How to Read Ukulele Tab Part 9

A recent comment from George made me realise that I’d completely forgotten to include rests in the How To Read Ukulele Tab series. So here it is. Better a year and a half late than never.

Rests indicate that there shouldn’t be anything playing at all. That means if there was a note played before you should stop it ringing. Rests look different depending on how long they last.

Whole Note/ Semibreve Rest


Half Note/ Minim Rest


Quarter Note/ Crotchet Rest


Eighth Note/ Quaver Rest


Sixteenth Note/ Semi-quaver Rest


You’ll sometimes see rests with a dot after them. This means you should increase the length of the rest by half (e.g. a minim rest with a dot after it would last for three beats).

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

Read the full series here: How To Read Ukulele Tab.

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  1. Armelle September 16th, 2009 7:10 pm

    Thanks for the information, Al. I have been wondering what these signs meant and had chosen to just ignore them. Now I know what they mean.

  2. Nelson September 17th, 2009 1:57 pm
  3. Woodshed September 18th, 2009 4:42 pm

    Armelle: Glad I could finally solve the mystery.

    Nelson: That incident almost made me feel sorry enough for Taylor Swift to write up her ukulele song. The thing that must really have stung her is that Kanye was so obviously right.

  4. Nitin January 18th, 2014 5:46 pm

    Hey! Thank you so much for this article. It is hard to find such stuff explained. I had a doubt. Does a bar of 4 crotchet rest means there will be no sound at all for one full bar?

  5. Woodshed January 18th, 2014 6:49 pm

    Nitin: Yes, it would mean you wouldn’t play anything at all in that bar. Although the proper way of showing that would be a semibreve rest.

  6. Nitin January 19th, 2014 10:44 pm

    Wow. Thanks for being so reponsive on the website. This website has been so helpful. Just recently picked up the ukulele and been learning a lot of new things here.

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