Tips for Writing Guitar Tabs (on Paper and iPad)

Lesson #489 • May 12, 2023

Hey there, friends! In today’s video I’ll show you a simple guide to writing your own guitar tabs. I’ll start off showing how to quickly jot them down on paper, using my blank tab PDF template – including a super handy 4x6 notecard trick. Then I’ll show how you can get started writing them on the iPad (using the free app Notability, which I’ve used happily since 2018). Many of you have asked about this in the past few years - I hope you find the video helpful!

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:54 Writing Tabs on Paper
  • 1:49 Writing Tabs on Notecards
  • 3:19 Writing Tabs on the iPad
  • 8:23 Advanced Notability Tips

Blank Tabs — Simple Version

Looking for a quick download to get started? Use this!

It's a single-page PDF with 5 rows of tabs and nothing else. Perfect if you want to jump right in and get going with things. Print multiple copies & keep them nearby!

Download Free PDF

Blank Tabs — with Counting & Rhythm

Looking for tabs with counting & rhythm already written in? Whether you're in 4/4 time, 3/4 time, or 6/8 time – this template has you covered.

Helpful tip: only print the specific page(s) you need!

Download Free PDF

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The Question That Inspired This Video

Perry sent in the following question:

I direct a nonprofit group that teaches kids to play. I like the final appearance of your tabs – I just want to be able to create similar sheets for our JAM Students. But I’m having challenges knowing how to begin!

I’ve used tab creating software like TablEdit and I have GuitarPro – but I find them cumbersome. I use an iMac, iPad and also a new Apple Pencil. Thanks!

My Older Video on This Topic

Back in lesson #345 I originally tackled this same topic - though I didn’t show any of the iPad process. This video also shows some specific examples of when you might want to include counting & rhythm in your tabs.

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