#1
can i actually learn how to play guitar just from tabs or will they make me into a "human jukebox"?
my guitar has be lying around forever and i know minimal music theory (i took guitar class at my school but the cut the program before i had the basics solid, that was 2 yrs ago) and i wanna know how far i can go on just tabs.
#3
human jukebox at best.

the main issues with tabs are that you don't learn theory or technique. ultimately, if you want to play well, you'll have to focus on learning techniques. additionally, unless you're perfectly happy just playing other people stuff, as opposed to writing your own or jamming, you'll have to learn some theory (theory actually makes learning tabs easier).

I don't mean to suggest that you can't play guitar with tabs alone. however, I think it is highly unlikely that somebody could become a solid, well-rounded guitarist without learning theory and technique
#4
Quote by Spartan101400
How far?

All the way....


To a Hotel.

im a girl, and not the slutty type.....-sigh- what is it with guys and getting laid?
#5
Quote by krehzeekid
human jukebox at best.

the main issues with tabs are that you don't learn theory or technique. ultimately, if you want to play well, you'll have to focus on learning techniques. additionally, unless you're perfectly happy just playing other people stuff, as opposed to writing your own or jamming, you'll have to learn some theory (theory actually makes learning tabs easier).

I don't mean to suggest that you can't play guitar with tabs alone. however, I think it is highly unlikely that somebody could become a solid, well-rounded guitarist without learning theory and technique

alright, thanks.
i guess i'll have to learn theory bcz first and foremost im a lyricist and the whole reason i even picked up guitar was to compose.
do you know of any good sites for learning theory?
#6
You can go without ever learning theory at all, it will delay your progress but it can get you places. Tabs can be used side by side with theory, they aren't exclusive to each other.

I speak from experience, I learned to improve and everything similar to it without ever taking a proper theory course. The first class I ever took was last year and I've been playing for about 7 years

^^^^^

this site has good lessons as well as this other site call emusic theory has some good drill in there to get you started....my music theory professor used that site as an extension and it was informative
Quote by EndTheRapture51
Anyway I have technically statutory raped #nice

Quote by EndThecRinge51
once a girl and i promised to never leave each other

since that promise was broken

i dont make promises any more
Last edited by megano28 at Apr 24, 2011,
#7
Quote by housemd
alright, thanks.
i guess i'll have to learn theory bcz first and foremost im a lyricist and the whole reason i even picked up guitar was to compose.
do you know of any good sites for learning theory?


yeah, theory will make composing way easier (and better, we don't need anymore VI-IV-I-V ballads). to be honest, I think youtube may be the best place to learn theory. it isn`t the more comprehensive in the sense that there is a curriculum to follow, but there are a great number of very good educators who have posted a variety of teaching methods on there
#8
Quote by krehzeekid
yeah, theory will make composing way easier (and better, we don't need anymore VI-IV-I-V ballads). to be honest, I think youtube may be the best place to learn theory. it isn`t the more comprehensive in the sense that there is a curriculum to follow, but there are a great number of very good educators who have posted a variety of teaching methods on there

if your going to send someone to youtube for theory lessons (or for anything for that matter), list specific videos and contributers. anyone can post to youtube and ts could start learning from someone who is going to point him in the wrong direction.


TS: musictheory.net is a great place to learn theory. also check out lessons here at UG.

however, if you can get someone to teach you, it doesn't matter if its a real instructor or a friend that already knows theory, that is usually the best way to go. This is because it doesn't matter where you gon on the internet they may not be able to help you with some things you are having trouble with, they can't see when you are confused, and you may have trouble explainging what part you are confused with to someone over the internet. but with a real person teaching you these things face to face, they can see those things and help you on a more personal level.

if you want lobster for dinner there is clearly a differenece between getting a lobster roll from mcdonalds and going to red lobster (or any other real sea food place), just like there is a difference between learning theory on your own (no instructor just youtube videos and a few web sites) and learning from an instructor.
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
#10
you need to learn theory and develop your sense of hearing, to be a good musician you have to be able to imagine something and be able to play it, or listen to something and be able to play at least something similar. Nobody is gonna give you a freaking tab showing you what you have to play, and most likely if you play in a rock band or something, nobody is gonna give you sheet music either, so you have to know what you're doing if you wanna be a good musician, theory and ear training.
Last edited by DragonSnout at Apr 24, 2011,
#11
Well as long as you tab stuff with your ear once and awhile you're all good, alot of my favourite songs I can't find good tabs for so I use my ear quite a bit. Now I can play along to a song the first time if it's not too technical and if I think of something in my head it's very easy for me to play it on guitar.

