Flynn Amps and the value of enthusiasmK is for Knopfler, MarkM is for Modes

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Tabs – the only way?
December 13, 2011

Morning all.

I seem to spend more and more of my time communicating about and with tabs. While I was learning, many moons ago, I don’t think I ever really looked at one. They were primitive and clumsy. I spent my time working from chord charts, notation and by ear.

More and more now I find people can’t work without them. Fortunately tabs have come a long long way past what I remember as badly formatted notepad files! They look good, tend to be pretty accurate and can impart massively more information than before. If you have the money there’s a variety of programs that will not only display them in a pretty fashion but will use MIDI to actually play them back to you.

However, to suggest that they should become the be all and end all is as bad as some of the people I used to hear while I was young, ranting that notation was the only way, and that tabs should be banned in schools. While I’m glad that didn’t happen, the ease with which tabs can be read has lead to a decline in the number of young guitar and bass players who are able to read notation. I think this really is a crying shame and I make the effort to insure that my students can read both. No sense in missing out on what is essentially another language just because it requires a little concentration!

/harry out