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Tabl Edit's many uses

Posted by rrode on Sunday, February 24, 2013

In the February Banjo Newsletter Tom Adams has a column on the value of tabbing out a song you are learning.  And in my own experience I can back up that suggestion.  Several months back I purchased a copy of the TablEdit Tablature program and even submitted several of my tabs to the Banjohangout tab archive.  Along with a slow-down music program I tabbed out versions of Old Time Religion, Undone in Sorrow, I Know You Rider and Alabama Bound.  It was nice to have something to show after my hard work and the process really helped me get inside the tunes. 

The software itself is pretty easy to get the hang of, especially when creating a simple, single instrument, tab.  There is a pretty good tutorial, which I read through, but you don't really need it for the basics.  Anyone comfortable using a program like Microsoft Word should be able to pick it up quickly. 

You can also use it to make back-up tracks.  In a quest to sharpen my playing I've been trying to incorporate a metronome into my practice sessions.  I find it a tough chore.  It is particularly difficult to detect when you skip a beat, or otherwise get messed up.  Did I skip one, or add one?  Where exactly did that happen?  Today I realized that I could create a back-up rhythm track in Tabl Edit.  The MIDI playback is tolerable for a simple chordal playback AND you set the speed.  So you get the strict tempo of a metronome along with a useful accompaniment.  And now when a beat gets missed it is immediately obvious where it is happening -- two birds, one stone.  Speeding up or slowing down as needed is no problem.  You can even change keys.

After 30 minutes of playing through Chicken Reel my own head was reeling a bit -- but at least it was reeling strictly in time!  But that's not all bad



2 comments on “Tabl Edit's many uses”

privard Says:
Monday, February 25, 2013 @9:56:57 PM

Well said. There is a lot of anti-tab screed on this site, which I don't get. But then I'm both a teacher and a musician and I get the value of tabbing banjo content as a memory aid and as a long term record.

rrode Says:
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 @4:39:19 AM

Thanks for the comment. For me a tab is like an outline of a tune. It provides a useful overview but is only one way to represent it. A complete understanding requires a lot of mindful listening, attention to tecnique and performance. Recording and posting the song on a public site like soundcloud for me is a convenient performance substitute.

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