I don't know any of the notes on the guitar by heart but I know what part of the fretboard makes what noise so it doesn't take me a long time to transcribe a song to guitar.
Gear
- Synyster Schecter Standard
- Peavey Vyper 15

I'm currently using Cubase 5 for any recording purposes.
#12
I would advise to not use tabs at all unless you just want a quick way to learn how to play something.

Try to tanscribe as early as possible it makes a huge difference in your musical skill
As others have advised learn theory too. This guy is where I learned my theory from
. It follows a structure and it taught me the foundations:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Lypur#p/c/B585CE43B02669C3

There's a playlist on the right about theory lessons
#13
Quote by krehzeekid
human jukebox at best.

the main issues with tabs are that you don't learn theory or technique. ultimately, if you want to play well, you'll have to focus on learning techniques. additionally, unless you're perfectly happy just playing other people stuff, as opposed to writing your own or jamming, you'll have to learn some theory (theory actually makes learning tabs easier).

I don't mean to suggest that you can't play guitar with tabs alone. however, I think it is highly unlikely that somebody could become a solid, well-rounded guitarist without learning theory and technique



This is horrible advise...

First off the notation a piece of music is written in bares no impact with the techniques, dynamics, phrasing, spacing, rhythm, articulation, ect... being used on the peice of music. A well writen tab is inherently no better or worse than sheet music.

Modern sheet music is considered the standard because it's the most universal of all notations "as of now". Written notation its self is only 4000 years old. Modern Notation "sheet music" is only a couple hundred years old. Music theory has been around since people first started sharing music a few hundred thousand years ago, to say that you can't learn theory without knowing sheet music is simply assinie. Seeing as people shared music theory for milleniums before any form of notation even existed. Just like people spoke English for thousands of years before someone decided to write it down!


OP, Music theory is the study of how music works... no more no less. People try to make it sound like some huge mysterious and complicated thing. All music theory does is attempt to discribe music. In the exact same way grammer attempts to discribes a specific language.

Tabs and sheet music are interchangeable, they are just diffrent notations. Kind of like writing in cursive and print. Same language, same grammer, same everything just written a litte diffrently. The porpous of both is to help share a message from one musican to another "The main idea behind all music theory".

Neither is right or wrong, infact if you truly want to be the best musican you can be I would suggest being able to sight read both tabs and sheet music. That way you can communicate with any muscian regardless of the notation they prefer!!!
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
#14
tabs can help but its not something you can rely on.

if youre going to do the self taught thing one thing that helps a ton is jamming with other guitarists a ton that your comfotable around, that way they can constructivly critisize your technique and help you get better technique wise.

also use your ear to learn songs as that will develop your ear. and always challenge yourself with difficult material
#15
Quote by housemd
and the whole reason i even picked up guitar was to compose.


If your goal is to compose (good music hopefully), then you should go with learning songs ALL THE WAY.

By learning songs, you learn how music works on a DEEP intuitive level. You NEED this.

The best music isn't composed "intellectually" with mainly theory. It's mostly with their intuitive "feel" and a bit of theory as a guide. The theory is not the source of the music however. The hundreds of hours poured over internalizing the best music is what is the source of new original music.

Proof: The Beatles. Thousands of hours spent covering songs before they hit it big and became the best songwriters in history.

The way you should do it is 1) Learn lots of songs 2) After you've got songs, then go and learn theory to understand the songs more. Not the other way around.
#16
Theory in my opinion is BS.
Most of it anyway. It's extremely boring and tedious and yah. Yah. Yaaaah. Music's me
When it comes to composing I just keep jamming until it sounds right. If it sounds right then music theory doesn't matter.
Playing other people's music doesn't get me very far, I've spent hours looking at tabs and going "wtf is dis shiz", and I've looked up videos of the artist playing the song on guitar, watched his fingering and techique, and then I've nailed it. So I reckon all you need is basically tabs, and technique.
#17
I only ever learned from tabs, but I know how to read standard notation as well. So really... you can go anywhere. Guitar tablature and standard notation are both means to an end: writing down music. Tablature is equal with standard notation, except it's instrument-specific so it's naturally limited when you share it. What's important is whether you know the theory behind it so you know what's actually going on.
Ibanez RG2228 w/ EMG808Xs | Line 6 POD HD500 | Mackie HD1221
#18
Tabs teach you how to play songs, they don't teach you how to play the guitar.

