Recomendations for Learning Tools?

ethelbertmagnus

New member
Messages
1
Hi everyone. I just joined the forum. I am an intermediate to advanced guitar player. I play mostly acoustic guitar (rock, folk, jazz, classical). I play for fun and my wife sings.

I've recently been dabbling into some styles that I haven't played before, such as, the song "Vincent Black Lightening" by Richard Thompson. I also purchased a book with tabs of Django Reinhardt songs and one with Johnny Winter tabs.

The issue I'm having is that I'm not as fast as I would like to be reading tabs. Does anyone know of a good book that has many different tabbed solos that I can practice to get faster. Most of the resources I've come across for learning to read tabs are too beginner oriented for my level. I already know how to read tabs, and can read sheet music as well. I play many songs with more involved solos (some of the Simon Garfunkle stuff, Donovan's "Sand and Foam", etc.).

Just hoping someone on here may have some valuable suggestions for me!

Cheers everyone!
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
Hi Welcome to the forum.

This is a forum mainly focussed on building guitars and there are many links available to help get started etc via the link in my signature below.

To your question.

Reading music is probably better than reading tabs. Reading structured music will make you a more proficient reader than trying to acquire the skill via solos many of which have numerous and often random elements. Good material would be things by Bach and so on.

For a more modern approach you could also give something like Guitar Pro and their Music Score tabs a try. (You can choose to view tabs/standard notation or both and also write your own tabs / scores) Very useful tool in many ways.

https://www.guitar-pro.com/c/18-music-scores-tabs

https://www.guitar-pro.com/c/10-guitar-pro-new-features
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,323
Just practice.  Is that valuable?  I found there's no easy way, I'm not a genius ... or natuarlly talented ... music tickles me in the right way and the learning of new songs, new solos, new rthyms etc. stimulates my brain.

Also, writing out you're own tabs is more useful rather than relying on others.  I'll listen to a piece of music and then tab it out.  It's my version of it, and I'm no Santana but it gets the point ... here's an example

index.php
 

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Seamas

Senior member
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516
I second the advise on learning how to read music.
People who "sight read" do so on written sheet music. It is a better notation for quick reading.

Tabs are useful, especially for a beginner, but standard notation is much more clear and shows how the music is functioning rather than where it may be on a fretboard. Plus the tabs only show how the tab writer would play the notes. They are usually more or less correct, but since many notes can be played at various points of the neck, they are often just an individual tab writer's best guess.

Also, while tabs do have a lot of things going for them, they are pretty clumsy graphically compared to notation, which makes use of better shorthand and easier to read notations. As a graphic designer I have to nod to the superiority of notation as a great example of infographics.


I do say this as someone who does not sight read. And the reason is simple. Too lazy. I took a piano class in college which got me pretty far on my way, but it is a practice thing--like drawing/draughting from life. You have to make it a regular part of practice or you lose skills.
 

NedRyerson

Senior member
Messages
412
A good topic, though better suited for the Off-Topic forum.

I agree in that notation is superior because, as said above, tabs are wholly dependent on the author's (sometimes bizarre) choices for fingering.  I recently played through a song where the author suggested a fretted D on the A string rather than just the open D.

In that particular run, the open D was much faster and smoother than the fretted note, given what was being played after that D.

For improving dexterity and speed (something I still struggle with), using something like Songsterr has helped. The paid version lets me slow down the playback so I can at least learn and remember the notes.  And discover when what's written in tab is not the most efficient way of actually playing it.

Sometimes the tabs will have you go up and down the fretboard instead of just across strings.

Despite all that, I'm definitely not a sight-reader for notation with guitar.
 

The Aaron

Administrator
Staff member
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2,538
Seamas said:
...standard notation is much more clear and shows how the music is functioning rather than where it may be on a fretboard.

This point is so, so important.

However, guitars do have a few idiosyncrasies that can't easily be transcribed in standard notation. For example:

Seamas said:
...many notes can be played at various points of the neck....

Unlike a piano, which can only play a given not once, the guitar can sound the same note at different points along the neck in unison. To understand this, tab is required.


That's why I think the best method has always been tab in conjunction with traditional notation. Any better tab books will do this.
 

The Aaron

Administrator
Staff member
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2,538
rick2 said:
Just practice.  Is that valuable?  I found there's no easy way, I'm not a genius ... or natuarlly talented ... music tickles me in the right way and the learning of new songs, new solos, new rthyms etc. stimulates my brain.

Also, writing out you're own tabs is more useful rather than relying on others.  I'll listen to a piece of music and then tab it out.  It's my version of it, and I'm no Santana but it gets the point ... here's an example

index.php




Rick Moranis?
Ricky Martin?
Richard Marx?
Ralph Macchio?
Rupert Murdhoch?
Roasted Maple?
 

