# need help with "symbols?"

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by Bessie, Sep 23, 2002.

1. ### Bessie

Aug 11, 2002
Hi Alrighty. I am using some tabs of the song 'Coma Balck' composed by the great Twiggy Rameirez and there's some symbols that I don't understand. Here's the tab:
A:---------7-|-R--R--R--R-|---------7-|-R--5--7***-|---------7-|-R--R--R--R-|---------7-|-R--5--7***-|
E:-0*****----|------------|-0*****----|------------|-0*****----|------------|-0*****----|------------|
I have no idea what the * and the R means. Could somebody help me out please?
Tankyavurymush

2. ### Tiwaz

Sep 22, 2002
Norway
Hmm , the * probably means muted (percussive) note , the R I'm not sure of at all , root perhaps?

Have you tried PowerTab Editor? It's probably one of the better tabbing tools out there , atleast as far as free software goes...
Much better than the ASCII based tablature , check it out:

http://powertab.guitarnetwork.org

3. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
My guesses would be:

* - hold the note for an extended duration
R - rest

Both would be attempts to get round the problem of communicating rhythm using tab. For example, assuming the first bar is four beats long, it probably means 'Play the the open E string as a dotted minim (half note) and then the E at the seventh fret on the A string for the last beat of the bar'.

Writing the rhythm alone, with the count underneath, gives:

X-*-*-*-*-*-X---
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

which shows why there might be five * marks in the first bar.

It might be worth checking round the site you got the tab from to see if there is an explanatory guide as to what the author meant by his notation system.

Wulf

4. ### Bessie

Aug 11, 2002
I got this tab from this site, acually. Does anybody know if there is an explanation thingy on this site?

5. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
You could read the introduction to tabbing at Harmony Central.

It doesn't mention the system you quoted from (although it does give the important advice to include a key to the symbols you use when writing tab) - I was wondering if it was from some web based collection by an author who put his 'code' on another page.

I had a look but couldn't find the tab in the Talkbass collection - perhaps you could post the link. You could also look to see if a contact email address was provided.

Wulf

Aug 11, 2002
7. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
I can't find any explanation on the tab - you could try emailing Jon Craven (nojnevarc@hotmail.com) who wrote it... or just listen to the recording, which should make it clear.

Wulf

8. ### BoplicitySupporting Member

I haven't heard the song in question, but wonder if the * symbol does not indicate that you strike that note many times very rapidly. I have seen a similar symbol in other tabs that meant about the same thing. It saves time and space not to repeat the number over and over.

The "R" can only mean "root", but I don't see chord symbols, so I don't know what root is indicated and don't understand why the tabber doesn't just put the number of the fret.

The only other thing I can think of is for you to listen to the song over and over and see if you can tell by the bassline what the bassist is doing. Is he muting, as has been suggested or is he playing the same note very rapidly or is he using some technique like raking?

The tab has the look of an amateurish effort, being as no key or chord symbols are given. Internet tabs are notoriously unreliable. Good luck in your attempts to figure out the bassline.

9. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
I'm sure that R can't stand for 'Root' - I imagine this song is either E major or E minor, so why use an indeterminate 'R' when E notes are properly notated elsewhere.

I still hold to my 'Rest' theory. On the other hand, while I'd perhaps hold back on describing the tab as 'amateurish' it's certainly non-standard and doesn't follow the advice given in places like the Harmony Central reference to clearly indicate what your notation means.

Hey, Bessie - if you get it worked out, perhaps you could submit a revised version to the collection, making it clearer for the next person.

Wulf

10. ### Bessie

Aug 11, 2002
I emailed the guy who tabbed the song. This is what he said:

So, ahh, that's the answer I've been waiting for.

So, that must answer the question of root or not to root. Ha! Sorry that was a horrible pun. Anywho, it means rest. Thanks for all your guys' help.

P.S. I figured out how to use the colors!

11. ### wulf

Apr 11, 2002
Oxford, UK
Thanks for following up with the response you got - that ties things together nicely and we can all go and have a well-deserved R

Wulf

12. ### AllodoX

that's nice

but please don't use them too much, 'mkay ?

Aug 11, 2002