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Author Topic:  Length of time to learn a tab
Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Zephyrhills,FL
Post Posted 12 Aug 2017 1:16 pm     Reply with quote

If you were to get a tab for, say, Tennessee Waltz, or some other tune of similar complexity or lack there of, how long would it take you to learn the tab from start to finish until you were comfortable to sit in and play it when the band leader says, "now we're going to have (whoever) play a nice version on the "Tennessee Waltz"?
I realize that many of you would know it before you looked at the tab but there are many out there of the same ability or lack of ability as I am and I would like to know from you, how long it would take.
I promise I will take all comments in stride.
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John McClung


From:
Olympia WA, USA
Post Posted 12 Aug 2017 4:28 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie, it takes as long as it takes!

Tab is a slow way to learn. I train my E9 students to hear melodies and transcribe by ear, what you learn that way has far more meaning and "sticks" longer and better than if you rely on someone else's tab. One new twist I've added to my curriculum is to share with students what I'm hearing that helps me transcribe steel parts played on records. There are many little audio clues that give away the secrets of how a part is played, it does take years of listening and playing to learn how to do that, so I happily share tips with students.

If you have a good internet connection and are interested in Skype lessons with me, email me! I'm here to help people.

All best,
John McClung
Pedal Steel Lessons, Casuals, Sessions
Olympia, WA 98512
Email – steelguitarlessons@earthlink.net
Website – http://steelguitarlessons.com
Skype name: professortwang
Cell & text: 310-480-0717
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Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Zephyrhills,FL
Post Posted 12 Aug 2017 6:09 pm     Reply with quote

I basically use tab so that I might take parts of one song and apply it to another song. I also figure out many songs on my own. My main aim is to play backup as I've been a sideman all my life whether on drums, bass or any other instrument that fits the bill.
Occasionally I find a tab for a song that I like and want to learn it that way to try to make it more interesting.
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George Rout


From:
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 12 Aug 2017 7:14 pm     Reply with quote

I can tell you that young folks can learn it a lot faster than older folks!!!!

I've used and taught TAB most of my life. Playing it is easy, but playing from your heart is the hard part to learn, and also effects like vibrato.

Geo
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 13 Aug 2017 6:14 am     Reply with quote

Contrary to John's opinion stated above, tab is a fast way to learn a song. And the time it takes to learn it basically depends on the complexity of the song. Some songs have only three chords and some have considerably more.
It also depends on the ability of the player.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 13 Aug 2017 8:23 am     Reply with quote

learning the tab may not take as long as learning how to play with confidence.

TAB , a great tool, only teaches us a portion of what we need to learn. IF we are playing said song in a band, it may be very typical to change the arrangement and even the song key.

TAB can teach us the song but WE need to LEARN the song as well. Verses, Chorus, Intro's etc... Understand how the song is pieced together. More likely than not, if we sit down and play Tenn Waltz at a gig it's not going to be the TAB arrangement and the song could easily go on for twice the time , or more ! Learn the verse, learn the choruses, learn how to mix and match. TAB should teach us the verse and the chorus but it is not teaching us how to play 3 or 4 different band arrangements. IF we are confident with the verses and the chorus's the specific arrangement doesn't matter.

Plus, take it away from the tab in 2 or 3 different keys.

Get used to playing it and visualizing it in different fret board positions.

I typically play this in C as an Instrumental, my wife sings it in G and another fella who sits in now and then plays it in E. It's all the same, just different ! Smile
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George Rout


From:
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 13 Aug 2017 11:34 am     Reply with quote

Yes Tony, per your 3rd para you are correct. If you're just "Playing By Numbers" as I call it, you don't have the "feeling" and again I use the term "playing from your heart".

I always think of a "player piano" when somebody just plays by numbers.

But, it is a fast way to learn the tune basics.

Geo
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Jim Morris


From:
Cincinnati Ohio, USA
Post Posted 13 Aug 2017 1:50 pm     Reply with quote

Charles, this, as with a lot of things is subjective. It would depend on a lot of.variables.....how complex the version is your learning, how large or small your personal learning curve, how well you know the tune already...etc. Mostly, I think how.badly you want to learn the tune makes a difference. Exanple, I had gotten a bunch of tab when I first joined the forum a few weeks ago. Some of the tunes I loved, but wasnt.as familiar with, therefore I am still not comfortable with them....one song that I always loved, look at us, I learned it in a day or two...even though it was a more.complex tab, I had.more of a drive to learn it....plus I was familiar with the tune already.

