i feel CHEATED in my 9 years playing..

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by szango, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. szango

    szango Member

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    whats the deal with TAB! its absolutly CRAP! after all these years of playing it feels like im totally starting over trying to learn how to read music! I dont think i could be any more pissed about it... im disgusted with all of my past teachers!

    If they would have said.. STEP ONE.. learn to read.. i would have taken them VERY seriously. I always expressed the fact that i dont just want to learn songs.. or learn how to cheat my way on the guitar.. (which is what ive been doing).. I made it very clear i want to master guitar in the long term (lifetime).. i have only been reading for a month or so, and SO MUCH jumps out at me!! I cant belive i JUST NOW found a teacher that knows how to teach the instrument!

    you dont see piano music with little keys marked off showing you where to press your fingers.. that would be STUPOD! and its JUST AS stupid to do so on guitar!!! im just as annoyed with myself.. i can only IMAGINE how much better i would be today had i just STARTED with the basics, rather then going back to it now... EVERYTHING makes so much more sense.. now that i can see what im playing on a staff in my head.. the way scales work (super basic) to the way i mixing modes with different scales to make my solos sound better... i would have never "seen" how they work together had i not attempted this!

    just blowing steam... you have no idea how upset i really am (at myself especially) for not learning this stuff when i SHOULD have... and my teachers only encouraged me to FAKE IT and cHEAT!!! whats that all about!!!

    for anyone that cares William Levitts (berklee press) "Reading Studies for Guitar", "Advanced Reading Studies for Guitar" "Modern Method for Guitar" "Melodic Rhythms for Guitar"

    I picked up all of them. and they are nessecities to any guitarist that doesnt know how to read yet! they are working MAJIC on me... i hate them, because it takes you back to day one with the guitar... but if you grind it out, they are the BEST thing to ever happen to you! (at least me)
     
  2. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    I'm not a huge advocate of TAB but at the same time, it serves it's purpose. There is nothing wrong with learning it. I don't consider it cheating, it's just another tool.

    It's very possible that your current understanding of TAB and then introduction to standard notation has brought you to this breakthrough.

    You are at a very good place because now you can use both.

    Congratulations on your breakthrough. Gotta love it.

    Just an aside, piano and classical gtr standard notation does denote fingering suggestions.
     
  3. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    From what I understand, tab for lute predated notation. In any event, tab makes much more sense for guitar than piano given how the two instruments are played, e.g., what do you have on the piano that's like a pre-bend and release with vibrato?

    That being said, I learned to read first and am glad I can (even though I almost never learn new stuff these days any other way than by ear or tab).
     
  4. Jo

    Jo Silver Supporting Member

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    Don't feel cheated by TAB, you should feel cheated by the teachers who never took the time to help you learn notation, despite your telling them that you wanted to master the guitar.


    Glad to hear that you have a teacher who is now doing exactly that.
     
  5. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Those are great books. I have all of them and am trying to teach myself to fill in all the blanks in my slack reading skills.
     
  6. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    IMO, this argument breaks down because that there's only one way to play E5 on a piano where there are 3 places on the fretboard where you can play that same note. As such, I see tab as being quite compelling for use by beginning and even intermediate players. Learning parts is hard enough without puzzling though where on the fretboard to play them.

    In my mind, use of notation vs. tab boils down to being a musician vs. being a guitar player. To be honest, at this point in my life I'm more than content being just a guitar player. I have enough goal orientation in my professional life that when I want to play guitar, it's play in the classical sense.

    And for the record, I learned to read notation long before I discovered tab or picked up a guitar.
     
  7. guitguy28

    guitguy28 Member

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    I have to agree with what some of the others have said: tab can be very useful. It's been around a long time, it's not just something invented for metalheads back in the 80s.

    The point is, the piano is a very linear instrument, one note can only be played in one place, and you can't bend the pitch of notes or add vibrato. Standard music notation works fine for piano, but-

    The guitar, and other instruments like it, have a somewhat non-linear fretboard that is a matrix, with an x- and a y-axis. The same pitch can be played at multiple positions on the fretboard. Sometimes things, like chord patterns, etc. can be hard to figure out exactly without the benefit of something like tab. Tablature is a good way of showing guitar players the most logical way to play something, when you are faced with multiple ways of playing a certain piece. I've learned a lot from tab- basically a cohesive way of looking at the fretboard, and how to get certain sounds for certain styles, which would have been impossible with just standard notation.

