuff, starting to get the hang of The Penalty and Postcards now, although my index finger is a little painful. Anyway sorry for being a little off topic!

  30. Woodshed May 25th, 2008 1:13 pm

    Thanks, Rosie. I’m glad you’re finding the site helpful. Your fingers will be calloused up and pain free before you know it ;)

  31. sammy August 5th, 2008 7:51 pm

    wow, i like this!
    do you know if this also works the same for the baritone uke? do you know of any good tab sites for the baritone? Im asking because I just picked one up and am trying to learn how to play.

  32. orin October 13th, 2008 10:20 pm

    maybe a dumb question, but what about when it’s just notes on the tab, not numbers? As well, how could I read music transcribed for another instrument (in note format [probably not the correct lingo, but what I got…]), like guitar…or can’t I?
    Thanks in advance,

  33. Woodshed October 14th, 2008 10:17 pm

    orin: This post should help you with the first question.

    The second one is trickier. It is possible, but usually you’ll have to transpose it so the notes fit on the uke.

  34. felix January 11th, 2009 9:26 am

    to all at the top…
    i live in australia and i know at least 4 or 5 people who play the uke

  35. Woodshed January 14th, 2009 9:14 pm

    Felix: Good to hear people are picking it up in Australia. You hear the New Zealand scene mentioned a lot more.

  36. Justin January 27th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Seriously I thought looking at tablature it looked ridiculously complex but luckily it isnt based on what i read on here thanks so much. Im going to purchase a uke asap and learn off this site thanks so much

  37. Woodshed January 28th, 2009 8:04 am

    Go get one, Justin!

  38. Andrea July 6th, 2009 9:51 pm

    Just looking at your website. Will give it a go. Never played before.

  39. Woodshed July 7th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Andrea: Good luck with it.

  40. Johan December 16th, 2009 6:18 am

    how do you know the fingering?

  41. KP February 4th, 2010 8:40 pm

    Very useful. I been put off learning to read tabs and you now have made it less daunting. Thank you so much!

  42. Avon February 28th, 2010 4:47 pm

    Many thanks for making this kind of information available

  43. kihonwaza February 28th, 2010 8:13 pm

    So, so helpful! I am beginning to fall in love with my uke…

  44. Woodshed March 2nd, 2010 10:23 pm

    KP, Avon and kohonwaza: Thanks very much. I’m really glad you found it helpful.

  45. Derek March 6th, 2010 1:16 am

    Where’s the Android application?! The market is severely lacking! Other than that, super excited to start playing the uke. After much searching, your site definitely seems like one of the most well put-together. Thanks!

  46. Woodshed March 6th, 2010 11:13 am

    Derek: Thanks, hope you find it useful.

  47. Juan Olcese May 30th, 2010 11:17 pm

    When you play the chords,all in the same direction,or chords 1 and 2 up and 3 and 4
    Another question.If appear the number 3
    you need play in this place the chord ( G C E A ),
    who appear in the tablature.
    Thanks in advance for your kind answer.I’m newbie with the Ukelele,I’m 68 years old and play the Charango.Regards from Buenos Aires,Argentina
    Juan Olcese

  48. Woodshed May 31st, 2010 9:39 am

    Juan: Sorry but I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking.

  49. Juan Olcese May 31st, 2010 3:22 pm

    I understand.Certainly my english grammar is really ugly.And my question it’s not clear.
    My apologies.

  50. Jess June 5th, 2010 9:24 pm

    Thanks this is really great! I’m sure this isn’t the right page to ask but when you’re strumming do you use your thumb? And what part of your finger do you strum with? Thanks!

  51. Woodshed June 6th, 2010 11:32 am

    Jess: In general, I don’t use my thumb to strum. I wrote about my strumming technique here.

  52. emilyscat September 3rd, 2010 9:18 pm

    Thank you so much for making it easier for a newby with their first uke to get started with all aspects of playing! Your site is fabulous, and I’m already addicted but dammit my fingers hurt!

  53. Woodshed September 3rd, 2010 10:30 pm

    emilyscat: Thanks very much. Glad to hear you’re finding it useful.

