Fur Elise is a famous piano solo by Beethoven. In this guitar lesson you will learn to play Fur Elise on your guitar. You don’t have to read sheet music notation so let’s start!

As I told you we will not use sheet music. Instead we will use guitar tablature.

Tablature is a form of musical notation, often with numbers and letters, which tells the player where to place their fingers on the guitar fretboard rather than which pitches to play.

I will use my own type of guitar tab notation today to make sure that the guitar tab is correctly displayed on article sites. The more common guitar tab staff notation you will find on my site.

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

Let’s start with the first part of the melody with guitar tab:

01 42 01 42 01 02 32 12 23

Now we will take a look at this guitar tab and how to interpret it. You have probably noticed that the numbers are organized in pairs.

The first number in the pair tells you what fret to press down and the second number what string to play.

01 tells you to play the open first string. This means that you play the string without pressing down a left hand finger.

42 indicates that you press down a left hand finger on the fourth fret of the second string. Well, now it’s time for you to play the melody. Did you recognize the melody? Good!

This type of guitar tab doesn’t indicate the length of the notes. If you sing the lyrics you will probably feel how to play the notes.

What finger should you use when you play with your right hand? In this guitar lesson we will not concentrate on your right hand. I suggest that you play the notes with your thumb or in another way you choose.

Let’s play the next guitar tab:

35 24 23 02 24 13 02 12

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 means that the 42 note in the beginning of the melody will be played with your little finger. Is it difficult? Yes, it will be difficult but not for long! You will get used to these fingerings if you are persistent!

In the long run you will probably even find it easier to play melodies this way if you get used to this more sophisticated fingering!

Let’s continue! The next guitar tab is identical with the first line:

01 42 01 42 01 02 32 12 23

and the next guitar tab nearly the same as the second line:

35 24 23 02 24 12 02 23

A new melodi is introduced:

02 12 32 01 03 11 01 32

and ends this way:

34 01 32 12 24 32 12 02

By now you know how to play this guitar tab notation so let’s play on!

01 42 01 42 01 02 32 12 23

35 24 23 02 24 13 02 12

01 42 01 42 01 02 32 12 23

35 24 23 02 24 12 02 23

Now you can play Fur Elise by Beethoven with guitar tab. Congratulations!

I suggest that you memorize the melody one line at a time so that the reading of this guitar tab will not slow you down when you play the melody in public!

This is a nice melody to know by heart as part of your repertoire for example when somebody asks you to play something! Everyone knows this song, don’t they!