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When did tab become all the rage?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by WillieJ, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Wikipedia tells me that tabulature has been around since, oh, 1300 AD or so. But "back in the day" in my lifetime, the only musical notation I ever saw was on a staff. Then I took some time (ok, years...decades even) away from the mainstream of musicians, music stores, etc. Now its TAB all over the place, in addition to standard notation. Admittedly, I could have been living a sheltered musical life back in the 70's and 80's...but if it was around, it never came up in all the bands I played with. When did TAB get so pervasive?
  2. flea claypool

    flea claypool

    Jun 27, 2004
    I cant read music

    in the start when i was lazy/had a weak ear i used tab

    simple as that
  3. Why shouldn't it? It's a great tool for guitarists and bassists to learn songs. I learned how to play the guitar with tabs.

    I don't get why there's such a fuss on these forums about things of this nature.

    Edit: It's also ridiculous to assume that reading tabs means that you can't read music or have a bad ear. I can read music, but I've never once wanted to or needed to read music while playing guitar or bass in a rock band. It wouldn't have helped me one bit. If anything, learning songs by reading tabs helps improve your ear instead of needing to rely on sheet music.
  4. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
    I would guess that many individuals know how to use a tab and not notation. That would make it more popular than notation. Simple supply and demand. Tab to me is self explanatory as where notation is not as easy to learn. Again making tabs more popular thus the music market printing what will sell, supply and demand.
  5. FSSmikey


    Mar 7, 2009
    Miami FL
    ive been reading music since i was 12. but i read tab now for guitar and bass.
  6. Reading music notation is pretty irrelevant for most genres of popular music.

    IT's just something that snotty people learn to do so they can act like they're better than everyone.

    "Oh what's that? Tab? Ha. I bet you can't even read sheet music lololol"
  7. mkrtu9


    Mar 2, 2006
    I can't agree with the irrelevant part. Notation tells you timing as where tabs do not. I do not know how to read notation, and don't care to since I've never seemed to need it.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Why do you care that Tab is pervasive?

    Though I've never used it, to me it's just another method to learn some tunes. Some tabs are very simply organized, some are more complete with sig. keys, timing, etc.

    If it gets someone into music, playing in a band, having fun or whatever, so much the better.
  9. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    This poster doth protest too much. Obviously the inferiority problem is in his own mind. I was going to respond to his post and decided to let it go. And for those who took offense at the OP's question, go look up the word pervasive ... it is not pejorative (ooops ... another big "p" word!) But ...

    Tab is just a shorthand for "play these frets on these strings". It says nothing about all the other things that make music ... music. Time, key, tempo, dynamics, note duration, etc, etc, etc. And the extensions to tab are neither standardized and are more convoluted and contrived than standard notation. All very fine if one has a recording to reference. But if Beethoven and Mozart had tabbed their symphonies we'd be screwed ... :rollno:

    To say that reading standard notation is "snotty" is just nonsense ... I think I'll stop now ... it's not worth the effort to type it ... perhaps I should tab it? :)
  10. Dertygen


    Dec 21, 2008
    A-Town, Colorado
    ... can be done with TAB.
  11. funkybass4ever


    Dec 12, 2007
    tab has become popular because people have become lazy and do not have the time/patience to learn standard notation. I used tab when younger to play my favorite songs, now i use notation to play, read and write my own stuff. Tab is great when you don't have the skills to play at a higher level but want to be able to impress your friends with the latest riff/bass line.
  12. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Consider two musicians:

    1. One who cannot read standard notation.

    2. A musician whose has skills identical to #1, but who can read music.

    The fact of the matter is that musician number 2 is better than #1.
  13. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    But only by applying to the tab elements of standard notation. What you end up with is a bastardized hybrid that requires most of the same reading skills as standard notation, but is harder to read and more limited in scope.
  14. I like how you try to defend your own snottiness by being snotty.

    You also failed to read my post where I said that I do in fact know how to read standard notation. Standard notation itself is not snotty... but acting like you need to know how to read it for modern popular music, especially on guitar or bass, is snotty.

    And you're right, tab requires the player to fill in all the blanks. Which improves playing IMO. You have to listen for the right rhythm, inflection, etc. It made me a pretty good player. My ear is pretty damn good.

    Also, your Mozart and Beethoven remark further displays just how snotty you are. It also ignores my point: modern popular music does not require standard notation. Writing a symphony does. No one's arguing that.

    Edit: And no, sorry, being able to read standard notation does not make you a better musician. Paul McCartney does not know how to read standard notation. Snotty bastards.
  15. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Yeah ... but someone had to transcribe that to standard notation for the professional studio musicians who did the sessions. You're a winner, dude. Rock on, sonny.
  16. whisper14072


    May 16, 2008
    Grand Island
    I can do both... I actually used TAB to help me learn the fretboard. I would take the tab and write what the notes were on the sheet.. then after playing a few times I knew the fretboard pretty well...
  17. To answer the OP's question, tab was widespread when I first picked up a guitar in about 1983. There were tab books, and magazines that were mostly based around tab transcriptions of popular rock songs (Def Leppard! Ratt! Dio!). I don't know how popular it was before then, but there's at least 26 years for you.

    I feel old now.
  18. Right, because they are playing instruments in a different medium where standard notation is the norm and is much more necessary.

    You're just further proving my point.
  19. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    FWIW it's not all the rage for the gigs I do. (freelancing Jazz, R&B, Funk, Salsa, Folk, Musicals...)
  20. Whoa - yo - hold on there - slowdown
    ... sheeesh ... a sensitive topic. Hit a nerve.

    I use TAB. I like TAB. I've actually pretty much lost whatever facility I did once had with standard notation.

    All I wanted to know was literally when it came on the scene, and became popular. I was away from things for a while, came back and they changed.

    Just curiosity...and its just about killed this cat.

    Didn't mean to offend. Just a question.

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