  54. Mazzy September 20th, 2010 3:31 pm

    Have recently taken up the uke after reading the great stuff on this site. Woodshed, your work is brilliant! One query about tabs. I keep finding tabs which are like this: 1h2h3h. What does “h” refer to?

  55. Woodshed September 20th, 2010 10:01 pm

    Mazzy: Thanks! The h’s are hammer-ons. You don’t re-pick the string, you just bring your finger down on the new fret.

  56. Livvyy October 10th, 2010 4:39 am

    This really helped me thanks alot :) very easy to follow and to understand and it helps with having the audio as well. if i know of anyone else stuck on this i will send them here before anywhere else :)
    thanks again.

  57. Woodshed October 12th, 2010 9:14 pm

    Livvyy: Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m really glad you’ve found it useful.

  58. Dakpb November 14th, 2010 2:30 am

    I’m a little confused on how to play an open note on one string and another string with your finger on a fret

  59. Woodshed November 15th, 2010 3:23 pm

    Dakpb: You just need to make sure that you’re bridging over the open string. And pick with either thumb and index finger or index and middle.

  60. Mel November 15th, 2010 11:48 pm

    Just started uke-ing … if that’s an existing word … Bought my ukulele today and erm , hadquite a hard time with it with tuning and everything but it seems to be alright now… plus i found a teacher : !!
    awesome website but i’m confused on to play two strings at the same time without touching the other strings …

  61. Woodshed November 16th, 2010 11:59 pm

    Mel: Thanks. I hope you enjoy your ukeing.

  62. Respekt December 14th, 2010 5:09 am

    Yay! I finally learned how to read a tab :D

  63. Woodshed December 14th, 2010 7:17 pm

    Respekt: Well done!

  64. heather December 30th, 2010 10:47 pm

    o!! this is great just the info i was looking for and couldnt find, thank you :)

  65. Woodshed January 1st, 2011 11:52 am

    heather: You’re very welcome.

  66. Brenna January 10th, 2011 3:52 am

    HULLO, Friend across the pond! You might be surprised to hear that there is a steal drum band in my little corner of rural New Hampshire. I hope to be good enough with my concert uke (named, of course Duke. Duke the uke.) To play with them next winter. Any thoughts on good hawaiian standards?

  67. Brenna January 10th, 2011 3:53 am

    TYPO TYPO! STEEL drum band….sheesh.

  68. MuffinaCa January 12th, 2011 2:24 am

    Gracias ;D

  69. Woodshed January 16th, 2011 11:02 am

    MuffinCa: You’re welcome.

    Brenna: Sounds like an interesting combination.

  70. Britta January 29th, 2011 6:24 pm

    Hey i just had a question. i just got my ukulele, and I’ve been following your tab instruction which is pretty great, however, mine sounds a bit off. how can i remedy this?

  71. Woodshed January 30th, 2011 3:14 pm

    Britta: What do you mean by off? Have you checked you’re in tune?

  72. Mallory February 13th, 2011 7:03 pm

    Thank you so very much! As a “just-starting-out” kinda person, your tab information was very helpful. Do you have any helpful hints on buying a ukulele and do you recommend any particular ukulele makers? Thanks again:D

  73. Woodshed February 17th, 2011 11:19 am

    Mallory: Thanks, glad it helped. There’s various bits of uke buying advice in this section.

  74. Rad February 20th, 2011 6:43 am

    Awesome stuff. I am left-hand player using a right-hand Ukulele so the tabs work fine to me as A is the highest on the Ukulele just like the Tab. Now that I need to find some easy tabs for great songs to up my motivation. Let me know if you know a URL for that. But thanks heaps for making music a simple fun.

  75. Woodshed February 20th, 2011 11:42 am

    Rad: Thanks. I did this simple tab recently.

  76. Raimei March 11th, 2011 8:54 pm

    This is really useful and helpful. I just got a ukulele for my birthday a few days ago and I completely failed trying to play by ear. (I play piano by ear.) All of these “lessons” are really helping me out. Right now, I’ve got “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “I Just Want You” down and I’m trying to learn “Sugar We’re Going Down.” Thanks so much because I wouldn’t’ have gotten very far on my own or just staring at tabs for about an hour, motionless.

    Thank you very much!

  77. Woodshed March 12th, 2011 12:25 pm

    Raimei: Thanks very much. I’m glad you’re finding it useful.