Quote by Ultraussie
Theory in my opinion is BS.
Most of it anyway. It's extremely boring and tedious and yah. Yah. Yaaaah. Music's me
When it comes to composing I just keep jamming until it sounds right. If it sounds right then music theory doesn't matter.
Playing other people's music doesn't get me very far, I've spent hours looking at tabs and going "wtf is dis shiz", and I've looked up videos of the artist playing the song on guitar, watched his fingering and techique, and then I've nailed it. So I reckon all you need is basically tabs, and technique.

Oh shush you big mong. Just because you're too lazy/stupid/ignorant/cool* to learn theory doesn't mean you're right.

*delete as applicable.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#19
I'd like to add my humble opinion:
Tabs and Notes will show you what to do, but its all not worth much, if you don't put some effort in your timing and your ability to listen to other instruments while you are playing.
I've been to so many ssessions with guitarrists who knew a lot of chords but had no steady timing... its a shame :-)
So I'd recommend a combination of Tabs, drumloops and maybe some homerecording to be able to hear what you really did, then you have most of what you'll need to stay busy.
#20
Quote by housemd
im a girl, and not the slutty type.....-sigh- what is it with guys and getting laid?

You have to understand many of the guys on here are 13-17 years old so you can guess what part of their anatomy they think with.
Quote by FatalGear41
In the end, the only question is: what bass would Jesus play?

I think he's a Fender Jazz guy.
#21
Quote by Dayn
Tablature is equal with standard notation,



Not a chance.

There are so many things that standard notation can express that tablature can't.

The test of a good score is to drop it in a Conservatorium and if it's a good score, is if the person who picks it up can play it without asking any questions. If I were to drop a tab in a Conservatorium, no one would have any idea what to do with the rhythm of it or how to treat most of the material in it simply because tabs are limited in how they express music!

How do you indicate the separation of melody and accompaniment in tablature or the rhythm? How do you add in the different articulations to each note?

Of course, you can add in some rhythmic stems to tabs using Guitar Pro but how does that equate with standard notation and how many people who can only read tab read rhythms? Standard notation opens up many more capabilities and possibilities for the music.

How a guitarist will finger the music will depend if they're sight reading from a tab or from a standard notation score.

Unless you're a fluent sight reader of tabs and know your notes on the fretboard, reading off tab will have you sticking to the fingerings indicated on the tab which most of the time, aren't the best or most efficient fingerings.

If you're looking at standard notation, the player is able to finger the music how they like and explore all of the possibilities not only for the ease of playing but also variations in tone, resonance, colours etc.

TS, depending on the complexity of the music you wish to write (and the instruments you want to write for), you may be able to get away with only learning how to read tab but if you ever want to play with other musicians who don't read tab, you'll have to at the very least learn how to read standard notation and be fluent with reading rhythms.

Having a sound knowledge in music theory will also help you with the compositional process but it's also very effective to learn everything you can by listening to music and analysing it. You'll learn what works well, you'll learn why/how what you like works and you'll be able to apply that in your own compositional process later.
#22
Tablature is only limited by the person who writes it out. A badly-notated tab will be as bad as standard notation with no bars and black dots with no stems. Any half-decent tablature, like standard notation, will have symbols to denote rhythm, dynamics, et cetera. The only difference is you change generic dots to specific numbers.

That, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence will change their fingering to suit them, no matter the notation.
Ibanez RG2228 w/ EMG808Xs | Line 6 POD HD500 | Mackie HD1221
#23
The way I see it, music theory is much the same as math. A lot of things you think are useless now might actually become important to you later on. Like if you got a bank job, you might need to calculate mortgages. The first few times maybe you looked up the formula. After a while it becomes part of what you know.

As far as tab goes, this is meant to be used in conjunction with a recording (imo). You can't just pick up tab and learn a song. (Trust me, I know someone who tries.) As one of the last posters has pointed out, tab tells you nothing about time signatures, and has some other short falls.

Then the other thing about tab, is it is often posted by folks that don't have a clear idea what they are doing. They have down tuned a half step and proceed to tab notes that are out of key. 1 in 2 is at least missing parts. And some are just stupidly wrong. And these things cause issues at band practice. Much better to use arecording or proper musical score in my opinion. Tab is a supplement.
Last edited by Razbo at Apr 25, 2011,
#24
Quote by housemd
alright, thanks.
i guess i'll have to learn theory bcz first and foremost im a lyricist and the whole reason i even picked up guitar was to compose.
do you know of any good sites for learning theory?


