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Getting To Know Guitar Tabs

By:Maxine Schel

In the simplest terms, a guitar tab is a word that is used to describe a musical notation, which may contain either numbers or letters and explains to the musician where to place his/her fingers on the instrument. Guitar tabs consist of multiple lines and is often called a ?staff notation.? These lines, which are present in guitar tabs, each represent one of the guitar strings.

New musicians often find guitar tabs to be especially baffling in that the strings are written backwards. The highest string is found at the top of the guitar tabs, which is often difficult to learn since most people would expect that guitar tabs would be written from top to bottom instead of the other way around. In actuality, guitar tabs are written from the highest to lowest and the numbers on each line represent the guitar fret. In order to understand guitar tabs, all new guitarists need to learn string placement and how to correctly read frets.

Generally written in standard format, guitar tabs may slightly vary depending on the sheet music publisher. Even still, guitar tabs are easier to read than learning staff notation. Because of it?s visual representation, new musicians are often more comfortable reading guitar tabs than any other kind of music.

When learning the guitar, musicians will become familiar with the instrument and how it works. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including private instruction, informational reference books and videos. In some cases, classroom lessons may even be used to help better equip the musician to learn guitar and how to read guitar tabs. As the musician becomes familiar with the terms used to describe a guitar, including the neck, fret, string, chord, etc., he/she will also begin to easily read guitar tabs.

In the beginning, guitar tabs can be intimidating. Multiple lines and letters, numbers or other symbols may seem quite confusing. With practice and time, a guitar tab will be as easy to understand as the links found your favorite website. Few musicians can play by ear without first learning a song via sheet music, which is why reading guitar tabs is the first step that a guitarist must take before learning how to play.

If you need further information on finding a guitar instructor, check the local yellow page listing or stop by your local high school or college and ask the music director for a recommendation.

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To get more facts about guitar tabs, check out our website at www.guitartabsreport.info for lots of free guitar tabs information and reviews.

Instant Play Guitar

American Music Teacher, August-Sept, 2004 by Kathy Maskell

Instant Play Guitar. Topics Entertainment (1600 S.W. 43rd St., Renton, WA 98055), 2004.

As a music technology advocate, my goal is always to be on the lookout for new ways to enhance my teaching and motivate students. Instant Play Guitar by Topics Entertainment is a wonderful package that addresses both criteria. For beginner students as young as early teens, this is an excellent introduction to both the art of playing and to the instrument itself. Established players also will find a wealth of knowledge here, as well as motivational tools, to inspire composition.

Since I am a pianist, I knew the music information would seem routine, but could my piano fingers adapt to new concepts? As I round the tune of "Amazing Grace" in a relatively short rime period, I was influenced more by the textual information than the video clips. The lighting in later video examples improved, which aided the visual reinforcement. Clicking on the bold, blue type brought up short, pointed text messages. Another plus was the "Tips" button to refresh your memory whenever needed.

With any instrument, introductory technique is critical. Fingering posture and hand position are illustrated clearly. I did have questions about my wrist posture that required a search of prior lesson topics. This is where I might have sought the advice of a guitar teacher to prevent injury. Learning fingering and strumming techniques took multi-tasking to new heights; however, the material continued to be presented in a non-threatening way, full of encouragement at every stage. The metronome is handy and well positioned visually to be a constant reminder of the benefit of slow practice.

Rhythm concepts are sound and presented orderly. TAB notation makes perfect sense with the rotating guitar neck visual. The use of red outlined measures as they are played helps keep students on task. As students progress to the second CD, they will find extensive theory resources, including chord inversions and building scales of all types, even a "weird" one. The scale finder is a wonderful transposing tool for all ability levels.

The "Chord Wizard" is a great tutorial, while the "Guitar ProLite" offers teachers an opportunity to create custom exercises and gives students a great compositional tool. Being able to import MIDI and ASCII files is the icing on the cake.

I would encourage guitar teachers to use this software to give diversity to lesson planning, and to those "do-it-yourself" types looking for a user-friendly music technology experience.

Reviewed by Kathy Maskell, NCTM, Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Music Teachers National Association, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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