#1
Been checking these forums for a while, a lot of great information

So I got the Learn and Master guitar DVDs, having heard they were among the best to start learning the guitar. I bought a cheap noob Yamaha set (ERG121) and started the lessons 4 days ago.

Everything was going fine, the pace was nice and slow with the exercises using tabs.. until the end of lesson 2 (notes on the 1st and 2nd strings) when they completely took away the tabs and only used staff notation! Now this was fine for the first string, then came the second string and it got a bit confusing but was ok. I tried moving on to lesson 3 (3rd and 4th strings) where they combine all the notes and all hell broke loose, I can't get through a single exercise!

Why did they remove the tabs? I was going slow but moving forward.. now it's like there's an extra layer of processing where I have to decipher the note then play it in 1 beat, instead of focusing on my fretting technique.

So my question is.. is it normal to expect a beginner at this early stage to be able to play along smoothly with only staff notation, or should I look for some other lesson that uses a combination of tabs and notes?
#2
Well put it this way, i have been playing for two years and i can't read staff notation for shit, i can only read tabs. so i would say that it is not normal for a beginner to be able to read staff notation. If i were you i would find some different lessons, have a look on youtube or on here for example in the lessons section. there you will find some good tuition material
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#3
Well put it this way, i started playing music when I was 8 years old and only got to guitar at 14... so I was well versed with staff notation by then. BUT, i have rarely ever used it in the last several years for my guitars... trust me, it's not a necessity.
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#4
I thought as much.. I checked out the later lessons and it's all in staff notation! Demoralized me a bit, but I guess I'll look for some other tutorials in here.
#5
Staff notation is very handy for rhythm - tablature doesn't tell you how long to play each note for; you have to already know the song in your head.
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#6
Quote by seemeel
Staff notation is very handy for rhythm - tablature doesn't tell you how long to play each note for; you have to already know the song in your head.

I'm not taking anything away from staff notation, it certainly has its use. I just don't think it's realistic for someone on their 2nd day to only use that as their exercise guide
#7
Staff notation, of course, has it's place in music. Mostly it's a language and a very technical one used by musicians to convey ideas to other musicians. Yes it's handy for things like determining what key a piece is in and especially timing and rhythm but in all honesty it isn't necessary for guitar. It also takes a very long time to understand and sight reading while playing can hinder progress. Tablature is much more effective even if you lose key signatures and timing. That's why you listen to the music many times while you're learning a song. I like the idea that Guitar Pro and Power Tab put the staff above the tab because it makes you feel as if you're actually doing something more and helps you to work out timing and how long to hold notes, etc. I've never been a sight reader and I'm sure never will be. Knowing the positions of the notes on guitar and their relation to the staff to me is just a waste of time. Once you know and understand scales and their various patterns all up and down the guitar neck and the notes at each fret then the staff becomes even less important and only a guide to musical key and rhythm. Scales on guitar follow very strict and repeatable patterns. Find a D note anywhere on the guitar and you can play the D major scale if you know the pattern it follows. Really, it is just that simple. Some instruments like piano, strings and such rely much more on the staff but I've found it just isn't necessary for anything with guitar, at least in my opinion. I'm sure there are many people who are used to the staff and musical notation related to it but I've yet to meet one guitarist in my life who sight reads or who even completely understands what a staff conveys. I'm biased I know but I just find it a hindrance and especially in your situation. Good tablature and a keen ear for what you're trying to play are the best tools of the trade.
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Last edited by skywalker45 at Aug 5, 2010,
#8
Thanks for the advice. It's a shame because other than that I really liked the pace and structure of the "Learn and Master the Guitar" lessons. Any other lesson you recommend that use tab notations? I've tried a few of the justinguitar.com lessons and they seem pretty good.
#9
I also use the same series, it's very good. I also struggled with the whole staff thing, and gave up on trying to read it as I play, or read it at all lol.

Why not just use the tabs that are under the sheet music notes? that's what I do. they're not shown in the video but in the booklet you are meant to follow I'm pretty sure it's there.

Also, they aren't available for the songs at the end I think but you can just do the chords with those anyway. Just keep at it you'll make progress and be very happy with your results
Last edited by qais at Aug 5, 2010,
#10
Hi
I've been, and still am, using L & M Guitar and you seem to be trying to move on from session 1 and 2 a bit too quickly. The tabs are removed from the DVD (and only from some exercises in the bookl) to get you accustomed to sight reading sheet music. Also it is a start at getting you to learn the notes on the neck ready for later in the course when you learn scales etc. If this is not what you want to do, then you probably should have researched the course a bit more before buying. Have you tried visiting the forum. there are an awful lot of people there who are only to willing to help. All I can advise really it stick at it, take it slow and it will come. Also you don't have to stick religiously to just the course, you are free to use whatever material is available to help you conquer this 6 string beast. Another good resource is Nextlevelguitar.

