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Why Tab?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Stingray5, Aug 29, 2000.

  1. All the discussion about tab vs. standard notation aside, why is it that some folks are always "looking for x bass tabs"?

    I understand that not everyone reads or cares to learn standard notation, and many notable accomplished players, including Paul McCartney, don't read.

    It seems to be a trend among the younger players, as most of us "older" players once were. But I found that back then I only used tab if it were presented to me in a magazine or something. Kind of a "just because it's there" tab reader. If I ever wanted to learn a tune I loved, I listened to it over and over and figured it out myself.

    My question is, why not use your ears to learn a song instead of relying on tab?
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I hate to sound like an old man, but it's all part of the new "instant gratification age". "I want it now, and I want you to do it for me." I remember stacking coins on a turntable (used for playing records, not scratching) to slow down the playing speed to learn songs. (I know it changed the pitch, but I adusted.)
    I think the younger players that do learn to read, or learn by listening will be the cream that rises to the top. The joke will be on the tab players later on, because with the tabs I've seen on the web, they're so bad and inaccurate that if you stick with them, your playing will become a joke.
    I've used tabs before, and probably will again. But, I only trust tabs from published books or magazines (and sometimes they're wrong), and I only usually use them to figure out fast parts that I can't hear very well.
    BTW, I can read standard notation, bass and treble clef, but I read (notation) slowly, so learning by ear is faster for me.
    Enough Rambling.
  3. JimmyLikesBeans


    Aug 19, 2000
    Im saving up for a new amp (for my guitar or my bass, i dont yet know). I dont want to spend my money on notation at the store, or order it, and i cant find what i want online for free. If you point some of us tab readers into the direction of some free sites for notation, i at least will be very interested. I can read standard, but its hard to get motivated to practice it.
  4. penstock


    Aug 10, 2000
    I play a lot of punk and ska and you simply can't find standard notation for it. I can read standard notation fine(although I usually only do it when I play my trumpet, so I'm better friends with the treble clef than the bass clef).If I could find standard notation I would use it. And when I figure out a song myself, I write it down in standard notation. But if you wanted a copy of something I figured out, you'd get a tab, because it's a pain in the but to do anything but tabs on the net.

    Although a lot of the tabs you will find have some problems with them, as long as you recognize that they are wrong you will be fine. At least now you have a starting point and you can go figure out how to play the parts of the song the right way by yourself. This is how I usually learn to play a new song. I am perfectly capable of figuring out a song all by myself, and have been doing so for years, but if someone has already done the bulk of the work for me and I don't feel like taking the time to figure it out, well then, I'll happily use the tab.
  5. OK guys, but my question was, standard notation ASIDE,

    Why not use your ears to learn a song instead of relying on tab? Wouldn't you think this would make you a better, more aware musician overall as opposed to relying on someone else doing all the work?

  6. I think by using TAB you cut yourself short most of the time. There are some times when it's OK to use it, though; if you are completely stuck trying to learn something. Everytime you learn something by listening to it your ear gets better and better, but if there is something that you just can't figure out you'll end up learning more by using the TAB than not learning it at all. You have to know when to give up, though. If you don't know the proper time to turn for help then you are just lazy.
  7. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    if youre saying, why not use your ears instead of tab, then why not use your ears instead of standard notation, i also, can read both, and find it extremely difficult to find standard notation for meat puppet songs, so i either tab them out myself, or look for a tab done by someone else.

    either way, saying, standard notation aside, why not use your ears instead of tab? well, then why not use your ears instead of standard notation, so youre saying its ok to use standard notatin but not tab? that doesnt sound right

    im not pro tab or pro standard notation, i use both when available, they both can be useful and make it easier for yourself to play a song
  8. OK, THIRD try:

    I'm talking about using your ears vs. using tab. FORGET about standard notation for the moment. That's a different discussion.

    You said sometimes you "tab" it out yourself, which is using your ears, which I think makes you a better player. So if you're capable of this, why use someone elses' tab to make it "easier"?

    By learning your favorite songs on your own and developing your ear, wouldn't that make it "easier" to communicate with other musicians? :confused:

  9. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    i see what youre trying to say, but i dont think its right to say, using youre ear verses tablature, because, i mean, people that use tab use it for the same reason people use standard notation, to read music so they can learn it without listening to it and figuring it out themselves, tab and standard notation are both aids to playing music, music that you have not written but wish to learn without figuring out yourself. i dont think you should say, ear verses tab, it should be more like, ear verses reading music without figuring it out yourself
  10. Ummmm, no?

    Standard notation can be used by a large group of musicians (orchestra? jazz band?) to immediately communicate with each other musically. You know, by reading a piece of music??? Tab cannot. If you do a search here, you'll see that this topic has been officially beaten to death. That's why I don't want to talk about tab vs. notation. I'm talking about if you CAN"T READ NOTATION!!!