Its subjective and.depends I guess is my opinion on the subject.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 7:56 am     Reply with quote

Erv Niehaus wrote:
Contrary to John's opinion stated above, tab is a fast way to learn a song. And the time it takes to learn it basically depends on the complexity of the song. Some songs have only three chords and some have considerably more.
It also depends on the ability of the player.


Erv is right. Tab is the short way.

It takes a lot longer to UNDERSTAND what is actually being played and know your instrument inside out. So you can play the song in any key and substitute chords and understand the harmonic function.

For me that takes about a month at this moment due to other commitments delaying the learning process. But once learnt I am starting to become a lot more free.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 7:58 am     Reply with quote

John McClung wrote:
Charlie, it takes as long as it takes!

Tab is a slow way to learn. I train my E9 students to hear melodies and transcribe by ear, what you learn that way has far more meaning and "sticks" longer and better than if you rely on someone else's tab. One new twist I've added to my curriculum is to share with students what I'm hearing that helps me transcribe steel parts played on records. There are many little audio clues that give away the secrets of how a part is played, it does take years of listening and playing to learn how to do that, so I happily share tips with students.

If you have a good internet connection and are interested in Skype lessons with me, email me! I'm here to help people.

All best,
John McClung
Pedal Steel Lessons, Casuals, Sessions
Olympia, WA 98512
Email – steelguitarlessons@earthlink.net
Website – http://steelguitarlessons.com
Skype name: professortwang
Cell & text: 310-480-0717


This sounds interesting John.

What's the cost?
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Head & Hands to Steel your Heart.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 8:04 am     Reply with quote

There is tab and then there is tab.
When I write my tab I like to include the notation, lyrics, chords and etc. That way you can see exactly what the song is all about. I really dislike tab when it is just "numbers" and the measures are not even delineated, you really don't know where you are.
I especially like to include the lyrics, that way you can phrase your playing to match the lyrics. Very Happy
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Jerry Berger


From:
Nampa, Idaho USA
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 12:28 pm     Reply with quote

I am a tab player. I play for my own personal enjoyment and have used tabbed music from several different resources. IMHO, Erv's tabs are the best out there. I don't have to look anywhere else for music when I want to play a new song that I don't have in my music library. Keep up the good work Erv! Very Happy

Last edited by Jerry Berger on 16 Aug 2017 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 12:56 pm     Reply with quote

Jerry,
Bless your heart! Very Happy
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steve takacs


From:
beijing, china via pittsburgh
Post Posted 14 Aug 2017 10:59 pm     Reply with quote

Here is an example from a guy whose tab I have learned a lot.
Frank often shows the timing, chords and key words in the lyrics. He often has audio too:

http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=152039&highlight=

Jeff Garden is another whose tab has helped me. He uses it in conjunction with YouTube
http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=2652815&highlight=#2652815

Stevet
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Jim Morris


From:
Cincinnati Ohio, USA
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 1:21 am     Reply with quote

I second Ervs post saying there is tab, then there is TAB. Ervs tab is as good as sheet music so if you you have the musical knowledge and avility to read notation, you can play a song you haven't heard. I can read sheet music, but not very quickly, so I have to hear a song to play it.

Then, as Erv and others said, you get tab the are simply numbers on a paper that may be seperated in measures at most....
I think this tab is originally meant for pwrsonal use mainly, or should be, due to this reason; it has NO NOTATION.

I know.this, if im getting tab from Erv, it has.been produced with sheet music, so I can be sure, it is as accurate as the sheet music he used to make it. Yherr are several guys who make tab this way I have dealt with. Not that theres anything wrong with tab that has no notation, its just those songs require you to have more knowledge of the authors arrangement....or to be more talented at playing than me.....hehehe...

The.one thing I wish, is there were a universal set of letters, or symbols, used and accepted by ALL to show raised on each string. Some guys refer to thr E string half step lower as the E lever, some the D lever....etc. I think if there were a symbol used on EVERY STRING for a raise and kowere which were the same (ive seen single and.double arrows) it would be easier than to have to read what means what on this guys tab, and that guys tab......

Of course, im a rookie, so maybe that exolains my opinions.
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Jim Morris


From:
Cincinnati Ohio, USA
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 1:26 am     Reply with quote

Oh, and as Steve pointed out, whrn a guy, like Jeff Garden for one, gives an audio link or an example, it makes tab with only numbers a whole lot easier!!!! So in no way am I knocking one type of tab or the other......