    Having said that, I'm in the process of learning to read standard notation ( I just have to spend more time memorizing pitches and getting used to rhythms) and it's great for guitarists who want to go beyond simply being a guitarist and become a good all-round musician.
     
  8. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    I'd never argue about tab being a "bad" thing, however, the point people raise about learning rhythm is a good one, and something that tab has yet to facilitate. When learning to read musical notation a considerable amount of time is (or should be) spent learning all kinds of rhythms well enough that they are memorized and ingrained. Many of these rhythms are ones that the guitar player or lutenist might not otherwise be exposed to if he was relying solely on tab for input. To me, everything in tab looks like 4/4 with straight 8ths or 16ths, but I know there's more going on in some cases. Standard notation clears it up quite well.
     
  9. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Tablature pre-dates the modern guitar. If it was good enough for the ancients, it's good enough for me.

    That said, learning to read music is an excellent skill!

    --chiba
     
  10. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    Tab can be a decent tool, but you're right - it's no substitute for truly learning your way around the instrument. I wish I had understood ear training at a much younger age. I meet lots of musicians who only learn by tab, hence, they can't learn certain songs if there is no tab for them and they can't jam. All the greats learned by ear, even if they knew how to read.
     
  11. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    As eloquently noted by the other posters, teaching guitar is not at all similar to teaching piano. The piano is an excellent reference point for being able to "see" harmony and theory as it lays out in a linear fashion. The guitar is mostly "not", and many of the things that sound "cool" to us about the guitar are very much "guitaristic" in nature, and are quite dependent on where in fact the multiple choices of any said note can be found, as relating to the overall "sound".

    In my teaching, I'd say that I most often utilize standard musical notation. However, tablature (or more pertinently, where exactly the fingers should be placed) is paramount to teaching this particular instrument. I need and depend on both of these approaches as tools.
     
  12. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Sorry, to me this is the product of a bad teacher.

    I have been teaching on and off for a long time and have studied quite a bit over the years. There is a delicate balance that has to be achieved when teaching a student, I give you some you give me some. I was never the type of guy that could simply show someone songs every week and a few pentatonic scales, I just could NOT do it.

    You have to take some responsibility to make sure your guys , in the long run, will walk away with a fair amount of literacy, instead of the run of the mill musical parrot.
    Forcing (and usually this is the case) a student to stuble through Mel Bay book one is not asking a whole lot. If that would have happened in szango's case this thread would not exist.
     
  13. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Good post, and I agree with you 100%, at least in principle. Since I earn my living as a player/teacher, I'm not always at liberty to turn away preferred learning methods of students, as the bills do have to be paid.

    I 've broken it down like this:

    For youngsters under the age of 14, I explain to the parent or guardian in advance that I will not take on the student unless they are willing to learn standard musical notation.

    For older teenagers and young adults, I strongly suggest that they learn to read, but will not beat them over the head with it if they are unwilling - "You can lead a horse to water, but..."

    I give adults the most leeway here, but again, push the reading thing pretty hard. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime." For the guy who just wants to learn a bunch of songs, I tell them early on that our relationship will not be long term - basically, I prepare them to deal with the jungle of tablature out there, try to nip bad habits in the bud, and upon reaching that point, tell them that they need to make a decision as to whether they would care to continue their studies with me. I have one guy that has been with me for a couple of years, and he's an interesting case. He has said to me that he wants to better understand the fretboard, but has balked at the prospect of learning the names of all the notes on the board, as well as diving into the CAGED method. When he brings the subject up, I tell him that I'll be happy to help, but on my terms only. I think I finally have this guy coming around... he also happens to be a former NFL star, and I asked him if he trusted his coaches when he was in the league. When he said "yes", I told him that he would need to trust my approach, and that if progress was truly desired, my terms and choice of approach were non-negotiable. He seems to be cool with that, finally.