    ::climbs upon chair. Places noose around neck. Steps off chair ::

  11. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    im not talking about tab verse notation, im just putting them on the same level, by youre logic, youre saying, why use tab? figure the song out for yourself so you can grow musically, well, i think if youre going to say that about tab, you can apply the same logic to standard notation, i mean, if youre personal oponion is, tab sucks, figure the song out if you want to learn it, then you using notation is no better
  12. NukeBass


    Jul 8, 2000
    Cornelius, NC
    I personally have a horrible ear, though I am getting a little bit better. (I was proud of myself when I figured out the beginning to Millionare Waltz and Sail It Away Sweet Sister by Queen.) I admit that it is tons easier to just grab a tab and play as opposed to sitting down for a while to figure a song out, which is why I use tab. I remember things much better whenever I figure them out on my own, but I'm just not good at picking out all the little stuff.

    What do you think about sitting down with a chord chart to figure out lines? I usually find my biggest obstacle is figuring out what chord I'm playing over. Maybe that's another discussion...don't know ;)
  13. phill gray

    phill gray

    Sep 4, 2000
    there is no substitute for learning to read music...this is a language that goes far beyond telling you where to put your fingers.the amount of information on a notated score, of any stlyle of music,allows you access to accurately and with individuality through your choice of positioning and tone,realize the music correctly,quickly and with feeling. takes time to learn...but youre a hell of a better player when you do.
  14. I think, as Stingray pointed out, standard notation is often used in entirely different contexts most of the time. If you took away the sheet music from a symphony orchestra and asked them to all go home and lift their parts for say a concert's program - an Verdi overture, a Prokoffiev concerto and a Beethoven symphony, for example, you'd probably have to wait several months before everybody could come back to rehearse together. That's a helluva lot less efficient than throwing the music in front of them which they could start playing INSTANTLY. At that point the players can get down to what's really important - making great music.

    Sure there is great merit in being able to learn things by ear, but I don't believe it's appropriate or as productive in every musical situation.

    IMO tab is usually as confusing as it is helpful. It's a bandaid solution which doesn't really give you enough information anyway. I don't waste my time with it. If there is no proper transcription available, I'll lift it myself and transcribe it in standard notation. That way I am using my ears, which is good, but since I write it down right away, I don't have to worry about ever forgetting it since I have a permanent record of it. That is very important to players in my line of work (symphony orchestra) since we are constantly learning huge amounts of new music all the time. Every week can bring 1 or 2 completely new programs of music, usually about 2 hours of music each concert. You learn it really fast then forget it since the next day you're onto an entirely new batch of music.

    So I would recommend to young players to learn standard notation in tandem with lifting things by ear. Don't just learn it by ear : write it down as you do it. That way your reading will improve greatly and you won't have to waste as much time with repeating things over and over for fear of forgetting them.
  15. ribob1


    Aug 30, 2000
    All have to say about tabs is that I use them because I do alot of fill-ins for local top 40/rock/alternative cover bands, so learning 20 -30 songs in a week is quicker that way. I use it for basics of the song, not to swear by the tab. Only as a quick way to learn alot of songs.
  16. phill gray

    phill gray

    Sep 4, 2000
    if you can read and write in standard notation it will take you a fraction of the time to lift something by ear...and 9 times out of 10 you won`t even need your bass.
  17. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    like i said before, i use both, but it seems that who started this thread was apposed to tabs, if youre going to say, why are people always looking for this tab and that tab, you can apply the same thing to standard notation. why dont you figure all the songs you play out by yourself and not use notation. regardless of how different they may seem, tab and standard notation are used for the same reason, to learn a song without figuring it out yourself.

    no im not one of those younger bassists that uses tab and thinks standard notation is dumb or something, i use both for what theyre worth, standard notation is better in the long run, but ill stop using tabs all together when i can find notation for the bands i want to cover. also, you ask, why are people always looking for such and such tab, maybe because theyre beginning players that want to be able to play a certain song, i learned my first songs off of tab, theres nothing wrong with that.

  18. Listen. Pay attention. Let's say hypothetically (that means let's just PRETEND for a minute) that you play bass, you love Slayer, and want to learn a bunch of Slayer tunes and join that Slayer tribute band that's looking for a bass player.

    The problem is (again, staying with our make pretend scenario) standard notation for Slayer music doesn't exist. In fact, it wouldn't matter if it did because you don't know how to read it anyway and don't want to learn it. All you want to do is play Slayer tunes with your tribute band, maybe even adding in some Megadeath at a later date.

    Now, since there's no standard notation for Slayer songs and no one to read it anyhow, you have 2 options left to learn their songs.



    Using your ears.

    (if you want to nitpick a 3rd option is for someone else to show you the tunes, but then he'd get the gig before you!)

    Which do you think would make you a better player in your Slayer tribute band when suddenly the drummer says,

    "Hey, bass player, I know you don't know these ones yet, but please prepare Angel Of Death, Necrophobic, Criminally Insane, and Altar Of Sacrafice for next week?"

    Do you think the drummer used tab to learn those songs? And would it be easier for you to have experience in learning songs by ear, or running around trying to find the tab for all those songs and memorizing them by next week?

    P.S. the reason I was excluding notation from the beginning was because my whole point was that I see a lot of folks looking for tab. I've never seen a post like, "HELP!!! looking for Limp Bizkit standard notation charts!"

  19. the Qintar

    the Qintar

    Jul 24, 2000
    you obviously dont see what im trying to say

  20. Ditto

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