Tablature is a system of music 'notation' that uses numbers instead of standard notes. It essentially comprises a diagram of the mandolin strings, with numbers relating to the frets on the neck so you know where to place your fingers.

Example tablature:

Nic Zuppardi Mandolin Tutor

If you imagine the mandolin neck this way up, then we can see how to correctly read the notes:

E 1

A 2

D 3

G 4

G Scale Basic

Tablature often appears alongside notated sheet music, which is a useful way to begin learning how to read notation. For more detail on this head over to the lesson on right hand picking technique.

Example tablature with notation: