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#1
I just wanted to know from someone with more knowladge

do famous guitarists write their compositions like tab or do they write down notes like real musicians

what do they prefer?

sorry about grammar
#2
i would imagine that there is at least one out there who cant do the actual music thing
#3
It is highly unlikely that there is a direct link between preferred notation and fame.
#4
Quote by domino_92
i would imagine that there is at least one out there who cant do the actual music thing

i mean, many of todays guitarists and band members actually have never finished music school, or they had just taken guitar lessons
#6
Quote by Freepower
i would say most famous guitarists use tab, because most modern famous guitarists are ****.


Ha, so true. I know a lot of great guitarists don't do either, but instead pick out notes by ear.
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#7
Stevie Ray Vaugn and Jimi Hendrix couldnt read music as far as I know. Randy Rhoads and Jerry Cantrells moms were both piano teachers and taught them to read music early and they definatly know/knew a good deal of theory and had formal lessons.

Most people asking this question are looking for justification to themselves to not go through the tedious task of learning sheet music and music theory because someone else did not and "look at them".

But the main thing you need to know is everyone is different and if you don't have some magical gift (you would know by now ) you should learn sheet music. Theory and the ability to read sheet music is only going to make it easier and no it will not "hurt your creativity" it will help you get your ideas in your head out faster.

Btw Im no theory or sheet music master I am still reading books and practicing all the time. I read tabs mostly but also dedicate some time to theory books and sheet music. Keeping a good theory book in your bathroom is a good idea.
#8
heres a little tip: most guitarists are lazy assholes that have set a standard of stupidity and ignorance for the instrument reading music is essential to understanding the language of music. many "famous guitarists" actually don't know **** about music and shouldn't be held up as a standard of a professional musician. cheers
#9
^ Basically a more blunt way of saying what I was thinking. I would have to agree with this generalization for the most part.
#10
Quote by american5585
I just wanted to know from someone with more knowladge

do famous guitarists write their compositions like tab or do they write down notes like real musicians

what do they prefer?

sorry about grammar



I think alot of them write their part on the guitar, practice it with the band, and then record it. Im not sure that they even deal with notation. If the song becomes well known, someone else deals with the notation when selling tab books/ sheet music.

Every one is different so im sure there are guitarists that do write things in tab or standard notation. Anyway none of us here are famous so how would we really know?
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jun 14, 2008,
#11
I know Suicmez uses tabs to communicate with the others in Necrophagist - I heard him talk about it in an interview.
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#12
Quote by american5585
i mean, many of todays guitarists and band members actually have never finished music school, or they had just taken guitar lessons
see this:\\///
Quote by freepower
i would say most famous guitarists use tab, because most modern famous guitarists are ****.


I'd extend that to most famous musicians. Theres alot of idiots that throw 3 chords together and a copied melody and call themeselves musicians.
#15
I'd say most rock and folk guitarists can't read music, while most jazz guitarists and all classical guitarists can. I don't know for sure about country guitarists, although many of the best country guitarists are Nashville session men, so I'd expect them to know how to read charts.
#17
Quote by Guitar_Theory
Famous Guitarists is such a vague term. To me famous guitarist means Jimmy Bruno, Joe Pass, John McLaughlin, Santana, etc.

And they all know how to read sheet music like it's a Dr. Seuss book.

^true. id say it depends on the style they play. im sure jazz guitarists write music. but if its a rock guitarist, id go as far as saying they probably dont even write tab. a lot of people just write lyrics and write the chord over top of the word the chord changes on. and solos, melodies, etc... are just all remembered. thats how i do it as a matter of fact. my solos are all worked out while recording with multiple takes of improv until i like it. and even if i "write" a solo, its just in my head.
#18
Quote by Blind In 1 Ear
^true. id say it depends on the style they play. im sure jazz guitarists write music. but if its a rock guitarist, id go as far as saying they probably dont even write tab. a lot of people just write lyrics and write the chord over top of the word the chord changes on. and solos, melodies, etc... are just all remembered. thats how i do it as a matter of fact. my solos are all worked out while recording with multiple takes of improv until i like it. and even if i "write" a solo, its just in my head.


yes, no one even plays the same solo two times when performing

they improvise all the time
#19
Quote by /-\liceNChains
Stevie Ray Vaugn and Jimi Hendrix couldnt read music as far as I know.


