Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Finally, a legit use for TAB

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Hambone, Sep 10, 2000.


  1. No this isn't the start of some flaming discussion about the relative merits of TAB. It's just that TAB is generally looked down upon by most of the music world as a very poor substitution for reading actual notation. I agree. But I have discovered a use for TAB that has really helped me.

    I learned how to read music in junior high school when I began playing the BBb tuba. This instrument is voiced an octave below the EBG and as such the notation is written mostly below the staff. I wired my brain in the ensuing 6 years of playing to those notes (sometimes 4 lines below the staff) and, as such, have some problems reading notes that are above the staff. I also didn't have but one year of reading with the EBG (in jazz ensemble) and even then had to use brass arrangements for the bass.

    What has helped me is the simultaneous use of traditional/TAB lines to help get the notes in my head. On a brass instrument there are rarely alternate fingerings for the same note in the same octave. Unlike BG that has at least 2 notes (sometimes 3) in the same octave. It also helps me with learning how the hand positioning should be for a particular excercise. I have a couple of books that use both TAB and regular notation for the instruction. I also have one of the direct transcription books that shows actual bass lines as they were recorded. That has been a help in learning just how some of these famous musicians accomplished their sound.
     
  2. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    Unfortunately even "bass recorded" versions of tab aren't always good. As an example I have one (Badge by Cream) that the tab directs you to play a note on the A string 3rd fret followed by a note on the A string 7th fret. It is much easier of course to play it on the D string 2nd fret as the following note is once again on the A string 3rd fret. I think that if you're thinking notes instead of frets it helps determine the best place on the fretboard to play it.

    Mike
     
  3. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm just guessing-
    The TAB to "Badge" is most likely copping what Jack Bruce played on the recording...granted, it's easier to move from "C"(A-string, 3rd fret)to "E"(D-string, 2nd fret).
    The reality of it all(geez...)is Bruce probably played the "E" on the A-string 'cause of tone/timbre/whatever. I do know the tune; when I was younger, I played the "E" on the D-string. Much later, when I really listened(& with more experience, blahblah), it sounds as though that entire opening riff/theme is played on only the "E" & "A" strings.
    We do agree that, although it's the "same note", playing higher up the neck on the "fatter" strings yields a different effect than playing within the first 1-4 frets on the skinnier "D" & "G" strings...right? :D
     
  4. That's what I was alluding to. There is always a different way to play a particular passage but with the TAB guiding you (and assuming it is correct) you will begin to understand the artists approach. This is interesting to me as a student but not the main reason I find TAB helpful. That would be for the eye/hand training and trying to overcome (supplement?) the earlier training with the brass instrument.
     
  5. MJB

    MJB

    Mar 17, 2000
    JimK, I never thought about that but you may very well be right. Another thought that occured to me is that there are quarter note rests between the C and E and the C again perhaps the larger position shift aided in the timing. I can tell you that my ears aren't good enough to hear the difference :D
     
  6. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    MJB-
    ...no problema; BTW, I'm not known around this BB as "Tone-Deaf Weasle" for nuttin'!
    And I'm also one of those players that likes to stay in one position if at all possible...
     
  7. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc

    Dec 17, 1999
    Michigan
    Legit use for TAB? ... I keep some sheets in reach of the toilet in case I run out of the roll stuff.

    jc
     
  8. Rockinjc, how about an insightful comment on my use of TAB and how it helps me with some of the identification problems I experience having learned my staff and range on a totally different instrument.
     
  9. The tuba actually isn't voiced any lower than the bass (at least a 5 string bass - more or less). The difference is all double bass and electric bass music is written an octave higher than it actually sounds. When you play off tuba music there will be a lot more ledger lines below the staff but you'll just be reading where you should actually be. However, it is much more convenient to read the way we do since more of our typically used notes fall within the staff.
     
  10. Rockinjc

    Rockinjc

    Dec 17, 1999
    Michigan
    Sorry Hambone… sometimes I can't help myself. What I would suggest is going to a teacher with some challenging material you want to master and working with them to figure out the fingerings and shifts.

    Then just write these over the staff for your reference. Or just take a stab at it yourself, and write what you come up with on the paper in pencil try it out, and if you need to make changes, use the other end of the pencil.

    I think you are better off using your ears and common sense than to spend the time getting familiar with TAB notation. That’s why in my offhand smartalic way, I commented on the worthlessness of the medium to me.

    Good luck,
    jc
     
  11. I can assure all of you that while I find it useful to use TAB in this instance, I am totally in favor of using standard notation for everything else that I do. It won't be a permanent affair with TAB. I am self taught and, for now, choose to continue that path. For instance I didn't have any trouble at all with the score to "Birdland" since it was written in my "visual" range. That went pretty smoothly and I am always looking for other scores to learn. I probably will take your advice to do my own transcriptions as a further aid in gaining confidence with the note location. I don't have much trouble with position shifts as I can usually find a comfortable one for me but it is always interesting to see how some of the masters did it.