  78. AaronD. April 27th, 2011 2:35 am

    I received a Uke Two weeks ago for my 30th birthday. I’ve been trying to find an adaquate source to learn from, but it seems as though the more material I’ve come accross, the more confussing it’s gotten! I have to say that yours has DEFINATELY been the most helpful! Thank you!!!

  79. Susie April 28th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Hi Woodshed,
    Great instructions but I can’t make the player work to check how I’m doing :(
    Any ideas?

  80. Woodshed April 30th, 2011 9:33 am

    Aaron: Very glad to hear you found it useful.

    Susie: Hmm. That’s annoying. Do you have javascript switched off? You’ll need it to use the players.

  81. lily May 8th, 2011 11:18 am

    THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU this is really helpful!

  82. chaye May 14th, 2011 4:12 pm

    this is the most helpful post i’ve read about learning ukes! thanks so much for sharing this, woodshed! hope you have memorable holidays each year :)

  83. Woodshed May 15th, 2011 11:37 am

    lily: You’re welcome.

    chaye: Thanks very much. Glad you found it useful.

  84. Daniel June 3rd, 2011 4:21 pm

    Very Well Presented. I Am 14 And I Brought My First Ukulele Which Cost £20 (Work It Out If You’re In Another Country), I Then Realised That The Strings Were Bad. So I Sold it. Then Brought A £30 And It Sounded Lovely Even Though It Wasn’t Tuned. So I Started To Get A Few Online Lessons; Got Bored. Then Found This. It Is So Easily Explained And Even My Little Brother Could Understand It. Still Unsure On The Stupid Tab System; I Hate The Way It’s All Opposite :D

  85. Woodshed June 4th, 2011 10:20 am

    Daniel: Thanks very much! I’m really glad you found the site useful.

  86. taylor June 10th, 2011 2:55 am

    This is a great website lots of info, and I learned everything i neaded to know from it.

  87. Woodshed June 10th, 2011 11:02 am

    taylor: Thanks!

  88. John June 26th, 2011 1:13 pm

    Hi. I’ve just bought a uke off my daughter and was looking for a good place to start off from. I found your website and think I’ll be strumming away in no time. The hard part is the upside down tab! Why oh why oh why??? Thanks for putting in the time to help us out.

  89. Matilda July 4th, 2011 2:54 am

    what does x mean on a tab?

  90. Mary August 29th, 2011 11:03 pm

    Thanks very much, very helpful, lovely and clear and simple and fun, thankyou

  91. Woodshed August 30th, 2011 11:44 am

    Matlida: It means you play the string muted.

    Mary: Glad you found it useful.

  92. Ailsa September 12th, 2011 7:25 am

    I just got a uke today for my eek 49th b/day (yes I got a cheap one I thought I should look around more but didnt want to put the giftor off buying me one) I figure Im gonna be the best uke player in this house! anyway this site looks informative as the only book I have was first published in 1926 eek Ive had it for years & found it (again) recently & thought hmmm… hopefully I will be able to produce something decent (if not I can always complain that I need a better instrument) :)

  93. Woodshed September 12th, 2011 11:25 am

    Ailsa: Happy birthday!

  94. Ailsa September 12th, 2011 12:47 pm

    Thankyou Woodshed.

  95. Michelle October 20th, 2011 9:05 am

    Similar to Ailsa, I just got my first uke for my 50th birthday! Somehow, never thought I’d start a new instrument at this age, so it is a kick!

    Regarding the tabs, as a piano player the order makes sense to me. I just played this arrangement of Finlandia, (below), and if you only play the top string as indicated on each tab it corresponds to the note on the treble clef above. Even if you can’t read music, just observe how the upper tab string and the treble clef notes move up and down together. This would be far more difficult to follow if the tab were in reverse order.

  96. Michelle October 20th, 2011 9:12 am

    PS. The reversed strum arrows are really dumb, though! Yeah, yeah, they do correspond with which string you strum first, but visually it’s just annoying. Down should be down, and up should be up. Order in the Ukeverse!

  97. Ailsa October 21st, 2011 6:32 am

    Thanks Michelle Ill have a look. Im still having trouble changing some chords most noteable c to g but no doubt I will get there.

