About TAB system

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Whousedtoplay, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I've decided "to go with the flow" and learn Tablature (TAB).

    I have a few questions.

    Attached are two TAB examples from Jaco Pastorius' "Donna Lee".

    In the first TAB example, one can clearly see the lenghts of the notes, rests, triplets, etc...

    In the second TAB example, I cannot figure out that the first three notes are triplets.
    Where can I see any rests (pause) in the second TAB example?
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Well first and foremost, you will actually be going against the grain by learning tablature. Most educators are phasing it out, since only bass/guitarist's get away without learning music, every other instrument learns music so why shouldn't guitar?

    On to your question, the first example is proper tab, it is generally done underneath of a proper score but this one I don't think is so they included the timing. The second example is homemade tab, the ones people post on the internet, and most commonly done.

    Tab doesn't include timing, generally if you cannot read music you cannot read timing either so there is no need to include. Tab is also used to learn your favourite songs, so you are expected to know the parts rhythm or at least have access to the recording. Do not expect to see rests or pauses in 75% of the tabs you see, if not more, you are expected to listen for the timing and structure. You can always use a program like Transcribe or Audacity to slow down and loop parts, I find it helps immensely.

    I hope that clears up some confusion. If you have any further questions you can PM me since I won't sub this thread.
  3. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    Tab wasn't originally designed to replace sheet music for the musically illiterate though, it used to be designed to clear up fingerings as sheet music will show a B note but give no indication which of the many B notes on your fretboard it is.

    That said, it's also not designed to shed much rhythmic light. It'll help you figure out pitches, but it should be used in conjunction with sheet music or listening to the song to figure out the rhythm.

    Tab is a powerful way to learn something, just not when used alone.
  4. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    first Jaco didn't write that music ... you'll be better if you learn it from a Real Book ...

    Also TAB normally don,t have any rythm ... so really ... it is like eating fast food ... you eat, you feel full and then you have zero nutriment and so you need to eat something of actual value.

    In case of TAB, you don,t even know *** you're really playing, it doesn't let you find the best path to choose and well you need a recording to acutally know what the eff it is ...it really has no value compared to standart notation.
  5. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Well ... I disagree, part of the fun of learning to read is to acutally find the path for yourself ... also you need 2 to 3 other thing to figure out what you have in front of you ... with standart notation you have everything to learn the music and play it perfectly without hearing it first.
  6. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I've just used Donna Lee Tabs only as an example of a very well-known bassline.
    Here are the real notes:

    This one is without a key signature:


    Also, different transcriptions show different fingerings.
  7. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    I have the Real book with Donna Lee.

    The thing is, you need to have many different tab version ( and well ... since they are tab the % of error is a little bit too high ) just to have an idea of different fingering you could do ? Come one, you can figure that out with a transcription in standart notation unless you don,t know how to read music. Maybe the best way to play ( for you ) may be a mixture of all those different transcription so yeah ...
  8. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    I learned the standard notation, and I'm a strong advocate of the standard notation. Some of my postings were removed because of my strong attitude about Tabs.
    It's just so many bass players are using TAB.
  9. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    I have a feeling this is a troll thread, but I'll play along.

    Tabs are there to give a player a sense of fingering patterns for a song. Like another poster said, you can play the same note several places on the neck of a guitar, so it's not always easy to know where you should be on the neck. Tabs can help with that. They're a great tool for learning songs you're already familiar with but just need help figuring out the notes. They aren't there to replace notation but to provide information notation can't give novice to intermediate level guitar and bass players.
  10. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    It's not a troll thread.

    I've noticed at least two kinds of TABs.

    In my first example (TAB version 1), everybody can clearly see the lengths of the notes, triplets, etc...
    In my second example (TAB version 2), you cannot see it.
    Both versions indicate the fret position.

    I understood, that the second (handicapped) TAB version is more for the instant Internet communications or even texting.
    You can easily type "notes" using any text editor.

