Guitarists are custom-fiends. We swap the pickups in our guitars, switch the tubes in our amps, mod our pedals—anything it takes to improve our tone and our playing. But up until recently Read the story »
As a guitar instructor, I routinely deal with students trying to learn songs they want to play. After all, that’s the whole point of this thing of ours, right? The thing that I notice over and over, however, is the increasing dependence of most students on some sort of online tab website to provide the details on how a given song is played, rather than learning the song in the time-honored play-along-with-the-record ear-based method. When I talk to students about this, they seem to feel that guitar tabs are the only way they can learn a new song, and are reluctant to use the play-along method. This causes me to worry about their development and overall musicianship, as pickers do not live by tab alone. In this spirit, I have decided to make this, my latest Fight Club piece, about this very topic in hopes of shedding some light on how and why we learn the tunes that we play and the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
First of all, let me say that there is nothing inherently evil about reading guitar tabs, online or otherwise, or standard notation, for that matter. I learned to read notes from my very first lesson in third grade and tabs a bit later and my reading skills have been very helpful in many musical situations over the years. The problem comes when students depend entirely on guitar tabs and never develop the skills needed to interact with the music they are learning directly, rather than through someone else’s interpretation of it. You see, a tab is as good as the person who did it. In a published transcription book, the tabs are usually done by professional transcribers who have a high black belt-level grasp of music and are normally pretty close to right. Read the story »
Rivera Venus series has been making big waves in the amp world, and with good reason. The Venus amps are the company’s first foray in Class A designs and they are taking things way beyond the typical Vox-derived flavors that many players think of when they hear the term. The newest amp in the line is the Venus 5. Read the story »