Guitar tablature only works if the player already knows the solo or the chords sound like, since TAB usually doesn't allow you to count beats like standard notion.
The TAB "staff"(a six line bar usuallywith the letters TAB on it) is made up of six lines. Each line represents a string on the guitar. Look at the example below. The top line of the TAB staff represents the top string (the high E or 1st string) of the guitar. The next line down on the TAB staff equals the second string (the B string) of the guitar, and so on for all six strings.
Look at the example below. The numbers on the TAB directly correspond to the notes on the standard music notation. Look also at the correspondence between the standard notation and the tablature.
Let's go through the example note by note:
The first note is a G. The TAB staff shows you that the note is played on the 1st string (the E string). You know that because the number "3" - which represents the first note - is on the top line of the TAB staff. Remember, the top line of the TAB staff represents the 1st string. The number "3" tells you that the note is played at the 3rd fret. So, the first note is played at the 3rd fret on the 1st string. The next note is the number "5" (an A note.) The note is also played on the 1st string, but this time at the 5th fret. The "5" tells you to play the note at the 5th fret. The third note brings you back to the 3rd fret, still on the 1st string. The fourth note is played at the 5th fret, but this time on the second string (the B string) of the guitar. Since the "5" is on the second line of the TAB staff, we know it is played on the 2nd string of the guitar and so on.
Chords can also be represented in TAB. Here's a E7 chord. The x shows that the string should be muted. You'll play with the first finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd (B) string, with the fourth finger on the 7th fret of the 3rd (G) string, with the second finger on the 6th fret of the 4th (D) string and with the third finger on the 7th fret of the 5th (A) string. You'll mute the 1st and 6th strings:
TABs contain also a lot of indications about various techniques. For this, see the Techniques page.