Guitar Lessons For Beginners

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You don’t need to know sheet music to learn to play melodies.

Let’s learn Morning Has Broken with tab!

“Morning Has Broken” is a Christian hymn. Cat Stevens has recorded a popular version of the song.

Here is the first verse:

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the world

As I mentioned we will not use sheet music notation. Many people find it hard to read sheet music on guitar.

In order to learn to play melodies we will use another notation system called tablature.

Tablature or tab is a form of musical notation, often with numbers and letters, which will tell you where to place your fingers on the fretboard in order to play a melody.

In this article I will use a type of tab notation with numbers only. The more common tab staff notation you will find on my site.

Let’s take a look at your guitar!

The six strings on your guitar are numbered from the one with the highest pitch. This string is called the first string.

In order for me to tell you how to play the melody on your I will write down which fret to press down with your left hand and which string to play.

If I write 31 it means that you are to press down the third fret on the first string. The first number indicates the fret to press down and the next number the string.

01 means: play the first open string. This means that you play the first string without pressing down a fret.

The first part of Morning Has Broken with tab and lyrics looks like this:

Morning has broken, like the first morning

35 24 03 12 32 02 23 03 23 02 23 03
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You will start with the note C here notated 35. That is, press down the third fret on the fift string.

In this type of tab notation you will not have an indication as to the length of the notes. I suggest that you sing the lyrics in order to feel how the melody is to be played.

Let’s look at the next tab:

Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

35 04 24 03 23 03 24 35 04

In this lesson we will not deal with how to play the strings with your right hand fingers. I suggest that you play the strings with you right hand thumb or some other way you choose.

The next tab looks like this:

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

03 24 03 12 23 03 24 35 35 04

What about your left hand? You can play the notes with your index finger but I suggest that you assign the notes on the first fret to your index finger, the notes on the second fret to your middle finger and so on.

It might be a little bit difficult at first but in the long run you will find it easier to play melodies with these left hand fingerings if you are persistent!

Now we will continue with the next and last tab:

Praise for the springing fresh from the world

24 04 24 03 23 04 24 04 35

I promised you that you could learn Morning Has Broken on your without sheet music and now you have accomplished this and I have kept my promise. Congratulations!

It would have been nice to hear you play the melody but I guess it is not possible so play it for a friend!

I suggest that you memorize the melody one line at a time so that the reading of this tab will not slow you down when you play the melody in public!
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About the Author:
Peter Edvinsson
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and tab at

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