How do you feel about TABs?

Many classical guitar players shun TABs – except when it comes to lute music. On the other hand, many guitarists find it much easier to read TAB than normal notation.

I guess I’m in the former camp, because I started with notation in the beginning and also because I teach classical guitar. That’s probably why all the compositions on newcenturyguitar.com are currently only available in normal notation, not TAB.

I’m a bit ambivalent on TABs, to be honest. If it makes it easier for someone to get into playing guitar, I’m all for it, how could I not be? I know that it can be difficult enough as it is to learn a complex new skill, without any further complication caused by the necessity of learning to read a cryptic code such as musical notation.

But I still cannot help feeling and thinking that when it comes to not only playing but *understanding* music, seeing its underlying structure, traditional notation has to be superior. The difficulties that reading traditional notation causes when you start learning to play are more than offset by the insights that it brings when you’ve mastered it.

How do you feel about this? I’ve made a little poll, please give your vote, and check back later to see what others have voted!

Would TABs be useful to you, or is normal notation more your thing?

2 thoughts on “How do you feel about TABs?”

  1. hmm. TABs may help you learn fingering for new pieces especially when provided at the same time with standard notation. For example this has helped me to play passages from castelnuovo’s cappricio diabolico without thinking ages about some notes, so providing TABs could help students initially to learn the piece fast by heart. On the other hand tabs without any classical notation in my opinion kill a bit of the underlying music even though you can always come up with your own dynamics for the piece in question.
    cheers !
    Ilmari 🙂

    1. It’s good to know that even a player such as you, for whom reading normal notation poses no problem whatsoever, might sometimes benefit from having TABs as well! This is a complicated issue, and many people are quite dogmatic about it, having made up their minds for good. I’m trying to keep an open mind about it, but I still haven’t decided to have any TABs available on this website. Your input here is very valuable!

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