You're in luck you already found one

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/search.php?s=Ultimate+Guide+to+Guitar&w=columns

Everything from basics for beginners to really advanced techniques and theory

EDIT:
Quote by Dayn
Tablature is only limited by the person who writes it out. A badly-notated tab will be as bad as standard notation with no bars and black dots with no stems. Any half-decent tablature, like standard notation, will have symbols to denote rhythm, dynamics, et cetera. The only difference is you change generic dots to specific numbers.

That, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence will change their fingering to suit them, no matter the notation.


They both have their uses.

For lack of better term. I think and sight read in Tablature.

Tab can easily express any kind of dynamic rhythms and techniques to play any song. All the things that the champions of standard notation say Tab can't express. Are actually easily expressed with properly written tab.

I can look at well written tab and know pretty much what techniques and even fingering I'll use to play the song in question.

The simple fact is you don't need to know a bunch of fancy names for things to be able to apply the proper technique using tab.

Tab must be a useful notational system after all UG has literally hundreds of thousands of songs notated as Tab...

Conversely standard notation requires that you know the names of things including the how and why. They are expressed on paper in the manner they are presented.

I'm sure a pick slide or dive bomb have fancy names in standard notation.

I just don't need to know what all those names are to be able use a certian technique.
Gear
Jackson DK2
Ibanez RGR320EX
Guild X82 Nova
Godin Seagull S6

Vox V847
Vox VT40+ / VFS5 VT


Quote by FatalGear41

Right now, there are six and a half billion people on earth who don't care what kind of tubes you have in your amplifier
Last edited by Willowthewitch at Apr 25, 2011,
#25
Quote by no bs johnny
If your goal is to compose (good music hopefully), then you should go with learning songs ALL THE WAY.

By learning songs, you learn how music works on a DEEP intuitive level. You NEED this.

The best music isn't composed "intellectually" with mainly theory. It's mostly with their intuitive "feel" and a bit of theory as a guide. The theory is not the source of the music however. The hundreds of hours poured over internalizing the best music is what is the source of new original music.

Proof: The Beatles. Thousands of hours spent covering songs before they hit it big and became the best songwriters in history.

The way you should do it is 1) Learn lots of songs 2) After you've got songs, then go and learn theory to understand the songs more. Not the other way around.


I agree with everything you said but this... THE FUNK BROTHERS were the best songwriters in the history of pop music. They were the house band for motown and they had more #1 hits than The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and Beach Boys combined
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
#26
Quote by Dayn
Tablature is only limited by the person who writes it out. A badly-notated tab will be as bad as standard notation with no bars and black dots with no stems. Any half-decent tablature, like standard notation, will have symbols to denote rhythm, dynamics, et cetera. The only difference is you change generic dots to specific numbers.

That, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence will change their fingering to suit them, no matter the notation.


WELL SAID!!!
Quote by MetlHed94



Well played, sir, well played.
#27
Quote by Dayn
Tablature is only limited by the person who writes it out. A badly-notated tab will be as bad as standard notation with no bars and black dots with no stems. Any half-decent tablature, like standard notation, will have symbols to denote rhythm, dynamics, et cetera. The only difference is you change generic dots to specific numbers.

That, and anyone with a modicum of intelligence will change their fingering to suit them, no matter the notation.



What sort of person who writes out standard notation writes it out without bars or stems unless for a specific purpose? How often to do you find tablature with all of those things mentioned and taken care of?

The usefulness of a tab is also limited by the person who reads it. Generally, people who stick to reading nothing but tab will have little to no idea of any of the markings that a standard notation score would read simply because an extremely large portion of tab won't even display it. You don't even have to look far, take UG for example. The furthest I have seen rhythm been notated in tabs on this website would be either placing the beats across the top of the tab or to mark it out with letters where C would mean crotchet, S would mean semi-quaver etc. In comparison to standard notation, that's pretty cluttered.

Unless you're speaking about Guitar Pro or PowerTab files where the rhythmic stems are inserted around the numbers, then that would be a better competitor against standard notation.

Of course tabs like that exist but it seems exceedingly difficult to find tabs like that around the internet and they're so uncommon that most people are unable to even understand it unless they know a little more than *place finger here etc*. If someone knows enough about music to understand all the markings etc, why wouldn't they simply use standard notation?

