Tab Reading Help

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by killer_j27, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. killer_j27

    killer_j27 Guest

    Dec 28, 2005
    Bethany Ontario
    Hey everyone im a brand new bassist and I have not started taking lessons yet. (I Am in the near future) And I have found many tabs to songs that I would like to play but I am having a hard time reading them and understanding how fast and slow to play the notes etc. etc.

    Heres an example of what I mean

    This Is the tabs for the song The Crimson By Atreyu


    Verse 1
    C|-77777777-33333333-55555555 x4

    Verse 2

    Okay first off I don’t even hear the bass In the intro (it must be there but I cant hear it) so I don’t know how to play those notes.

    And in the verse 1 I don’t know how fast to play the notes. I listen to the song but it is somewhat challenging to hear exaclty how fast the notes are played.

    And In Verse 2 I am having the same problem but I don’t have as hard of a time hearing the notes.

    Thanks In Advance For All Your Help Everyone
  2. Well, I don't know what style atreyu is, but if they're anything resembling hard rock, chances are the bass will be 'doubling' (doing the same thing as) the guitarist(s).

    As for not knowing how fast to play the notes, that's the problem with tab, there is no rythmic information given, so you have to sit down with the tab and the song and nut it out. It's always better to try it by ear first, even if you don't/can't get it, you'll have better understanding when looking at the tab.

    Good luck,
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    According to the tab you have, the bass is played in the Intro. Your bass is to be tuned CGCF, a low tuning I used when I played in a nu-metal band. You are told to fret the seventh, third and fifth frets of the lowest C-string..the E-string which is tuned to C.

    The tab looks as if the Intro is only one bar and you are to fret those three notes in succession only once each. I cannot tell, but I assume they are held or allowed to ring. Aslo without a time signature, I can't tell if there is supposed to be a rest note somewhere. I cannot tell on what beat you actually begin.

    Verse I means that you are playing quadruplets. Again you are playing the seventh, third and fifth frets of E string tuned to C. You will be playing much faster. You repeat the pattern four times.

    I learned to count this pattern in Spanish, but maybe it will help you. You count un, y, en, da; dos y en da, etc. In English, you could count, one and two and; two and two and, or something similar. Those here who learned music in English might have a more efficient count in English.

    Verse 2 is another pattern. Again you are playing on the E-string tuned to C. The tab adds a note fretted at the eighth fret. This new pattern is played only once according to the tab.

    Let's take the pattern for the seventh fret, as the other frets are played in the same configuration, except for the fifth fret.
    If you take each set of notes at the seventh fret, you see four sets. This what you do. Fret the seventh fret twice, twice again, then fret once but hold it as long as the two notes took, then fret the the seventh fret three times rapidly as a triplet. It is as if you divided that bar of music into four beats and each set of notes represents one beat.

    The tab does not show what kind of triplet we have here, because tabs do not ever show the length of a note. It is impossible to tell if any note of the triplet gets emphasis or are played "straight."

    Then fret the eighth fret with the same timing, then the third. But there is a change in pattern for the fifth fret...if it is typed correctly. You have the eighth fretted twice, then you play the eighth fretted as two sets of triplets. I'm wondering if that is correct. Is there a rest note in there somewhere maybe?

    What you are discovering is the great difficulty of tab. You can't read the notes, so you don't know if they are half notes, or eighth notes or what the heck they are. So you don't know how long to hold them. There is no time signature or key.

    Another thing is the tab seems very simple to me. I wonder if the original bassline isn't more sophisticated than that. There are no bridges or solos or any transitions or an outro and the intro is only one bar?

    Another important observation is the bass part is played only on the E-string (tuned to C.) The bassist never frets notes on other strings, not even the A-string (tuned to G.)? I don't know the band or the song, so maybe the tab is absolutely correct as written.

    You are very wise to get lessons.
  4. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    for counting quadruplets (sixteenth notes) you say '1 e +(and) a' then 2e+a, then 3e+a, then 4e+a, then back to one (assuming you are in 4/4 time). for eighth notes its just 'one and' and for quarters its just the number. unfortunately, to understand my post you need a much more detailed lesson, and im too lazy to type it. this is all what i learned playing sax in school, and i find it to be quite simple and effective. a teacher can clear up the confusion i just caused. :smug:

    however, the best advice i can give is to put the tab site away and start to figure it out by ear. back when i used tab i hated posts like this, but now i realize the reason for them. i have found myself to rely on tabs, and even the simplest songs are really hard to transcribe. im workin on it, but its a pain in the ass when im so used to tab. the sooner you start the better.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Killer, I went to and listened to a brief sample of this song because I was curious about how accurate the tab was. The sample is to short for me to know if the tab is laid out correctly in terms of intros, verses, choruses, etc.

    The song is very fast. Here is advice I would give you. If you want to play those bassline patterns, slow them way down and practice them far slower than the actual song's tempo.

    Start out at a pace that you can play the patterns accurately. Then gradually increase the speed. Do not pick up the tempo until you can play the pattern accurately. If you can't play it slowly, you won't be able to play it fast.