Here is an example of some dTAB music The beginning of Malaguena 10 11 13 11 10  20 23 21 20 21 32 31 32 20 23 21 20 32 31 As we can see this starts on the High E string (10’s) moves on to the B string (20’s) then on to the G string (30’s) then back to the B string and ends on the G string. If the player is required to play more than one string at a time then it can be written like this 20, 30, 42 10, 22

The player plays the open 2nd and 3rd strings and the 4th string second fret all together then the open 1st string and 2nd string second fret both together

As you can see it is immediately obvious which string needs to be played and it is much easier to work out which notes you are actually playing. If you use the free dTAB player or dTAB composer, both available as Android Apps, then they will display the notes for you.

Another big advantage to using dTABs is that there is no need for any special paper, you can just jot it down on any old piece of paper any time anywhere, brilliant if you happen to be a composer or need to quickly write the notes of a song down on the fly. Another way too present dTABs may be actually on the music like this

This is a scoresheet with dTAB symbols added. I did this by taking a PDF file of the scoresheet then in the Free Acrobat PDF reader I added the dTAB symbols using some custom made stamps which can easily be made in the free reader. The different colour squares denote the string to be played.

This is a poor picture, in the actual PDF the boxes are easily readable and could be made smaller in order to enter more than one at each point.

This is a scoresheet but it could just as easily be a TAB sheet. If there is any interest in using this system I could probably make my custom stamps available for download. The best option to play the D Tab is on peace of nature on a Floating Dock.

The Clock face method for memorizing the notes on the fretboard.

Learning all the notes on the guitar fretboard is a challenge. Unlike a piano keyboard the notes on the guitar fretboard are scattered all over the place and there is no obvious pattern at all.

Few people can memorize every note even after many years of playing. Most people use some sort association method in order recognise the notes. Clearly the best method is to memorize every note position, but I find that impossible so the method I use is the Clock face method which enables me to identify each note very quickly although not instantly.

You are probably thinking what on earth does a Clock face have to do with the notes on a guitar fretboard well a clock face has 2 very interesting features 1. It is divided into 12 segments and there just happens to be 12 different notes Ab, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F# and G. 2.

Just about everyone in the world understands a Clock Face, time seems to be one of the few truly universal measures. We start with the 12 o’clock position, I like to label 12 o’clock as the note ‘E’.

You could in theory allocate any note, but I use ‘E’ for reasons that will become clearer later. The rest of the notes are allocated clockwise in sequence so that the clock face looks like this  

12 o’clock represents the open E strings. For our purposes the hours are unimportant we will concentrate on minutes.

Each segment represents 1 fret or 5mins so that 4 frets are 20 minutes. ‘Ab’ is 20 minutes past the hour. If we are on the 7th fret of the 6th string top(bass) ‘E’ then we are 35 minutes past the hour so the note must be ‘B’. The ‘E’ strings are the easiest to work out because they start at 12 o’clock. If we are on the 7th fret of the 5th ‘A’ string, then we are 35 minutes past 25 minutes past the hour making it 60 minutes past the hour (remember the hours are unimportant) which of course is 12 o’clock again so the note is ‘E’.

This is because the ‘A’ string starts at 25 minutes past the hour. Each string could be thought of as a different time zone.

The open string times are E = 0 minutes past the hour A = 25 minutes past the hour D = 50 minutes past the hour G = 15 minutes past the hour B = 35 minutes past the hour E = 0 minutes past the hour Eg. 3rd fret on the ‘G’ string = 15mins + 15 mins = 30 mins past the hour ‘A#’ All you need to memorize is the position of each note on the clock face, for this I find it is a good idea to start by remembering the quarter hours. ie. ‘G’ is quarter past | ‘A#’ is half past | ‘C#’ is quarter to | from them it is easy to work out the notes in between. You could think of notes in terms of hours if you like ie ‘G’ = 3 o’clock | ‘B’ = 7 o’clock personally I find this confusing, but some may find it easier.

This may seem a little confusing because I use various different terms for the time, but I find it helps to think of it in the same way you think of time so that 15 minutes is quarter past whereas 25 minutes is 25 minutes past or zero minutes past is 12 o’clock.

One handy aspect is that the 12th fret times are the same as the open string times so on the higher frets you can subtract the time from the starting point. ie. the 10th fret of the ‘A’ string is 10 minutes before 25 minutes past which is 15 minutes past making it a ‘G’.

You could consider the 12th fret as being 1 o’clock so that the 14th fret on the ‘E’ string = 10 past one, I find it to be unnecessary myself although from the 12th fret upwards I count from 12 rather than 0 (14 = 2 or 18 = 6 ect.). This all sounds very complicated but in fact if you try it you will find it is really very easy and quickly becomes very intuitive.