And I'm speaking generally from a sight reading situation, not when the performer has had time to revise fingerings and everything. Of course anyone with a modicum of intelligence will change the fingerings to their preference, that was part of my point, my point was that in a sight reading situation, careless tabbers or technical limitations may make certain tabs difficult to play while sight reading due to position shifts or awkward fingerings. I don't doubt anyone's capability to make up the fingering they like the most later on, I'm still speaking from a sight reading point of view, something that guitarists are notoriously terrible at. Why? Simply because we don't play in groups as often as other instruments where we're forced to sight read.

If someone sticks to reading tab and avoids standard notation, what happens when they play with musicians who *can't* use tab like a violinist, flautist, trumpet player etc? They won't be able to rely on tab in that situation. I'm not saying tab is a non-viable resource, I'm saying that it's not as good as standard notation for a musician. If you want to be a session player, no one's going to chuck you tabs for songs, they'll expect you to know how to read standard notation and read it fluently.

If tabs were a better resource in a broader scope, guitarists would never have to read sheet music, they would have stuck to tablature just like lutenists did because it was easier. Lutenists often played solo or would only play with other lutenists because of the limited sound capabilities of the instrument vs other instruments of the time so tabs were indeed a viable option.

Quote by Willowthewitch
They both have their uses.

For lack of better term. I think and sight read in Tablature.

Tab can easily express any kind of dynamic rhythms and techniques to play any song. All the things that the champions of standard notation say Tab can't express. Are actually easily expressed with properly written tab.

I can look at well written tab and know pretty much what techniques and even fingering I'll use to play the song in question.

The simple fact is you don't need to know a bunch of fancy names for things to be able to apply the proper technique using tab.

Tab must be a useful notational system after all UG has literally hundreds of thousands of songs notated as Tab...

Conversely standard notation requires that you know the names of things including the how and why. They are expressed on paper in the manner they are presented.

I'm sure a pick slide or dive bomb have fancy names in standard notation.

I just don't need to know what all those names are to be able use a certian technique.


How many tabs that you read express the dynamics/rhythms and techniques? I certainly haven't found many in the time that I read tab apart from the songbooks I've flicked through (how many of the people who read tab go out and buy the tab books? They just go to UG and look up the tab).

Of course tab is a useful notation system, I never said it wasn't, I explain that point a little further up this post.

Similar to standard notation, tab also requires you know things aswell. Would a cellist know what a hammer on and pull off is? Would they know what the numbers even meant? Of course not. With every system of notation, there are going to be things that you'll need to know before playing.

You don't need to know what the names of all the things are to use a certain technique but if the music calls for it, the music calls for it, simple as that. Reading music, whether it be standard notation, tablature or graphic notation, it's not a natural process, there are things you'll need to know before you even begin reading.

Quote by Willowthewitch
I can look at well written tab and know pretty much what techniques and even fingering I'll use to play the song in question.


I assume you're a rock/metal player (I lurked your posts). Sight reading rock/metal tablature is about the easiest thing you'll ever do as a guitar player. Rethinking fingerings in tab in that situation isn't difficult, I do it all the time whenever I feel like playing something contemporary. When you start reading polyphonic music where you're playing 2 or 3 voices at the same time, it gets more difficult to read the tab at the same time and change positions to better accommodate your hands/technique. If you were reading standard notation, it wouldn't pose as much of a problem as your hands would already naturally flow to where you're comfortable as a position hasn't already been suggested to your body. Seriously, I've read tab much longer than I've read standard notation and for purposes of sight reading, standard notation beats it (when it comes to polyphonic music anyway).


Quote by Willowthewitch
Conversely standard notation requires that you know the names of things including the how and why. They are expressed on paper in the manner they are presented.


You seem to treat tablature as something where you can go in knowing absolutely nothing and come out playing everything with that comment. What makes you think that standard notation is more complex than tab? All you need to do is be able to recognise a few more symbols and you'll be set to read it. I'm sure that when you started to learn tab you weren't a total natural at it, you must have stumbled when trying to read which string you were meant to be playing or that you had to count the number of frets you had to go up in order to play whatever note as the tab indicated.

Of course you'll think standard notation is more complex than tab if you don't know anything about standard notation. The same thing will go for someone who reads standard notation but has no idea about tab.
Last edited by XianXiuHong at Apr 25, 2011,
#28
While tab is very useful, I don't see how it can compete with standard notation.

One is a guide to fingering, the other notates the sound. Which is more important?

Anyway, to answer the original question - tabs are great for learning songs quickly and they're great to start with. On the other hand, you want to develop aural skills and also hopefully learn how to compose tunes yourself. Strike the balance depending on your goals.