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TAB vs. Sheet music
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20 May 2014
8.12pm
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Mimi
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I used to be able to read music really well, back when I played cello. I never loved cello, so I dropped it and changed to guitar, and haven't read music since, because I never felt like I had to. I learn most things by ear, although I occasionally use TAB when I can't figure it out. I know some people who think that using TAB is a terrible decision, and others who are really excited that more and more guitarists are reading TAB.

So is TAB a huge mistake for guitarists to use, or do you think it's a useful tool? Is it even worth learning to read music for guitarists who only play rock n roll (which is large percentage of guitarists)? Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this, so what do you think and why? 

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20 May 2014
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Starr Shine?
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I like to use both since I can read sheet music

 

the problem with TAB is that it is harder to tell if something is a half note or quarter note

 

though it helps since I can't sight read

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20 May 2014
8.23pm
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Mimi
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@Starr Shine? 

The thing with TAB, is its not universal, unlike sheet music. You can't hand a violinist TAB and expect them to know what to do with it. Thats the argument my dad makes, who is very ant-tab

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20 May 2014
8.36pm
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When Im 64
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I think tabs are easier to read though. I can read sheet music, but it takes more time to read. That' when I'm playing piano, I mainly watch a tutorial how tp play the sobg. Unless I make a rhythm up, I write ot so I can understand it.

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20 May 2014
8.43pm
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Mimi
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When Im 64 said
I think tabs are easier to read though. I can read sheet music, but it takes more time to read. That' when I'm playing piano, I mainly watch a tutorial how tp play the sobg. Unless I make a rhythm up, I write ot so I can understand it.

TAB is much easier to read, but its gets weird when you try to write complicated rhythms. 

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20 May 2014
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MrMoonlight
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Neither. I just find the chords online and play the rest by ear. I can read sheet music but I don't much care for it.

20 May 2014
10.02pm
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Mimi
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MrMoonlight said
Neither. I just find the chords online and play the rest by ear. I can read sheet music but I don't much care for it.

that is the best way to do it if possible

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20 May 2014
11.00pm
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Mr. Kite
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I can't read sheet music (well, fluently, I can translate it slowly), and it hasn't hindered my guitar playing. For a strictly rock/blues guitarist, tabs are definately not a bad idea. In reply to what Anna said with the quarter/half notes, tabs need to be used as a guide and if you know what the song sounds like you'll figure it out, if you want to play having never heard the song, like you can with sheet music, it probably won't sound accurate.

When I started playing I used tabs a lot, but when I learned chords I stopped almost completely. Now I use them for solos if I can't find an online lesson or figure ot out be ear. Definately not bad to use though, they're definately helpful, and once you memorize it, it doesn't matter how you learned it.

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Mimi

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21 May 2014
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MrMoonlight said
Neither. I just find the chords online and play the rest by ear. I can read sheet music but I don't much care for it.

I sometimes do it by ear, but that if there is only no tab. Most of the time there is so it does not faze me.

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21 May 2014
1.53am
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I play bass using tabs. Sheet music isn't generally available for free, and it's harder to read anyways.

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21 May 2014
2.31am
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Funny Paper
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For the purposes of playing (acoustic) guitar, all I want is a list of the chords used -- and it helps if indicated where they are used in the song as the lyrics go along. 

A mere listing of chord sequence is usually enough, as I can figure out where the last chord ends and the next chord begins.

What really annoys me is when songbooks (or websites) claim to have the chords for a song, but some of the chords are obviously wrong, or they leave out several chords that my ear tells me must be there.  I'm usually not good enough to figure out what chords are used if the chord changes are more complex or clever. 

Also, some musicians or bands are not that sophisticated, and you can often figure out the chords if you know basic music; others are more difficult.  The most difficult (in the general area of pop music) in my experience are James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.  The Beatles usually threw in odd & ingenious curve balls, so they keep me on my toes!

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21 May 2014
11.24am
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TwoAfter908
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Tab AND sheet music on one page together works really well because you can see the tab and the rhythm of the notes on the sheet music. Ugh I feel weird calling it sheet music cause thats not really what a staff is called...

 

And if you're doing a face melting guitar solo above the 12th fret, there's no way you could read anything but tab (unless you're some musical super-genius)

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2 August 2017
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Dark Overlord
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Although i recommend learning by ear over both of these options, i recommend TABs for chordophones (string instrument that's meant to be strummed) and sheet music for everything else.

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3 August 2017
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Flyingbrians
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If you are a guitar player then generally you should use tab. Sheet music doesn't lend itself to guitar very easily. 

However, if you are a classical guitarist though then you should really use sheet music.

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3 August 2017
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Shamrock Womlbs
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If you can read music then sheet music is the answer. It might be difficult at first but , as everything else, it just require a bit of practice.
TABS are often a mess.

Learn by ear is a good practice but shouldn't focus on it solely. Train your ears and your reading as well and you'll be unbeatable ; )

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3 August 2017
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QuarryMan
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if I'm playing guitar then I'll mostly use tabs, because I'm mostly a lead player and sheet music is not good at all for that. But for any other instrument I'll use sheet music.

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3 August 2017
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Shamrock Womlbs
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Sheet music is perfect for lead. Violins play lead, pianos play lead, flutes play lead... Everything you could play in the highest positions of a guitar fret board can be perfectly written in sheet music and, since there are special notation for octaves higher or lower, there's no need of using a ton of ledger lines for it.
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3 August 2017
6.09am
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QuarryMan
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Believe me I've tried. Just becomes confusing. It's different to a piano where there is only one key per note. On a guitar there are at least six different positions I could play a certain lick, sheet music cannot clarify that, making it extremely difficult when you're playing faster solos or whatever. 

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