#1
Disclaimer. This is my opinion. I'm not referring to this website, but simply tab format in general. inb4 I get reported for expressing my opinion lol

Guitar tabs are a good starting point for you to figure out the correct notes, but if you only rely on tabs, you're going to sound average.

Majority of guitar tabs have errors, even videos from licklibrary and the songbooks from Hal Leonard, that you pay money for, are also incorrect in many ways. Realize that just because you are paying for a songbook or video, doesn't mean that it was transcribed by the artist himself (this rarely, if never happens, for obvious reasons, tabbing several tunes from memory, takes a lot of time and hard work, something the majority of artists will not do, simply because it makes them no real money), in reality, it is transcribed by some unknown dude that works for that songbook company.

You would think, that if I'm paying money for it, and I'm not actually getting transcription from the artist, the least they could do is, tell me the fingering and pick attack, right? but no

Why do guitar tabs are inefficient?


- They do not provide fingering and pick strokes.

For chords and basic solos, this can be figured out on your own, but for advanced fast solos, this information is extremely important, and unless you know the exact fingering and pick stroke (up or down) for each and every single note, you will never be able to play those fast solos, you are making the solo harder than it already is.

Realize that the way the artist plays those solos live (fingering, pick strokes, etc) is the most efficient and less demanding way to play them, and still sound good. They figure this out before creating their solos.


Too many versions creates confusion

There are so many different transcriptions of a single solo out there, that all it does, is create confusion to the player, now add the fact that fingering and pick attack is not provided, is even worse, with so many versions of the same solo out there, you are left in the blank. The only way you could figure this out, is by slowing down the solo and live videos, to catch a glimpse of notes, fingering and pick attack. This take lots of effort and time, it can take weeks to figure out this information from advanced solos, which is why the majority of people don't do it, and conform with the tabs. Thus, never really developing their ears.

Now, you may say, what's the point of the transcribing a solo with 100% perfect accuracy, just use the tabs which are close, you should always improvise anyway, the artist do it all the time.

The reality is most guitar players, when performing live, they almost always play their solos the same way, and they also use the same fingering and pick strokes, which is not found on tabs, they do this, because like I said, is the most efficient way. Also, you may consider obsessing with getting a solo to 100% accuracy something to be OCD or obsessive, but this actually develops you ear and transcribing skills over time, meanwhile, the guy who simply relies on tabs, is lacking on that department.
Last edited by lalopunk at Aug 23, 2014,
#2
I am just going to share my opinion on tabs as a whole before addressing your post. I personally use tabs only with my own compositions and ideas. To remember ideas basically, just having a folder on my computer like a diary of ideas. As most people who have seen my posts on here would know, i am an "ear" guy, so i don´t use tabs for anything else and i always recommend the ears above tabs.

Quote by lalopunk

Why do guitar tabs are inefficient?


- They do not provide fingering and pick strokes.

For chords and basic solos, this can be figured out on your own, but for advanced fast solos, this information is extremely important, and unless you know the exact fingering and pick stroke (up or down) for each and every single note, you will never be able to play those fast solos, you are making the solo harder than it already is.

Realize that the way the artist plays those solos live (fingering, pick strokes, etc) is the most efficient and less demanding way to play them, and still sound good. They figure this out before creating their solos.



I just wanted to address this point slightly. You can actually provide fingerings and pick strokes in tabs, most people just don´t cause in their opinion the notes would be enough.

I also want to mention that "advanced fast solos" can allow for different interpretations of the fingering and picking as well. I have learned many tunes (especially old bebop ones) and then find out that i have played it very differently in terms of fingerings and such to the original recording, but still played the same notes. The way i played them was just more natural to my personal playing style.

Cheers.
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”


Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
#3
I think most guitarists with more than a few years experience realise this for themselves. There are plenty of reasons why guitarists should stop relying on tablature after the first year or so, but I'll address one of yours- there is software that lets you write/see the picking pattern (e.g. Guitar Pro).
#4
Quote by chrismendiola
I think most guitarists with more than a few years experience realise this for themselves. There are plenty of reasons why guitarists should stop relying on tablature after the first year or so, but I'll address one of yours- there is software that lets you write/see the picking pattern (e.g. Guitar Pro).


Guitar Pro and many other tab software do allow you to add the picking pattern

but the majority of guitar pro tabs, do not have this information, mainly because adding fingering and pick pattern, takes more time and effort, if someone is tabbing a tune for free, it is very unlikely that they will go out of their way to add this extra information

If you are paying for songbooks, they should at least have this information, and the majority do not
#5
Quote by Sickz
I am just going to share my opinion on tabs as a whole before addressing your post. I personally use tabs only with my own compositions and ideas. To remember ideas basically, just having a folder on my computer like a diary of ideas. As most people who have seen my posts on here would know, i am an "ear" guy, so i don´t use tabs for anything else and i always recommend the ears above tabs.


I just wanted to address this point slightly. You can actually provide fingerings and pick strokes in tabs, most people just don´t cause in their opinion the notes would be enough.

I also want to mention that "advanced fast solos" can allow for different interpretations of the fingering and picking as well. I have learned many tunes (especially old bebop ones) and then find out that i have played it very differently in terms of fingerings and such to the original recording, but still played the same notes. The way i played them was just more natural to my personal playing style.