  98. davidx November 2nd, 2011 4:01 pm

    Brill think im getting the hang of it,im loving the uke wish i had started years ago.

  99. Sahds December 13th, 2011 11:23 pm

    Thanks for taking the time out to write this. I was just looking at the chord songs, tabs looked too scary. But now that I have seen this, it’s not at all that bad. Means I can now branch out when looking for songs to cover :)

  100. Ailsa December 14th, 2011 1:46 am

    Im finding the tabs/strumming patterns really easy to follow but alas my playing hasnt really improved ah well practise practise. I cant sing for quids so Im going to have to get hubby in on the singing bit – but then he’d want to play as well & that would mean I wouldnt get a turn on the ukuele at all

  101. Bradlee December 22nd, 2011 9:01 am

    in the example tabs what does the 1 above the 2 4’s mean

  102. Woodshed December 22nd, 2011 9:09 am

    Bradlee: That’s the bar number. Don’t worry about it. They’re mostly just to make it easy to refer to a specific part of the music.

  103. Bradlee December 24th, 2011 9:42 am

    thank you for the clarification and thanks for the website it is awesome to have found such a great place to learn from have a happy holidays

  104. Hals January 8th, 2012 5:33 pm

    You are amazing! Got a uke for Christmas and I’m obsessed. This website offers everything. I love your selection of music and this tabs tutorial helped immensely!

  105. Woodshed January 9th, 2012 11:51 am

    Hals: Thanks very much! Glad you’re finding it useful.

  106. Shelagh February 6th, 2012 7:23 pm

    I’m going to have to ask a stupid question because just typing it into Google isn’t solving it for me. What do you play if say, the tab shows a 2 on the 3rd string but just above it it says “Dm”. I thought Dm involved the 4th, 3rd & 2nd strings so why does it only say 2 on the 3rd?

    That might not make sense but my brain is just not working.

    PS. I love this site. Just got a ukulele the other day and this site has been more help than the book I got with it – and it’s much more interesting!

  107. Woodshed February 7th, 2012 10:37 am

    Shelagh: No such thing as a stupid question.

    The Dm refers to the chord played in the background and the 2 is the melody note. It’s probably intended to be played by two ukes: one doing the chords and one doing the melody.

  108. Shelagh February 7th, 2012 12:59 pm

    Ah, that makes sense. Thank you!

  109. Laura March 3rd, 2012 4:24 pm

    Hi, I am preparing to get a uke on Monday, as my school are opening a ukulele club. Are the strings that you pluck with (from one nearest to you) G C E A, to play those notes do you just pluck that string. Or do you push down the first fret.

  110. Woodshed March 8th, 2012 12:47 pm

    Laura: If you play the strings open (i.e. not fretting them at all) you’ll get the notes G C E A.

  111. Hannah March 13th, 2012 5:37 pm

    This really clears things up! Thank you so much!

  112. Woodshed March 15th, 2012 12:30 pm

    Hannah: Glad it helped.

  113. Geumtian March 16th, 2012 8:22 am

    i know you wrote this so long ago but, it has helped so much! using what’s on this page just looked up the riffs for smoke on the water. hahah loving it.

  114. Woodshed March 16th, 2012 8:24 am

    Geumtian: Glad it’s still useful!

  115. Ruth June 10th, 2012 5:33 pm

    Great info, i didn’t know what tabs were before!
    just 1 question: how do you transpose music for other instruments to tab music? plz help!
    Thanx, i’m lookinf forward to getting a ukulele now!

  116. Woodshed June 11th, 2012 8:00 am

    Ruth: You really need to know how to read standard notation to do that. There’s a brief introduction to it here.

  117. josie June 29th, 2012 6:10 pm


  118. Woodshed July 2nd, 2012 4:24 pm

    jose: You’re welcoooooooome.

  119. Alenka August 1st, 2012 10:57 pm

    For bloody beginners like me this site is such a treasure! My sister sent me here and I’m learning so much in such a short time! Thanks for being a terrific teacher :-)

  120. Woodshed August 1st, 2012 11:04 pm

    Alenka: Thanks so much! You’re very kind.

  121. jpeazy August 3rd, 2012 6:28 am

    i’ve always wanted to learn to play the uke. thanks to your site, I actually bought one but can’t get it for another 2 days. can’t wait to start playing! thanks for your time in putting this site together, it’s so much appreciated!

