Effective Fast Tab Recognition

I know how to read Tabs thanks to Justin and other guitar books/videos.

I have lots of tabs of my favorite songs and have been extremely frustrated learning them.

My question I guess is……… Does any experienced guitar players here have a technique or system for quickly recognizing or applying tabs as they see them? Is there a method or visualization technique?

Or is it just shut up and practice? :joy::weary:

Thanks in advance!

Yes … Unless you want to learn to sing straight away from the beginning of course…(well better not…but ) … that becomes difficult with your mouth closed… :smile:
Greetings,Rogier

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I think the system is seeing and knowing a lot of songs. I am noticing that I can pick out a lot of semi-familiar stuff by sight - far better than I can play semi-familiar stuff! So far, I haven’t found any shortcut to being able to play something right off the top other than having practiced something else very closely related.

I mentally translate from tab to neck fairly easily. Sometimes seeing it in tab doesn’t really sink in until I see the pattern on the neck. This translation hasn’t always been there. For instance, learning a power chord chunka rhythm made it possible for me to recognize one in tab. Remember that the tab is missing the rhythm part and you need to hear the song to understand the whole sound. You can guess at it, but that guess is based on prior experience.

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Thank you for the feedback!

What I am trying to do today is:

  1. One bar at a time.
  2. Only practicing licks/riffs that stay within 4 frets eg. 5/6/7/8 on any string to limit hand movement and lessen frustration.
  3. Ignoring bends/slides etc. for now, just until I can get the notes down…

What do you think? :thinking:

I think that is a plan for a different question. :slight_smile:

For the original question, don’t stick to just one bar. you can see patterns across bars. I usually see them in groups of 1, 2, and 4 bars, but that is just what I notice with what I have looked at. It is not a rule.

Your practice plan seems to be asking how to memorize songs faster. When you get that figured out, share it! :rofl:
I find I need to approach learning a song based on how much repetition it has.

  • I am dismally poor at memorizing songs with non-repeating bars, and those can take months. I need to learn these almost note by note.
  • Learning something with quickly repeating rhythm seems to go pretty fast for me. I can take these in groups of bars like I listed above.

I usually will include bends when learning because they are part of the timing. They can sound really off at the slow learning tempo, but that is a good hint that they won’t be quite right at full speed later.
I find slides often come naturally when I increase speed to full tempo. Depends on the slide though.

:joy: Thank you!

Your mention of repetition is spot on. Looking at a few tabs it mostly repeats its self as it goes along. That’s encouraging.

I can also see the slides coming naturally at the increasing speeds!

My levels is Grade 2 Module 9……

Started my journey 11 months ago…… been on Justin’s course for 2 months…… the prior 9 months I memorized the fretboard and I am fairly proficient at the A minor pentatonic scale ….all 5 positions……. But only up and down not very musical……. Thus my desire to accomplish these riffs and licks via Tabs…… but I needed structured learning…

Thinking of putting the Tab books away and staying on course :thinking:

G2, M9 is pretty early for trying complex things that need a lot of concentration with tabs to get. Don’t get too wrapped around the complex stuff. Try it out, sure, but don’t worry about it sounding off. You still haven’t seen some core lessons you will get throughout all of G2.

One thing that some recent Justin Clubs sessions have concentrated on is that the scales are only a framework to help narrow the choices, not the thing to be played. This is why they don’t sound musical - they aren’t music except in short duration when applied with other stuff. For example, take a look at the song “Rumble” by Link Wray. it is just a couple power chords (you haven’t seen those yet) and the pentatonic walk-down is the longest I know of. Sounds ok in that but it is short lived or it would get really boring. Listen for that scale is used in songs you are looking at.

Not sure what songs you are interested in, but with a Gene Simmons avatar, I’ll bet harder rock from 60s, 70s, and maybe 80s? If you are concentrating on the rhythm parts (you should be), then you usually find well defined repeating stuff to work on. Once you see the tab, you shouldn’t need to take long to remember it.

I think it was helpful to learn the riffs Justin introduces just by listening. For a complex things, the tab is handy, but for the riff classes, I think it is better to just listen, watch, and learn it that way. Later, in G3, Justin has us transcribing and getting used to learning from listening will be a benefit for those lessons.

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