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Why do many Beatles chords books suck?
27 May 2017
6.44am
Patcat
A Beginning
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 Got my hand on a copy of "Beatles Complete - Guitar edition". 

Many song are listed in the wrong key. 

Why is that?

Can't Buy Me Love - F, Fool on the hill - C, Lady Madonna - G, all wrong.

The list goes on.

Why is that? A beginner musician will be confused. Finaly he found chords, plays along with the record and it's the wrong key. 

27 May 2017
8.24am
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Dark Overlord
Nowhere Land
Rishikesh
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There are many reasons:

First of all, companies like Hal Leonard are only there to make a profit, they couldn't care less if they made a mistake.

But the main reason is that most of these professional tab writers don't bother to actually check to see how the artist actually played the guitar part. For example, see how Tony Iommi actually plays the main riff to Black Sabbath's Iron Man:

6.gifImage Enlarger

Most TAB books have it being played with the root on the A string instead of the E string because the writers didn't bother to watch Tony play it live and didn't bother to pay close attention to what positions he's using.

Another example is Back In The USSR , most TAB's have the guitar playing a A D C D blues shuffle, when in reality, all George's rhythm guitar is doing is playing choppy chord strums like so using barred chords rooted off the E string:

1 2 3 AA AAA

1 2 3 DD DDD

1 2 3 CC CCC

1 2 3 DD DDD

Now what you really want to know is why some tabs are in the wrong key and this connects to the above statement, most TAB writers simply don't bother with actually putting in some effort and either write the tab for standard tuning or with a capo on a certain fret that makes them feel more comfortable playing the song.

Let's use Yesterday as an example, Paul tuned his Epiphone Texan down a full step when recording this song, so the chords are:

G F#m B7 Em Em Em7 Cmaj7 D G G G/F# Em D C G

But most tab writers assume it to be in standard, so they write it like so:

F Em A7 Dm Dm Dm/C Bb C F F F/E Dm C Bb F

Another example is Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf, most tab writers assume that it's in the key of A but Tony actually plays it in the key of C with his guitar tuned down to C#, which he did for the majority of songs on Master Of Reality through Sabotage. This is actually really beneficial during the bridge where if you're playing it right, you can just use open D and E chords, as well as play that little lick on one string like so:

e|4-5-4h5p4p0|

So you see, most TAB writers take the easy way out and if you think big companies like Hal Leonard are more accurate, they're not.

If you want my advice for accurately learning guitar, I recommend starting with Beatles To A Tee, it's a great direct to DVD instructional guitar series starring devout Beatles fan Rob Taylor who unlike other TAB writers, actually cares about playing The Beatles the way it was meant to be played and also tries his best to use the proper instruments that The Beatles used to record the song as well.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Sure, the video series isn't perfect and good luck trying to contact this guy, I don't even know if he uses his real name, but what would you rather have, 4 quality instructional videos with 2 or 3 flaws or a chord book loaded with flaws, his videos are available on torrents if you want to know where to get his videos.

If you're reading this, you are looking for something to do.

27 May 2017
8.41am
Patcat
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So you see, most TAB writers take the easy way out and if you think big companies like Hal Leonard are more accurate, they're not.

That's what I wanted to hear.

I've been playing guitar for more than 38 years now.

When I started there was no internet etc.

You had to find out chords by ear.

So when I got my first sheet music back then, it didn't match up with the record.

Never touched any sheet music ever since.

a-hard-days-night-paul-11

The following people thank Patcat for this post:

Dark Overlord, Beatlebug
27 May 2017
8.43am
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sir walter raleigh
In our yellow (IN OUR YELLOW) submarine (SUBMARINE AHA!)
Rishikesh
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Patcat said
 Got my hand on a copy of "Beatles Complete - Guitar edition". 

Many song are listed in the wrong key. 

Why is that?

Can't Buy Me Love - F, Fool on the hill - C, Lady Madonna - G, all wrong.

The list goes on.

Why is that? A beginner musician will be confused. Finaly he found chords, plays along with the record and it's the wrong key.   

Those guitar chordbooks always put it in the wrong key to simplify the guitar playing. Check to see if the book wants you to use a capo. Piano books are better for playing in the right key because there is no simple transposition method for piano like a guitar capo. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

27 May 2017
9.13am
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Dark Overlord
Nowhere Land
Rishikesh
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Patcat said
I've been playing guitar for more than 38 years now.

Wait , you've been playing guitar since 1979, I assumed you were a beginner asking for some help.

Patcat said
You had to find out chords by ear.

I do this myself actually, if you have enough chord knowledge, this is more convenient than looking at a TAB, but I also often either check to see how they actually played it or if they never played it live, make an educated guess based on knowing what chord and note positions the artist typically used in similar songs.

Patcat said
So when I got my first sheet music back then, it didn't match up with the record.

To be honest, I can't even read sheet music and I can play pretty much whatever you throw at me, some of my favorite achievements include:

Being able to play just about any Beatles song to a tee, lead and rhythm.

Playing the solo to Detroit Rock City on one guitar.

Knowing all of the solos from most of Queen's hits including but not limited to Killer Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tie Your Mother Down, We Will Rock You, Bicycle Race, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and Hammer To Fall.

Being able to play some Metallica solos such as Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, Fade To Black, and One.

Also, another reason why some chord books don't match up to the record is because sometimes, the song itself is tuned flat or sharp, this is often called quarter step down tuning and it is present on many songs, such as:

Nowhere Man , The Beatles, Rubber Soul , 1965, Folk Rock

N.I.B., Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, 1970, Heavy Metal

Pretty much anything by AC/DC or Van Halen

To tune to these songs, you will need to set your tuner to A430 instead of A440. On the other side of things, Black Sabbath's Paranoid album is a quarter step sharp of E standard, so you will have to set your tuner to A450 instead of A440 for that one.

The following people thank Dark Overlord for this post:

Beatlebug

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