    I try to mix reading, ear training and interval recognition, styles, harmony and theory, technique, and oh yeah, FUN, into my teaching, and I put a lot of thought and work into it. Students often fidget and squirm when hit with the "math", but that's cool, they're gonna get it anyway, and I explain that they can thank me later, when they're a rock star. And while it may not be the best professional decision in the world, I do tend to get close to my more dedicated students. Music is so personal and vulnerable that I don't think it can be taught properly without getting to know one's students.

    I will say that I'm a bit perplexed by what I've encountered from students who have come from systems such as Suzuki... while it might just be a fluke, many of these people can read well, but have not been taught to distinguish a 3rd from a 7th, and have no idea
    how to construct a chord or harmonize the major scale. This to me is extremely disheartening and causes me to seriously question the mindsets of music education systems at large.
     
  14. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    I think we are on the same page Tim, and I fully understand about making a living doing it, I have been there.

    It is like making a soufle', you have to have a delicate balance or the whole thing can go south.

    Your coach analogy is right on, I never understood the "i wanna learn this this and this" mentality. If you have ever studied martial arts then you know that you do not walk in and say "I want to learn how to punch, no kicking for me thanks", same difference. I started studying (guitar) again a year ago and I alway go in with an open mind, let the teacher teach. You have to respect the experience, it is that simple, and that is what you are paying for after all.
     
  15. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Well said, Mr. Hanky.
     
  16. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Yes, they are. When I was a student.... of course I hated to
    practice reading. But i only wanted to do music, so
    after I graduated from Berklee, I started to study Bill's
    book again... I just wanted to be able to read those
    books anytime. I recommed to practice less than 1/3
    hour everyday. Because if you practice too much..
    you will skip .... so little by little and to continue is
    key..I think. Tab is no all bad if you read music and
    use tab for checking specific place..... one note many places.

    For rhythm, I recommend to study Louice Bellson's
    Modern reading text in 4/4. great book!


    Tomo
     
  17. jcground

    jcground Member

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    Great thread.

    For me, tab and sheet music are both good for different things. A serious musician would be well advised to learn both. (And, in my experience, the best gigging session musicians can sightread both, as well as comp from chart.)

    I learned to read standard notation when I took piano lessons as a kid. I picked up the guitar in high school without taking lessons. For that reason, it's still easy to tell which instrument I have more formal training on, though I like to tell people that I play both keys and guitar equally badly.

    For me, though, playing has always been more about having fun, so theory (reading, scales, modes, the circle of 5ths, being able to analyze a symphony) quickly gets boring to me. I wish it didn't, because I'd be a lot better player if I had the fortitude to stick with the theory.

    Sorry you had teachers to encouraged you to "cheat," but happy you've found a teacher who's a better match for your goals.

    Jim
     
  18. amstaf

    amstaf Guest

    I can read music, I'm not terribly fast. I wish that I had a teacher at an early age that taught me to read. Since I didn't, I wish that Tab was available when I started playing back in 78.
     
  19. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Both are valid but to me reading music is so much more valuable and if tab didn't exist I'm sure not many people would miss it. Tab is good when you want to know how some artist voiced a chord or where they played something on the neck. Other then that I find it of little use. I will admit it's better for reading chords though, I hate trying to figure out stacks of notes common with normal written material.

    I had a teacher shortly after I first started playing who said to me, "If you want guitar lessons from me you will learn how to read music, if don't want to read music then go see someone else". I am so glad I went through the endless Berklee Melodic Rhythm routine. It went like this: 1st time, learning the exercise, 2nd time playing it on a different part of the guitar, 3rd time transposing the written key to whatever arbitrary key the teacher suggested for the week. I went through the first 35 exercises 3 times.

    Do the transposition, for example take any jazz standard and play the tune in a different key then written. Play the tune changing every note on the fly, what a way to really learn. It would be similar to inviting a guest vocalist up on stage and then having them request something you have played forever in a key you never played it in before.

    Once you can read music you can use almost any instrument to learn from, violin, bass, horns etc...there is so much written music you'll never run out.
     
  20. darial

    darial Guest

    Unfortunatly most teachers don't make their students learn to read because it turns away slacker students and as a result decreases their teachinbg income. I understand the teacher's perspective, but I will never understand students who want to be musically illiterate.
     

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