I read an interview in Guitar World where Stevie Ray Vaugn said an hour of his practice schedule is devoted solely to reading sheet music. Jimi Hendrix, on the other hand, I am fairly sure could not read music- it was all ear.
#21
Music theory is an important thing to know, I'm pretty sure it can make you a lot better in a shorter amount of time. In my school I'm one of the only guitarist in my Year Level that can read standard notation and play guitar at the same time. So it's quite important.
#22
You don't have to know much theory to be able to play great by ear.
If you know a bit of theory to help you train our ears (different scales over chord types etc.) then you can do really well following chord symbols.
I think Lukather is like that.
And Earl Klugh.
(Both very famous. Earl told me HIMSELF that he never learned music (I was shocked). He said that he "Learned as many different ways of getting from there to there as he could, and that's it.). I don't know how he writes it down when he has to.
Lee Ritenour on the other hand is totally learned, and can play any complicated written parts on sight etc..
Staff notation IS the language of music.
Tab is a cheat for guitarists who think that it is too hard to learn what the notes they play are called, and how they look on a staff.
But what really pisses me off.....
(I play an EWI).
Whenever I have tried to find the MUSIC, or even (God damn it) the CHORDS (Yes, the CHORDS) for any guitar piece, even a famous one like "La grange", ALL THAT I CAN FIND IS STUPID TAB!
How is that?
This has given me a terrible idea of what the mental state of the guitarist community is like.
It's like teaching someone to drive and telling them to "move the (manual) gearstick to the right and pull it back" instead of "put it in fourth gear".
Also, music written on a staff LOOKS HOW IT SOUNDS. Tab doesn't.
So it might be easier to use tab if you haven't learned to read, but you will never pick up a new tab sheet and just play it. But you could learn to play a new piece of written music on sight, or see how it will sound at a glance.
So it all depends on what you want to be able to do.
Taking a look at who you listen to might help you decide (if it is them that you want to play like).
My faves are:
Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, Mike Stern, Steve Khan/Louis Johnson, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke / Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Grover Washington.
There are some music videos on my music page for you to check these guys out:
http://www.coffinman.co.uk/music.htm
I guess to play like them what I really need to do is to learn as many PATTERNS as possible and practice them to super-speed, and then play to CHORD SYMBOLS.
I will also need to learn how to read the written parts of tunes, though I don't have to get good enough to just read/play them on first sight.
#23
Robert Fripp reads music and writes down all his ideas on manuscript.

I can't imagine a lot of professional guitarists using tab or notation. They probably just play from memory or record things roughly at home to remember them.
#24
when i compose a song it rarely goes into sheet music or tab. it just goes onto a recording somewhere, into a jam or into my head.

Writing down music is primarily a way of communicating and distributing music, since the communication within bands is primarily vocal not written so i can't imagine it gets written down a lot. Distribution tends to be of a finished song, so again no need to write it down.

if you want to learn other peoples music/have other people learn yours it is imperative to write it down however. If it's only ever you that plays it, writing it down is slightly pointless unless you have a bad memory, if someone else in the band has to play it, write it down for sure.
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
Last edited by doive at Jul 28, 2009,
#25
"like real musicians"

What's that supposed to mean? I'm not sure if your foolish, or jsut mistaken... but some of the greatest musicians can't even READ music, let alone write it on paper! There is no correlation between how you put your music on paper, and how good of a musician you are!
#26
Most tunes have a melody, called "the head" and then some improvisation.
The head is normally written to formalise it, although it may be actually played differently according to mood.
Of course it depends on the style of music too.
This is as an example:
www.coffinman.co.uk/music/Suspone.mp3
The head is played on EWI (an old one that could play chords), then a guitar solo (Mike Stern) then a sax solo (Michael Brecker). I took the piano solo out. Then the head is played again to finish.
Some heads are complicated and need to be written.
The solos are improvised over a repeating sequence of chords.
If anyone wants to try sight-reading Brecker's solo on this it is attached.
I need about 10 years.
I tried to add another "normal" music sheet for you to see but it failed.
#27
i'd say niether. if you write something you will remember it and not need any form of notation.
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#28
Quote by metalzeppelin
i'd say niether. if you write something you will remember it and not need any form of notation.


Well...
Charlie Parker, one of the greatest saxophonists woke Dizzie Gillespie up in the middle of the night to write down a riff for him before he forgot it. It was a fairly simple tune, "Billie's bounce":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhcH7MOKlBo


Not everybody has a digital recorder in their head.
#29
I find it loads easier to write in standard notation than tab, and I'd imagine that most people (including famous guitarists) that can use notation would also find it easier to write in notation rather than tab - you can see the shape of the music in notation, you can tell what it will sound like just by looking at it - I don't think tab helps you know how something will sound, it just tells you how to play it, which is ok for keeping a record of what you've written, but doesn't actually help you write.

Using notation doesn't make you a real musician though. Making music makes you a real musician. There's plenty of great musicians that don't read music, and I'm sure there were plenty of great musicians before standard notation even existed
#30
Music Theory, and Reading Music are different things really.

Music notation hardly tells anything about the structure of music.

That's like saying that someone isn't a good chair builder, if he can't write down the word "chair".

Writing down a piece of music in tab or sheet, has no effect on the sound of a piece, and is thus irrelevant for the actual music.

