Let's talk notation, hacker style!

Ask general music theory or songwriting questions, get feedback!

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thumbknuckle
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Re: Let's talk notation, hacker style!

Postby thumbknuckle » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:18 pm

Basslint wrote:I am an amateur guitarist, guitar tabs are very common and definitely not reserved for beginners. Using traditional notation for a guitarist is not very useful...


I am not a guitar player, I play bass, and I don't do a ton of reading gigs, but I play with lots of different guitarists and have never seen a guitar chart in tab form on an actual gig. I don't mean this figuratively, I mean literally never. Not on a big band gig, not on a musical theater gig, not on a jazz gig, not on a chamber music gig. Never. I went to college with classical guitar majors, none of their charts were tabs either.

Where are you seeing all these tabs?
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Basslint
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Re: Let's talk notation, hacker style!

Postby Basslint » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:47 pm

thumbknuckle wrote:
Basslint wrote:I am an amateur guitarist, guitar tabs are very common and definitely not reserved for beginners. Using traditional notation for a guitarist is not very useful...


I am not a guitar player, I play bass, and I don't do a ton of reading gigs, but I play with lots of different guitarists and have never seen a guitar chart in tab form on an actual gig. I don't mean this figuratively, I mean literally never. Not on a big band gig, not on a musical theater gig, not on a jazz gig, not on a chamber music gig. Never. I went to college with classical guitar majors, none of their charts were tabs either.

Where are you seeing all these tabs?


I don't play on tabs either, I mostly work with chords or roman numerals, but I know for sure tabs are used for educational purposes (as I read some guitar books).

Also keep in mind that tabs are often memorized, so if you see someone playing a cover of a rock song, they probably either learned it by ear or by practicing over a tab.
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Re: Let's talk notation, hacker style!

Postby CrocoDuck » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:00 pm

It has been so many years since I had read anything that I forgot how guitar scores are like.

Basslint wrote:and things like legato can be played in different ways which sound different, so if a guitarist has to be accurate, they need tabs.

You can notate all ornaments like vibrato, ghost notes and much more with ordinary scores. Very often, even the effect you should be using (for example distortion or reverb) is notated. You can find notation that express how to control the effects as well. I do remember lines going up and down giving some indication on how to operate a wah-wah pedal, for example, but I cannot dig that out right now. See below an example from a transcription of Manhattan by Eric Johnson notating legatos, vibratos, bending and acciaccatura:

Image

merlyn wrote:Music specifically for the guitar includes positions, fingerings and strings.

Ah yeah, I forgot about that.

Basslint wrote:Using traditional notation for a guitarist is not very useful, because they'd have to look ahead (or be well acquainted with the piece) to use efficient fingerings.

I don't think so. I have never got to the point I could sight-read a piece I never seen or heard before, unless it was pretty simple stuff, but I got plenty of friends that could do it on guitar. If I remember well enough how I used to feel back in the day I would practice and play regularly, I got to the point of liking scores much better than tabs because they would actually allow to sight read much better. The reason is that when you read a score, as you play one figure of it, you are reading the next one. On a score you parse exactly what that means in musical terms and execute it. On the tab it always took me a bit of time to figure out how to move from where I have the fingers now to where I am required to have them next. Like: imagine somebody sitting next to you while you drive a car. He can say "turn right" or it can list all the required actions (look at the mirrors, turn on the turn signals, slow down, etc... etc...). The first option turns out to be the easiest, unless you are learning how to drive.
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