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A New Way to Read Tabs?

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Author: Jonathan J. Brett


Recently, I read an article written by someone called the "Guitar Tab Guru" about using a form of TAB that uses letters rather than numbers. He said it was a variation of Lute Tabs, where letters represented the fret positions rather than numbers. (He explained it as a=1, b=2, c=3, etc.) His method, however, used letter names to coincide with the proper note positions on the fret board, such as an F being where an F is located (ex. First fret, first string) and a G being where a G is (ex. Third fret, third string). He then divided the fret board into three separate sections to learn, so that once memorized, the guitarist would be able to locate all of the natural notes on their fret board. Once you can locate the natural notes, the sharps and flats are easily found by raising or lowering the note by a fret accordingly.

I found this article to be particularly helpful in that naming the notes on the fret board has always been a challenge for me. It's not often that a guitarist is quizzed on note locations, but on rare occasion I have needed to find specific notes that I simply couldn't locate easily. I could find the notes given enough time to figure it out, but every time wished I could do it automatically, without hesitation. This was particularly embarrassing when I first started teaching guitar lessons, and I had students who could name notes better than I could! I have gotten better, but have always seemed to struggle with this facet of my playing and teaching.

The Guitar Tab Guru article was actually quite helpful to me, helping me learn the troublesome spots higher up the neck. I actually recognized the patterns that he used as modal scales, something that I am quite familiar with. This made learning this technique much, much easier, and I would recommend reviewing your modes first to help you along the way.

The first position uses the Phrygian mode, and uses open strings for the lowest notes. The second position is at the fifth fret and is the Aeolian mode, and the third is at the tenth fret and uses the Dorian mode. For anyone not familiar with these modes, please research them and learn them, as they are very helpful in learning the notes on your fret board this way. This may seem like a lot of work, but it really is relatively easy. I know that www.guitartabguru.com has a lot of other articles about everything guitar, so maybe you could even find one on there.

Once you can identify the notes on your fret board, you will find that you can create more interesting music, as you can quickly come up with the proper notes for any song you are playing, changing positions all up the fret board. I hope you find this information infinitely useful! To check out the article yourself go to http://www.guitartabguru.com/Exclusive-Guitar-Tab-Guru-Article.html .

Happy Practicing!


About the author: Jonathan J. Brett is a guitar instructor and business owner. He has recently been asked to be an editor for www.guitartabguru.com after submitting articles on numerous guitar related subjects.


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