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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 60
Tab Vs Ear

I have been mulling over this for a while now. What would you consider your most invalauble trait? The ability to listen to a tune and pick out the notes and play them, Or the ability to read Tab and play anything you can read?

I have to ask because I noticed a lot of people on the forum asking for Tabs for certain songs wheras I would just sit and listen to them and work them out for myself! I'm not being a know-it-all but I prefer to listen to something then read the tab and feel the gratification of knowing that I got it right without reading it first. I started playing to songs on my records before I knew about Tab (Or Even Music Notation) and as a result I am better at picking licks out of a song than I am at learning from Tab.

I just wondered what your thoughts were on which is your prefered method of learning a new tune?


P.S. I'm not saying that one method is better than another, I'd just like to hear your thought's on the matter

Love and all things Jem

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 10:00 PM
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By ear....most isn't always available, but as long as you can hear, your ears ARE.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 10:03 PM
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Location: Pasadena, MD
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Ear for 99%, Tab when all else fails for those "impossible" fingerings that my ears can't decipher.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 12:38 AM
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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Ear will always be the first develops one the most important part of be able to fine tune your ability to pick through notes as they travel, and make sense of them in your mind, then on the guitar.

The skill of reading music, not so much tab, is very good too. Most musicians are expected to be good comes in very handy in a vast number of situations.

So do both!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 12:38 AM
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I tab what I hear.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 04:02 AM
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Like Davester said, get the best of both worlds. And learn to read standard notation, they don't call it "standard" just for the fun of it. Learning to read will increase your gigging frequency.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 05:25 AM
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Hmmm, I don't know. I find myself tending to hear first and then read the tab if all else fails (but that kinda evolved over the years). You're right, there is a sort of gratifying quality to it when you read you heard it right. But then again I have been using tabs for ages and I still use them when I'm a) too lazy and b) when I'm absolutely not sure.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 10:26 AM
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As longs as my tabs don't fall off...
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 11:14 AM
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Location: London, Ontario, Canada
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I used to live off of tabs, but I haven't used one in months now. I've learned to just learn things by ear (which got me through piano lessons without practising ). If I do use a tab now, I'll just look at it in a guitar magazine in a store, or on the net to get a basic idea where to start from, or to check to see if I'm missing anything.

I find all of Guitar World's tabs are horrifically wrong lately anyways.

Ironically, I just learned most of Korn's "Issues" album by ear this morning...hey, had to do something with that really cool sounding patch I created on my Flextone II
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 551
i have to say i find tabs a pain! On many occasions ive sat there for ages with a tab, and got nowhere fast. When i do things by ear i seem to learn tunes so fast in comparrison.

Each to his own

Al M
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 398
by ear... hate tabs and can't read any other kind of music notations (and had 7 fun years playing guitar without it)

tabs are a good way of certifying what you play... nothing more, imho
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 08:45 PM
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Location: South Jersey
Posts: 25,716
Tab sucks, because it's never correct. Ear is the only way to go, possibly aided by some tab to get through a difficult spot [as long as the tab is *correct* for that spot], but the ultimate is video and ear in unison
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Ear, no question about it. The only reason I would ever request a tab is if I can't figure it out by ear, or simply can't hear what's going on.

Playing by ear gives me a much better feel for the song, and also allows me to do different things with it, and unlike tab, improves my own playing/improv much more.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 11:10 AM
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Ear without a doubt. This coming from a guy who struggles with playing by ear. I know my ear is good because I can pick out melodies and work them out, I just haven't been able to take a song and play it. Perhaps some of you could offer some suggestions...

Tab certainly has limitations: availability, correct-ness, play & read at the same time, etc. With tab you're depending on yourself, with your ear, you're not!
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-07-2003, 12:55 PM
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I learned so much about music by using my ear to figure out songs. I remember sitting down to the Aja album from Steely Dan in 1981 and working these odd chords out, one note at a time. I learned tons of new chords. Then "Gaucho" took that even further.

I find the debate between the two to be pointless; it's good that people play guitar, no matter what. It's not a competition.
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