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Tab trials and tribulations

Posted by banjobandit on Wednesday, February 13, 2008

While I've received some great tips and advice from several helpful friends through this site, I'm still struggling with the task of wrapping my head around the process of learning to read tabs. I know that once I start noticing patterns it won't seem as daunting, but how does one begin to start?

I'm the kind of person who learns best when I have something written on paper and someone showing me how to understand what's on said paper. Once I get a new job I plan on going back to lessons, I'd like to go back (after about 8 months) with a little more knowledge than I had when I left.

Does it help to write down hints? I remember reading a response to one of my posts, the poster said "x means no note is played" should I be writing things like this down? I think I know the answer to that, what about the numbers? Can anyone fill me in a little more?

4 comments on “Tab trials and tribulations”

Joanchek Says:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 @12:15:08 PM

Amber, you just need an a ha! moment.  The lines on tab are the strings of the banjo.  The numbers on the "note heads" are where you fret each string.  The progression of the tab is time passing.  So, you fret where the number says to fret, while you pluck that string.  Two note-heads on the same stem mean pinch.  Use a beginner's book, and find a tab very early on in the book to work on.  You'll get it. 

dbrooks Says:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 @1:09:22 PM

Amber, there's at least one music store in the E-town/Radcliffe area that offers lessons in banjo, guitar, mandolin, etc.  They advertise in the Louisville Bluegrass group's newsletter, but I can't recall the name.  Drop by there and ask for some help.  If they're not too busy, someone can spend 10 minutes with you to get you going.

You might also take a look at some tabs of tunes you already know.  As you decipher each measure, you'll probably discover just how the lines and number describe what you already know how to play.

Since your homepage says you play pretty well, you may not be depending on tabs very much anyway.

Louisville, KY

Texasbanjo Says:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 @3:12:12 PM

I'll tab out a pattern for a forward roll -- you can see that the roll goes up, up, up.






Now, do you see that pattern?  If so, that's a start on seeing patterns. 

Look at a reverse roll.  It goes down, down, down -- tab one out and see if that's not what you see.


banjobandit Says:
Wednesday, February 13, 2008 @6:29:41 PM

wow...maybe tabs aren't that confusing after all, thanks everyone! :)

i feel better about the whole learning to read tabs thing now :)

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