  122. Russell August 27th, 2012 5:52 pm

    Found this site very recently and I can’t stress enough how helpful it has been! Thank you, Woodshed!

  123. Woodshed September 1st, 2012 10:47 am

    jpeazy: I hope you’re enjoying it now you’ve got it!

    Russell: That’s great to hear! Thanks.

  124. Randy October 9th, 2012 6:26 pm

    As a long-time classical guitarist, trombonist and music teacher, I have a loving relationship with reading music and always felt that tablature was kind of a stumbling block because, among other things, it is instrument-specific — that is, you cannot read it on other instruments. Also, one needs to be able to read rhythms, which are expressed in notes, so why not go all the way and just learn to read music.
    BUT one thing which I think makes tab at least of some use in ukulele music is dealing with that darned 4th string! I have been trying to write some arrangements for this little group we have, and the only ways I have found to indicate when a note should be played on 4th string is to either turn that note’s stem the opposite way from what it would usually be (which works ok on a simple arrangement) or just edit the music and put a circled 4 (classical guitar marking) by the 4th string notes.
    I wonder if anyone else who might look at this site has a better solution.
    So, thank you for your efforts here, and please don’t think too harshly of we who read music. It appears there is room for both of us!

  125. Kawatapuarangi October 20th, 2012 7:30 am

    Kia ora, and thank you very much for all your hard work! I really needed this, to help me get better.

  126. Woodshed October 20th, 2012 12:16 pm

    Kawatapuarangi: You’re very welcome!

  127. Randy October 30th, 2012 4:08 am

    I would like to soften the attitude I may have seemed to have in my previous message. After about 3 weeks of working with tablature — working on a solo arrangement of O Holy Night — I have found it very useful! I even found that, after a little practice, it was going about as smoothly as when I read notes on other instruments. I use a paper which has a treble staff above a TAB… um, TAB staff? What do you call it? Just TAB, perhaps?
    Your lessons here are very well made. I am going to refer a friend from our uke group to this site. She needs to learn TAB, too!

  128. Woodshed October 30th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Randy: Glad to hear you’ve started to move towards the dark side! Thanks very much for the kind words.

  129. Ailsa October 31st, 2012 5:37 am

    Randy: Im glad you saw the light. I read music (taught in highschool when dinasours roamed the earth) & tablature they are both great ways to learn. my husband never learned to read music until he started guitar lessons a year ago he found tablature a great way to learn a song & the music & now can read both – hes a very happy boy (much better on his guitar than I am on my uke now he wants to pinch my uke noooooooo!)

  130. Roger Bauer November 14th, 2012 5:32 pm

    Great Site and has made learning how to play much easier. My Uncle and Grandfather both played the Uke when I was a child and the family always enjoyed the music and sing alongs. Sadly, both have passed on and I have made it a promise to myself that I would learn to play and continue the legacy for my children and grandchildren. This site has made the music a pleasure again for me and my family. Thanks

  131. Woodshed November 15th, 2012 9:59 am

    Roger: That’s a great family tradition. Very glad I could help.

  132. Victoria December 31st, 2012 3:11 am

    Come here and get your Christmas snogging! This guide was so helpful to me.

  133. Woodshed December 31st, 2012 9:03 am

    Victoria: Woohoo! I’ll get the mistletoe.

  134. gaye smith February 28th, 2013 12:39 am

    Any chance of finding some tab for Django’s “minor swing”? I know the chords but want to do a few twiddles as well. Found it on Ukulele tabs but it just looks like a mess to me. Any help out there on this one?
    Cheers gaye smith

  135. nathalie May 21st, 2013 2:25 pm

    Thank you so much, I never understand tabs but I am getting there!

  136. Woodshed May 21st, 2013 3:00 pm

    nathalie: Good luck!

  137. Vicki July 21st, 2013 7:37 pm

    Thankyou so much for this lesson, it’s really helpful :) What does it mean if there are brackets around some of the numbers?

  138. Woodshed July 22nd, 2013 10:06 am

    Vicki: Thanks! It means they’re background notes. So play them more softly.