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#31
On the subject of jimi hendrix seeing as he spent years playing as a backing guitarist for people like little richard etc then he must have been able to at least read cheat sheets (where just the chords being played is shown). His chord construction is very good and he is far from ignorant of music theory.
#32
^this, lets just say that jimi hendrix did learn solely by ear. That would mean that he can only copy or create music. Therefore, how would he had known the pentatonic scales that uses so often in his live solos
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#33
Quote by baylewis
^this, lets just say that jimi hendrix did learn solely by ear. That would mean that he can only copy or create music. Therefore, how would he had known the pentatonic scales that uses so often in his live solos



They are only 5 notes in the pentatonic scale.

It's not hard to find out that scale by urself really.

I figured the pentatonic scale out by myself on a keyboard before I even knew what a guitar looked like.

I also figured Mixolydian out by just messing around, before I even knew what it was ("my" scale was actually 6 notes; Mixolydian, without a major 2nd).

Technically I then had the same approach as theory, but I didn't learn that through the way of studying music theory.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jul 29, 2009,
#34
Quote by xxdarrenxx
Music Theory, and Reading Music are different things really.

Music notation hardly tells anything about the structure of music.

That's like saying that someone isn't a good chair builder, if he can't write down the word "chair".

Writing down a piece of music in tab or sheet, has no effect on the sound of a piece, and is thus irrelevant for the actual music.
I don't normally disagree with you, but I do think notation tells you a lot about the structure of music - you can see the shape of th e music, the intervals, rhythm and dynamics at a glance. That doesn't mean you have to read/write notation to be any good, but I think for people that do understand notation, its a more intuitive tool to write with than using tab.

imo notation isn't like writing the word 'chair', its like writing a specification for a chair - you don't need to be able to write or read a spec to build the chair, especially if you designed it, and it doesn't affect your technical abilities at all, but it sure does make life easier, and its a proven method of communicating how to build that chair to other chair builders.

I agree fully with your last statement though - whether you use tab or sheet music, or any other form of recording a piece of music, it makes no difference to the music itself.
#35
Quote by zhilla
I don't normally disagree with you, but I do think notation tells you a lot about the structure of music - you can see the shape of th e music, the intervals, rhythm and dynamics at a glance. That doesn't mean you have to read/write notation to be any good, but I think for people that do understand notation, its a more intuitive tool to write with than using tab.

imo notation isn't like writing the word 'chair', its like writing a specification for a chair - you don't need to be able to write or read a spec to build the chair, especially if you designed it, and it doesn't affect your technical abilities at all, but it sure does make life easier, and its a proven method of communicating how to build that chair to other chair builders.

I agree fully with your last statement though - whether you use tab or sheet music, or any other form of recording a piece of music, it makes no difference to the music itself.


There's a difference betweens showing the structure of the music, and showing the structure of the music.

How do I word this hmmm...

Yes it shows you the structure in an easier way if you know the theory "behind the dots".

No, in that it doesn't show you the actual structure of the music.

If you see a C note to an E note to a G note on a staff, then all it tells you it goes from C to E to G.

It doesn't tell you that it's a Major triad/arpeggio, or that the are a M3 and P5 interval, nor does it show you that it is for example the tonic chord of C Major.

(You have to know theory to understand that)

I totally agree on that it helps you in communication far more between musicians, if knowing notation, and I can imagine it could be a more helpful tool in visualizing song music theory/song structure in a way.

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#36
Many guitarist use standard notation. Especially jazz musicians. However just because you don't read and write standard notation doesn't mean you're bad. Allan Holdsworth has made up his own way of notating his music and can't read nor write in standard notation. In interviews I've read he says he just plays it or records it for the other bandmembers when he have new material.
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#37
Quote by xxdarrenxx
There's a difference betweens showing the structure of the music, and showing the structure of the music.

How do I word this hmmm...

Yes it shows you the structure in an easier way if you know the theory "behind the dots".

No, in that it doesn't show you the actual structure of the music.

If you see a C note to an E note to a G note on a staff, then all it tells you it goes from C to E to G.

It doesn't tell you that it's a Major triad/arpeggio, or that the are a M3 and P5 interval, nor does it show you that it is for example the tonic chord of C Major.

(You have to know theory to understand that)

I totally agree on that it helps you in communication far more between musicians, if knowing notation, and I can imagine it could be a more helpful tool in visualizing song music theory/song structure in a way.
Ok, get what you mean now I think - notation can be used to communicate ideas when you already understand the underlying concept, but if you don't understand the theory then notation won't do diddly for you.

Ok, I don't disagree with you after all
#38
Thom Yorke (Radiohead) doesn't use standard notation, he says it's not adequate for conveying rhythms. Can't really say the man doesn't understand theory, however. :P
#40
Quote by Samzawadi
Thom Yorke (Radiohead) doesn't use standard notation, he says it's not adequate for conveying rhythms. Can't really say the man doesn't understand theory, however. :P


I can't think of anythign more adequate then standard notation when it comes to conveying rhythms.
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