Rick

Senior member
Messages
4,323
On all my tabs I give credit to the arranger ... Me! Ronald McDonald! LOL
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
The Aaron said:
Seamas said:
...standard notation is much more clear and shows how the music is functioning rather than where it may be on a fretboard.

This point is so, so important.

However, guitars do have a few idiosyncrasies that can't easily be transcribed in standard notation. For example:

Seamas said:
...many notes can be played at various points of the neck....

Unlike a piano, which can only play a given not once, the guitar can sound the same note at different points along the neck in unison. To understand this, tab is required.


That's why I think the best method has always been tab in conjunction with traditional notation. Any better tab books will do this.

Carrying on this discussion, the point of where a note might be played tab is not really needed. In classical guitar standard notation often a symbol such as V might be given meaning you are in fifth position, this along with sometimes a suggested left hand fingering 1, 2, 3 or 4 makes it obvious where a given note is. Then you have also right hand fingering PIMAS or as often called PIMA.

Back to tab in conjunction with standard notation where I do think it is useful is in notating bends, tremolo bar dives etc and other electric guitar techniques that do not really exist in standard notation. When this is written out well and correctly it can make things a lot easier and I find myself if reading such a piece looking at both tab and the standard notation for information.

I have noticed over the years that in transcriptions using standard notation and tab, the tab is not always correct regarding fingerings or positions even if referencing the actual notes played. Even worse is tab where the standard notation is correct but the tab is written on the wrong string giving an entirely wrong note. So if someone cannot read standard notation and is reliant on tab the errors can not be spotted and corrected as easily.



 

The Aaron

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Staff member
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2,538
About a year ago I joined a Journey tribute, so I had 30 songs to learn. I bought a tab book, and quickly found that the tabs in many places were wrong...sometimes wildly so. I spent a lot of time watching vids of live Journey performances to see exactly how Neal was doing things, and it was tremendously helpful.

I doubt pro transcribers have that kind of time per song. I envision them sitting with a pair of headphones and the Amazing Slow-Downer, working through songs as fast as possible. They probably enter the notes in standard notation, and their software picks a likely fretboard position on it own. That will be changed only if they take the time to add tab-specific articulations like bends or hammer-ons, and spot a problem.

On the other hand, sometime the transcribers get so hyper-focused on the details that they bury the bigger picture. Two examples:

You know that trick where you do some hammer-ons with your fretting hand, and slide your right hand lightly down the string, creating lots of random harmonics? I saw a Satriani tab once where every single one of those notes for both left and right hand were tabbed out, including virtual fret positions on the right hand noted like "36th fret, 35th fret, 34th fret." It was bonkers....it took a very simple concept - something that could be taught to a player of average ability in 30 seconds - and rendered it impossible to figure out. Useless info that obscured the message.

Another one I saw was a Prince tune. The female guitarist on the recording was wearing a bunch of bracelets, and the transcriber made a notation each time the bracelets struck the guitar body. Again: useless info that obscured the message.

 

ValeBliz

Senior member
Messages
117
The Aaron said:
Another one I saw was a Prince tune. The female guitarist on the recording was wearing a bunch of bracelets, and the transcriber made a notation each time the bracelets struck the guitar body. Again: useless info that obscured the message.

What the hell.
 

Megatron

Active member
Messages
58
The Aaron said:
You know that trick where you do some hammer-ons with your fretting hand, and slide your right hand lightly down the string, creating lots of random harmonics? I saw a Satriani tab once where every single one of those notes for both left and right hand were tabbed out, including virtual fret positions on the right hand noted like "36th fret, 35th fret, 34th fret." It was bonkers....it took a very simple concept - something that could be taught to a player of average ability in 30 seconds - and rendered it impossible to figure out. Useless info that obscured the message.

Can you find a yt video of this? Would love to see/hear it in action.
 

stratamania

Senior member
Messages
9,217
Megatron said:
The Aaron said:
You know that trick where you do some hammer-ons with your fretting hand, and slide your right hand lightly down the string, creating lots of random harmonics? I saw a Satriani tab once where every single one of those notes for both left and right hand were tabbed out, including virtual fret positions on the right hand noted like "36th fret, 35th fret, 34th fret." It was bonkers....it took a very simple concept - something that could be taught to a player of average ability in 30 seconds - and rendered it impossible to figure out. Useless info that obscured the message.

Can you find a yt video of this? Would love to see/hear it in action.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wazfASl73U[/youtube]
 
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