    (Can piano players create something similar for the Internet texting?)

    In order to type the notes using the TAB version 1 method, you need to have a special program.

    The problem is that a lot of bass players started using the "handicapped texting" TAB language as their primary notation.

    Also, in order to properly write Tabs using the TAB version 1, a bass player must also know standard notation.
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    People do what they can with what they can. Personally, either version works for me. Writing out songs takes a lot of time and effort, so I can't blame anyone wanting to write it out the shorthand way. My ears are doing most the work anyways; the tab is just there to make the process a little quicker.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    And to amplify on that, you'll find that the fingerings in most tab are only an option, and one you may not like. I've never found a tab yet that provided fingerings I would actually use. Most of them avoid open strings and involve frequent excursion above the 5th fret; I happen to like open strings and playing below the 5th fret whenever possible.

    You really need to use tab to determine the note in question, then find your own fingering pattern for the music. Do not assume what you read is the best fingering - in most cases, IMO it's not.
  13. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    True, but people often forget that tabs are almost exclusively written by amateurs (not pros). If you're expecting perfection from tab (which a lot of music scholars seem to for some absurd reason) then you're going to have a bad time. People need to accept it for what it is and not get too upset if it doesn't work for them or isn't perfect 100% of the time.
  14. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    The thing about TAB is it reinforces what you already know, you learn nothing musically from TAB, so take what it offers with a pinch of salt. :)
  15. My ear is better than my ability to read tab.

    Reading even text is a little slow for me. Reading conventional music is pretty dang slow. But a full song in tab has me screaming and running away from all the jumble of black ants and staples tat are squirming on a white screen!

    I realize I am probably weird and ADD, but I have found tab only useful for short sections where I can't make out the occasional short part from the recording with my ear. And then it is only useful because it is so readily available for free.

    And even then I often find it to be wrong, or in a illogical position.
  16. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    So you play nothing but cover tunes?
  17. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Yeah but even an amateur pianist or whatever instrument will have basic reading skills so ... guitar and bass players are too dumb to do the extra step ???
  18. No. I don't even understand why the question would be raised,
    so I will introduce a non-sequitur of my own;
    If you were working on an original, how would tabs help? Why would you need anything more than a chord chart, and a basic understanding of song structure and a few scales? Unless of course it really isn't your original, but some other guys original, and he is dictating exactly what you will play. In that case it effectively is a cover, just a cover of an infinitely unpopular song that could have been written in standard notation.

    Don't mistake MY difficulty with standard notation as an attack on it. It is a superior method of sharing information to tab. And for me, tab doesn't work as well as listening. For music you have never heard played before, standard notation is vastly superior to tab.
  19. gavinspoon


    Feb 11, 2008
    Cardiff UK
    Tab predates modern standard music notation, it was developed by lute players many moons ago. So while it is a somewhat simple style of notation, it isn't a simplified or corupted derivative form of standard notation.

    We often jam up new material on the fly in my band. I need to make real quick notes, so I write out riffs quick and dirty in tab and sometimes write out the rhythm as a rhythm line in standard notation above it for anything with a complex or forgetable rhythm. If I was quicker with standard notation I'd probably use that instead, because it's a more complete system.

    If tabs useful to you use it. If it isn't move on and do it some other way.

    For transcriptions, those in standard notation are usually of a higher standard than those in tab simply because of the higher barrier to entry in learning and applying standard notation compared to tab.
  20. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Let's be real here, you're probably going to have more kids learning those instruments either in school bands or with a private instructor. In those environments you're going to be taught how to read by someone with experience. Guitar and bass are more unique in that a good number of people who pick up either instrument won't have lessons. And why do they need to? With Youtube and tabs you can go really far on your own, and you never necessarily even have to learn to read in order to play well, join a band, record an album, or do whatever else your heart desires. Are they dumb? No, they just realize they don't need to know how to read to do what most of us picked up these instruments in the first place for - to play them.