One thing I cant rype is voice inflection, and I was obviously misunderstood to be putting something down on another post, so I dont want anyone to take what I type negatively.

God bless!!!
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Steve Geis


From:
Fayetteville, GA USA
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 4:22 am     Reply with quote

Jim Morris, I concur with your observation that there are some incosistencies with like-symbols. But I will tell you it is MUCH, MUCH better than in the early days of tabbing for steel when there was literally no standarization at all. In the early days you often spent more time leasning how to to READ the tab than it did to learn to PLAY the tab. LOL. I like Herb Steiner's tab method: he uses "#" symbol to raise a string a 1/2 step, or "##" to raise a string a whole step. Likewise, he uses the "b" symbol to lower a string a 1/2 step. This methodology becomes universal in the sense that different pedal setups do not matter,....you activate whatever lever/pedal that creates the desired raise or lower.

Check out some of Herb Steiner's tab if you get a chance.

And I also concur that Erv's tabs are exceptional.
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Jim Morris


From:
Cincinnati Ohio, USA
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 6:28 am     Reply with quote

Yeah I have only been.playing since april, so I wouldnt know about the "old" days....lol I have always looked at it like yoy, I dont care what someine calls the levers, its just important to know what each of your levers and.pedals do. For example, rather you call it.the E or E lever, I know on my guitar Im gonna engage.LKR to lower 4&8, etc. So yeah, what it's called isnt as important as if I see a lower on string 4, I know How to activate it.
The way you deacribe Herbs tab.sounds.good to me, considering ejat I have.said.about how I look at things. Most tab ive seen.thiughr, will say "D= lower 4&8 a half tone, etc) the names for the right knee.levers, I have no clue, I just.know what they do. Lol....I'll definitely.check.herbs.tab out, thanks,!!!
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Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Zephyrhills,FL
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 4:45 pm     Reply with quote

Well guys, thanks for all the great discussion. I guess in the end you do what you think works best for you. I'm just a bedroom player so the do what you think is best system will, in time, bear results. The only problem is that the time is slipping away Winking.
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Jim Reynolds


From:
Franklin, Pennsylvania
Post Posted 15 Aug 2017 9:05 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie, I'm 76 years old. Been trying to play the steel for over 35 years. I am not a player by a long shot. I have used every type of tab lesson there is. Erv is some of the best, but unless your playing in a band, or gifted, tab will most likely be what you play. Before John had his stroke I had planned to take lessons from him, when I explained my hearing loss, and unable to use some of the new stuff he teaches with, I guess he chose not to take me. Nothing bad meant toward John at all. I understand he is one of the best. I have played music by ear for years, and worked with some famous country singer, guitar and fronting. I have not been able to play this darn thing without Tabs, or to memorize the Tab. So just do what you have to and enjoy it. The most beautiful instrument, ever invented.
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Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Zephyrhills,FL
Post Posted 16 Aug 2017 3:58 am     Reply with quote

Well Jim, I'm 74 so I guess I'll take your advise and play what makes me happy. I'm never going to play the Opry but I would like to do a bit of playing in a band situation again. I have years of experience in bands on different instruments but this is a different animal.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 16 Aug 2017 7:39 am     Reply with quote

Charlie,
Send me your postal mailing address and a song you'd like to try and I'll put a tab in the mail for you.
See how you like it. Very Happy
Erv
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Jim Reynolds


From:
Franklin, Pennsylvania
Post Posted 16 Aug 2017 12:25 pm     Reply with quote

Charlie, one other thing I was doing, was just looking at the tabs, not looking up, to see what the chord was. I remembered, back at about age 9, when learning to play the guitar, I always had to look at the chord first, then my ear developed to hear it coming. I failed for years to do this with the steel. I just played the tab. Realizing this, has helped me so much.
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, Morrell 8 String Lap Steel, 2 Peavey Nashville 112, Nashville 400, Katana 100, Ibanez DD700, Every Lesson Jeff Newman made. 1947 SJ Gibson Guitar, Washburn Special Edition Guitar, 1963 Original Hofner Beattle Bass bought in Germany 1963, and a 1973 Framus Bass.
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Charlie Hansen


From:
Halifax, NS Canada and Zephyrhills,FL
Post Posted 16 Aug 2017 4:05 pm     Reply with quote

I've been playing guitar and bass for 60 years and I still look at my left hand when I play. Even when I played drums I always looked at the cymbals. I have no idea why.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 17 Aug 2017 7:44 am     Reply with quote

Charlie,
Your tab will be in the mail today! Very Happy
Erv
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