I have to say I'm almost a completely by the ear man. There was a time(like I'm sure everyone has) that I used tabs. Sometimes, if I really just can't get my head around what the player is doing(usually if it's a tap riff or complex slap pattern) I'll look up a cover of someone else playing it. What about the masses? Only by ear? Or are there tab users and cover watchers here? I'll be doing covers myself soon, mostly ones that aren't done much on youtube like Graham central station and a few others.