I often talk about "quick wins" - which is based on the idea that we can achieve ultimate Success in our endeavors by continuously tackling and completing small challenges. These tiny "successes" fuel us with motivation to continue which, when combined with other quick wins in the future, produces astounding results over time.
One of these quick-wins that I find particularly motivating with new students (and children in particular) is the one-string song, where we take a familiar song and learn to play it on one string only. If the student's ear is strong enough, he/she might be able to figure a song out on their own, but more often than not we start by reading a simplified form of written music called TAB (or tablature).
TAB is very easy to grasp for most people, and most new students are able to read this form of written music within a few minutes of learning the concept. This is a quick win in and of itself!
I'll give you a quick overview of TAB and then some songs to try out for yourself.
How To Read TAB
In order to read TAB, you need to know 3 things:
- The lines running across the page represent the strings on the guitar. There are 6 lines, and your guitar also has six strings.
- The line (on the TAB chart) that is the highest of the six is also the highest sounding string on the guitar. The opposite is also true that the line that is the lowest of the six is also the lowest sounding string on the guitar.
- The numbers on TAB charts tell us which fret we should be playing. Functionaly speaking, the fret is the space just behind every metal bar (towards the head of the guitar) on the neck of the guitar. The line that you see the number on is the string that you should be playing on.
A "3" means that we should press on the 3rd fret, and a "0" means that we should play the string without pressing on any frets (we call this playing the string "open").
7 Simple 1-String Guitar Songs
Now that you understand the basics of reading TAB, lets play some 1-string songs! The pdf below will get you started. They start off easy and get a little bit more dificult as you go through them all.
Download the pdf
For each song, there is also a practice track below. The tracks start off slow and speed up over time. If it's too fast for you at the beginning, you can just listen to it once and then practice without the music. Once you've got the hang of it, try playing with the music again.
Peter Gunn Theme Song
Bad to the Bone
Middle Eastern Dance
7 Nation Army