  139. Steph August 5th, 2013 3:53 am

    This was so incredibly helpful and written with such charm~
    Thanks so much! ^-^

  140. Kevin January 9th, 2015 8:01 pm

    This was fun! Thanks! “Don’t look at me, I didn’t invent the system.” Lol!

  141. Woodshed January 9th, 2015 8:45 pm

    Kevin: Glad you liked it!

  142. Blindpew April 4th, 2015 12:02 pm

    Been fiddling with my first uke for a couple of months, just getting a feel for the strumming and a few basic chords.

    Just looked through this and your table of useful chords!

    Great work and I shall be using your site to teach myself to play this complicated little beast :)

    Many thanks for your efforts!

  143. Woodshed April 5th, 2015 2:25 pm

    Blindpew: Thanks! Glad you found it useful.

  144. suzanne July 3rd, 2015 3:52 pm

    I’m a little bummed I went to the Power Tab download and it installed some malware on my mac – I seem to be stuck in Bing – thought you might want to know

  145. Woodshed July 3rd, 2015 4:29 pm

    suzanne: Sorry about that. Thanks for letting me know. Been a long time since I was on that site and it was tricky to navigate without an ad blocker even back then.

  146. Suzanne July 4th, 2015 7:20 pm

    It took me a while to get rid of – hopefully it’s gone for good! Do you have any other suggestions for writable uke tab?

  147. Woodshed July 6th, 2015 9:21 am

    Suzanne: I use Guitar Pro.

  148. Christine August 26th, 2015 8:09 pm

    I just bought my daughter a uke and myself a guitar. We both can read music from piano playing. I had no idea there was such a thing as “tab.” Do you think it would be easier for us to learn to play the uke and guitar using the notes we are used to or should we learn tab?

    P.S. This site has been very helpful. Thanks!

  149. Woodshed August 26th, 2015 9:25 pm

    Christine: I do think it’s worth reading tab. It’ll increase the amount of learning material available. And it tells you which string to play each note on. Which is a big deal on ukulele where there are so many options.


  150. UkeOnTheMoon November 19th, 2015 9:07 pm

    Thanks for your site. Very well made, clear and clean. Perfect for beginners!


  151. Woodshed November 22nd, 2015 8:01 pm

    UkeOnTheMoon: Thanks very much!

  152. Jason September 8th, 2016 8:39 pm

    Thank you so much for putting in the effort for others to learn from.

  153. Woodshed September 8th, 2016 8:52 pm

    Jason: Thanks very much!

  154. fern November 2nd, 2016 5:53 pm

    is this for left or right handed person.

  155. Woodshed November 2nd, 2016 10:24 pm

    fern: Both.

  156. John Keen December 3rd, 2016 10:22 am

    Wonderful stuff , thank you for donating your Christmas for it , its worth it , in a 100 years from now others will still be benefiting from it , and all your emails are great for watching and learning to.
    Regards John Keen

  157. Woodshed December 3rd, 2016 2:05 pm

    John: Thanks very much! I don’t know who would be paying the server bills in 100 years!

  158. Shelby Smith December 10th, 2016 2:22 pm

    Thanks guy. I’ve been frustrated as hell trying to learn to play this thing. Cant read sheet music so this helps a lot.

  159. Woodshed December 10th, 2016 2:58 pm

    Shelby: Thanks! Glad you found it useful.

  160. Alyse December 20th, 2016 2:31 am

    Thanks so much this was really helpful and way way easier to readthan sheet music

  161. Woodshed December 20th, 2016 7:09 pm

    Alyse: Thanks very much!

  162. Brittany January 2nd, 2017 7:55 am

    This is extremely helpful! So straightforward and easy to understand. Thank you so much!

  163. Woodshed January 2nd, 2017 9:24 am

    Brittany: Thanks! Glad it was useful.

  164. Azyle June 1st, 2017 9:59 am

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. Ive been searching for all tabs tutorial that made me easy to understand.

  165. Woodshed June 1st, 2017 11:30 am

    Azyle: Thanks very much!

  166. Matt June 7th, 2017 8:30 pm

    I’m left handed, but I also play the Uke upside down…eg, Mine is tuned G on the bottom string and A on the top, so tab is easier for me to follow.
    Thanks for uploading these tutorials :O)

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