Cheers.


I think is mainly because adding that extra information requires more time and hard work, like going through each notes out of dozens or hundreds of them, and adding fingering and pick attack, why go through all that trouble when you are not even getting paid for your transcribing work.

Thus, most tabs are good as a starting point, and then you should figure out the exact notes, nuances, fingering, pick strokes. Since this takes times and hard work, nobody will do it for you.

Actually doing this, and basically becoming ocd about it, will develop your ears and transcribing skills a lot.
Last edited by lalopunk at Aug 23, 2014,
#6
tabs are like everything else in life. They have their ups and downs. Its up to you to wade thru tabs to get what you need from them.

The exact same thing can be said about college classes, guitar lessons from an instructor, learning from books etc etc etc.


btw, pretty sure that Steve Vai does his own tab books for most of his albums. I used to have his "Guitar extravaganza" which I think was his first tab book. Pretty sure it showed pick strokes for the faster licks and fingerings etc. http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Vai-Guitar-Extravaganza-Authentic/dp/0769215033/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408816392&sr=1-6&keywords=steve+vai+guitar+books


I also agree with a lot of what you said. The same applies to vids/dvds etc. for example the Yngwie DVD where Yngwie clearly plays the lick on one string and then the little tab book shows it on TWO strings....which is ridiculous.

or the famous example of the VanHalen "Ice Cream Man" solo where so many tabs showed the opening lick to the solo as 2 hand tapping whereas it was actually played with just a big stretch with 1 hand

unfortunately its just part of life. I was finding mistakes in books when I had only been playing a few months
#7
Quote by JohnProphet
tabs are like everything else in life. They have their ups and downs. Its up to you to wade thru tabs to get what you need from them.

The exact same thing can be said about college classes, guitar lessons from an instructor, learning from books etc etc etc.


btw, pretty sure that Steve Vai does his own tab books for most of his albums. I used to have his "Guitar extravaganza" which I think was his first tab book. Pretty sure it showed pick strokes for the faster licks and fingerings etc. http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Vai-Guitar-Extravaganza-Authentic/dp/0769215033/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408816392&sr=1-6&keywords=steve+vai+guitar+books


I also agree with a lot of what you said. The same applies to vids/dvds etc. for example the Yngwie DVD where Yngwie clearly plays the lick on one string and then the little tab book shows it on TWO strings....which is ridiculous.

or the famous example of the VanHalen "Ice Cream Man" solo where so many tabs showed the opening lick to the solo as 2 hand tapping whereas it was actually played with just a big stretch with 1 hand

unfortunately its just part of life. I was finding mistakes in books when I had only been playing a few months


Actually, you may be surprised to know that a lot of the tab books we read are transcribed by keyboard players (hence the ridiculous fingerings we are sometimes presented with).

The artists are very rarely involved with the production of sheet music beyond the occasional foreword or introduction. I am always surprised when people think that the artists can find time between recording, writing, promotion, touring, rehearsals, etc, etc to write out their songs for the tab books.

I have all steve's songbooks that I downloaded many years ago, and each and every one them, it always says "transcribed by _______ some random name" It never says transcribed by steve vai.

I'm a Steve Vai fan, and I know for fact, that those songbooks are not transcribed by him, but rather someone from hal leonard or other company. I have seen steve vai play live, and it looks nothing like the tabs. Same thing for the studio version of his tunes. I have slowed them down. The songbooks are close though.

I have actually transcribed "for the love of god" by watching videos of him playing live, and it looks nothing like the tabs and songbooks online, like the difference in notes, where the slides, bending, legato are placed, is ridiculous.

Do you really think Steve Vai would go through all the trouble and hard work to transcribe the tunes himself, for a songbooks which will not really make him much money.

In all these decades, the guy hasn't even made an instructional DVD, much less, he would tab the songs himself, which takes even more hard work. He knows his tunes from memory.
Last edited by lalopunk at Aug 23, 2014,
#8
I don't think tabs are all bad. I prefer not to use them nowadays (they're often more hassle than they're worth), but starting out? I needed those.

I don't think I would have spent the past 8+ years playing and learning and honing if my first few years playing were spent practicing picking patterns, techniques, and scales to a metronome and digesting theory books during breaks. I needed to be able to rock out. Otherwise I would have quit a long time ago.

Yes, they're not the most accurate thing in the world, and I have run into guitar players who only rely on tabs, and yes, they are behind where they probably could be, but that's their fault for not taking an interest in (and putting in the time and effort to) understand music and tonality.

It's the 'easy road', but in the beginning, the easy road is important. You can get off at the first fork in the road if you want, but there's nothing wrong with them, especially starting out. You get better by playing, and if tabs allow you to do that and keep you interested in progressing? Go for it. Just remember to go back and put the understanding together later when you've learned a thing or two about music

I still use them very occasionally. I used them when I was in a cover band, especially. I have good ears, but sometimes it's faster to look at the tab real quick and get a general idea of what position on the fret board you're supposed to be in on the solo at each bar or two.
Last edited by mjones1992 at Aug 23, 2014,
#9
This isn't a soapbox for you to trumpet your opinionated twaddle.
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