Tablature – An incredible tool with remarkable precision
For those who don’t know, tablature is a method of music scoring where the notes are shown as frets on specific strings across a guitar fretboard.
It is often maligned as somehow lesser than standard notation, but that only applies to poorly written tablature. In fact, proper tablature can show details that traditional notation cannot even account for. Furthermore, it is a False Dichotomy, as most modern tablature is written in tandem with traditional scoring
Shown here is tablature where each line has standard notation on top and tablature on the bottom. One thing to notice immediately is the precision involved in the tablature. The E note shown on the 12th fret could, if read only with standard notation, be played in three different places on a regular electric guitar. With tablature, you know which one it really is.
One complaint about so many tablature transcriptions (tabs for short) is that they don’t show you note length or rhythm. This is not an inherent problem of tabs themselves but of the individual transcriber.
Above is an example of tab only, without the standard notation attached, where the rhythm is still clearly and precisely marked.
But wait there’s more! Notice on the bottom, you can see which fingers the transcriber recommends to use for each note. Look on the top and you see indications of when to palm mute and even which direction to pick.
Don’t fear tabs, just make sure you are looking at good ones! Chances are if they are written in Guitar Pro or Powertab format, they will be quite educational