Quote by skywalker45
Good tablature and a keen ear for what you're trying to play are the best tools of the trade.


There in lies some of the problem in that a lot of tab out there on the net isn't good and is inaccurate. Also unless your particularly gifted, training your ear requires practice. This is where sheet music wins over tab as it relays more info such as timing. rhythm, etc so if you can read it you can play it. Try playing a tab you don't know and it will probably sound like crap and sometimes due to said inaccuracies even ones you do know may not sound right. Tab wins over sheet music in there is far more readily available especially for modern music.

Of course these points are just my opinion and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that are happy to use tab and thats fine. Tab has its place in learning as does sheet music. I think each individual needs to find their own balance to achieve their end goal.
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Last edited by Geoff Webber at Aug 5, 2010,
#11
Visited the L&M forums as per your suggestion, there's a post from the instructor (Steve Krenz) where he discusses that specific issue

http://community.legacylearningsystems.com/boards/viewtopic.php?p=46880#46880
"Why do you teach music reading? Can't Tab give you all of the information you need anyway? Besides, my friend told me that this famous guitarist ______ (you can fill in the name of any famous guitarist here) doesn't read music."

This is such a common question. I have previously addressed in another post but I wanted to put it here for clarification as well.

Let me first say this TAB vs. Music Reading debate is about as fundamental as it gets in guitar discussions. Often times the debate gets polarized - us vs. them, TAB readers vs. Music Readers - which I have always found a bit perplexing. It would be the equivalent of someone shouting across the shop floor saying "I am a hammer man and all of you wrench guys are dumb". They are both just tools - each with unique advantages and limitations.

I have nothing wrong with TAB and learning by TAB. As long as you realize what TAB can and can't do for you. TAB is a physical representation of how to make music. TAB says "Put your finger here on this fret and the right note and sound will be made". The advantages are that you can make music quickly without going through the laborious task of understanding why these notes sound good together. If all that you are looking to accomplish is to learn how to play the intro or riff to your favorite song then TAB generally works fine.

Here are some of the limitations of TAB. It generally doesn't indicate rhythm. Some TAB have some cues for rhythmic indications but much of it gives no indication to which notes are long and which are short. Another drawback is that TAB on the internet is notoriously inaccurate in all but rare cases. So, while it may have most of the notes to the riff you are looking to learn it leaves out some pretty wide gaps in the full knowledge of what was actually played. And while TAB leaves no indication for a host of other musical nuances like dynamics (loud or soft) or musical form, it's biggest drawback is that it doesn't tell you the "why" of music. Why these notes sound good together? Why does this pattern work over this chord and something else doesn't? If I see this chord in the future and want to solo over the top of it, what should I play? TAB is just not able to answer these types of questions. If these more complex musical questions are of no concern to you and your goal in playing and learning guitar is just to play a few intros and riffs then TAB will do fine for you.


I guess what he's saying in the post is that TAB is good for playing existing riffs and music notation is more useful to compose your own stuff. Since the former is fine with me I guess I'll be switching to some other lesson then maybe comeback to L&M when I'm halfway decent..
#12
Don't give up totally on the course as later on (session 5 and onwards) deals with chords, strumming etc. which is always useful to know. Also try and stick with the first few sessions. I don't know how old you are but I didn't start until 2 years ago aged 42, and if I can learn to read music anyone can. Also as I mentioned before visit nextlevelguitar as they have lots of good free stuff on there or you can subscribe and get lots more stuff. Also every now and then they do special offers on their learning DVD course. Anyway the main thing is keep going with whatever method you choose and enjoy the journey that is learning to play guitar.
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#13
Let me first say this TAB vs. Music Reading debate is about as fundamental as it gets in guitar discussions. Often times the debate gets polarized - us vs. them, TAB readers vs. Music Readers - which I have always found a bit perplexing. It would be the equivalent of someone shouting across the shop floor saying "I am a hammer man and all of you wrench guys are dumb". They are both just tools - each with unique advantages and limitations.

This guy isn't wrong but he comes from a more classical school of thought. There is nothing wrong with learning to read music but I have my doubts, as I'm sure others do, that reading music will teach you the "why's" about why certain notes and chords sound good over certain scales. The reason is because unless you already know the scale and the chords derived from it (progressions) then sheet music isn't going to help. This is all music theory and not staff notation. Sheet music will not teach you music theory. Often that's something you'll either learn by yourself or through an instructor. I used to have an instructor who didn't sight read but understood theory very well and could easily explain why certain notes sounded better than others over certain progressions. To each his own on this subject though. Learning music, whether it be guitar or any other instrument is very individualistic. It's not how you do it but more if you can arrive at a place you want to be. Nothing substitutes for practice, using a metronome and determination. TAB or staff notation becomes unimportant in these aspects. Good luck to you in all your guitar endeavors. It will bring a sense of lifelong accomplishment and great joy!
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