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Any tabs site(s) worth paying for? Do you play the song exactly?

decreebass

Experienced
Even though it's not my primary job, I do play covers professionally. Just wondering if any of the tab sites are feature-robust, comprehensive, or accurate enough to be worth paying for or subscribing to.

Honestly, I'm never too worried about nailing a song exactly perfectly. To me - and especially since the original artists rarely play it the same way twice - there doesn't seem to be any point to learning anything other than absolutely iconic parts exactly.

That said, though, sometimes it is fast and easy to have a nice, clean, accurate tab to work from if I can't just figure it out on my own; especially if I'm busy and didn't have the time to listen to it a hundred times to pick up and figure out all the parts on my own prior to rehearsal.

Just curious what others' thoughts are on this matter.
 

Henry

Inspired
I always first try to figure it out myself, using Transcribe! . Sometimes (with chords or when the recording is not clear) I'll search for the free public tabs to augment or correct. I do try to play it as close as possible to the recording, but also stop the refinement effort when I think this is likely as close as the artist plays it live.
 

lqdsnddist

Axe-Master
Tabs always seem different than how the artist plays it, while technically sounding correct. I view tab as a guide, but certainly aren’t going to have the same technique, fingering etc, so I try not to get too bogged down in fine details which may not even be exact.

I remember buying tab books when I was young, never got anywhere with them, favoring some free versions folks posted on the net, which maybe weren’t perfect, but were easier and got me in the ballpark, then I could add a little unique touches to make them my own version

So no, I wouldn’t pay for any tabs, just not worth it IMO
 

decreebass

Experienced
Yeah, ballpark is typically all I need; sometimes I just look for the chords and figure out the rest. I recently started playing keys and so I'm also gonna be researching piano music sites, too - while I can improvise on piano, some things need to be pretty accurate, like the beginning to Don't Stop Believin' or whatever.

Anyway, i've done pretty well with guitar so I guess I probably won't need to pay for a site. Just curious. I'm still open to further thoughts or opinions.
 

Roland

Experienced
My experience of internet tabs is that around 90% of them are plain wrong. Also, whilst they might be a reasonable transcription of a particular recording, they aren’t necessarily how the original artist plays it live.

I prefer to look at videos of live performances to understand what was actually played on different occasions, and how it changed over time. You also see what the artist views as core, and what they view as fills. You also see how they deal with problem, for example when feedback doesn’t sustain the note.

On top of this there’s a lot to be learned from transcribing yourself.
 

Rich G.

Experienced
I've been playing in cover bands for about 20 years now. Over that time I've learned quite a few songs... guessing a few thousand. I'm always learning new songs and have developed a method that does not involve paying for tabs. It has evolved over the years with emerging technology. Gone are the days of burning CD's for everyone in the band. Here's my latest iteration:

  1. Get the song and make sure everyone in the band is working from the SAME version. This prevents wasting time at rehearsal when someone learns a version that has an extended solo or an extra verse.
  2. Watch a few live versions on YouTube. Sometimes I find a cool way to end a song that fades out on the studio recording. Knowing how to end a song can minimize the "how are we going to end this?" time spent at rehearsal.
  3. Look up lessons on YouTube for the song. This can be a real time saver. For example, Hotel California Lesson yields several results. Some might be more accurate than others. Just have to sift through them and find the good ones.
  4. Import the song into AnyTune+ Pro. This iPad app is the best I've found for slowing down songs and looping parts. It also has tools for EQing, vocal removal, pitch shift, and phrase training.
  5. If all else fails and I still don't have the song down I'll look up the tabs at Ultimate Guitar.

As a side note, obtaining isolated guitar tracks can also help a lot. Look up the song on YouTube and add "Isolated" in your search. This helps to hear those buried guitar parts. Another good source of isolated tracks is from the karaoke-version.com. These might not be the original version, but they are extremely close. On that site you can play a 30 second sample of the song while soloing out the different instruments/vocal. A lot of times that's all you need. If that isn't enough you can buy the song.
 

jefferski

Fractal Fanatic
First I generally try to figure out as much as I can by ear unless I'm in a hurry. Then, I'll hit either YT or Ultimate Guitar if I need to refine it or figure out a complex solo or tricky chord progression. But I don't know that paying for something like UG Pro is worth it for most of us in this group; from what I can tell the paid features seem to be pointed more towards beginner/intermediate players.

Often the bigger challenge for me is: how to combine/mash up multiple guitar parts if I'm the only guitarist, in a way that still sounds seamless and organic. Some songs also have keyboard or horn parts that kind of need to be there, and if those instruments aren't in the band I'll try to figure out how to incorporate them when possible. Sometimes you don't really notice all those other parts, but when they're not there the song sounds empty. And even if a different arrangement works for the band, the audience still expects to hear the fullness of the song even if they don't know it consciously.
 

decreebass

Experienced
Often the bigger challenge for me is: how to combine/mash up multiple guitar parts if I'm the only guitarist, in a way that still sounds seamless and organic. Some songs also have keyboard or horn parts that kind of need to be there, and if those instruments aren't in the band I'll try to figure out how to incorporate them when possible. Sometimes you don't really notice all those other parts, but when they're not there the song sounds empty. And even if a different arrangement works for the band, the audience still expects to hear the fullness of the song even if they don't know it consciously.
incredibly astute... That's my biggest challenge too, even with a full band and two guitars (or one guitar and keys, however we split it up). I'm always looking for ways to increase dynamics, fill it out, etc. Since I've been on keys, it's remarkable how many songs are dramaitcally affected by having a hammond-style organ playing! That's like the glue that holds a lot of songs together lol. It also helps that me and my other guitarists are dramatically different guitarists: he's a lead player with a more muted Marshally tone and I'm a rhythm player with more fender-y cleans and Mesa edge-of-breakup drive tones. Works very well. We're always aiming to serve the song and the audience.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
Paying for tabs is like still paying for CD's. I'm sure there are still some people who do it, but they're the exception to the rule. I bought the tab books in the 80's and 90's, I've used free tabs ever since. Much of what is in the free tabs is wrong, but then again, so was much in the tabs books I bought. So overall I came out ahead by no longer buying them. I'm lucky that in my formative years I had no tabs books and had to make due with using my ears and videos. I can thus hear when things aren't right and work out my own thing.
 

Stratman68

Fractal Fanatic
Some songs NEED the solo note for note, feel for feel and some do not imho. An example o a song that needs the solo right to sound right is Rikki Don't Lose that number for one off the top of my head.. As mentioned by others, even for this song there is a FREE youtube video that is spot on.
The only site I feel plays the solos exactly is a site called Learn2Play it right.
But for me, close is OK for most stuff. Exceptions do exist of course, as my example above.
 

nbelcik

Member
As someone who makes pro tabs for U2 songs and is a perfectionist, I always try to tab out the song the exact same way that Edge, Adam, and Larry play it. I always do live versions because the studio versions have layered guitar tracks, percussion, etc. I'll second everyone else in here saying that you should check out the live versions of songs to see what the guitarist plays.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
As someone who makes pro tabs for U2 songs and is a perfectionist, I always try to tab out the song the exact same way that Edge, Adam, and Larry play it. I always do live versions because the studio versions have layered guitar tracks, percussion, etc. I'll second everyone else in here saying that you should check out the live versions of songs to see what the guitarist plays.
Then again some people are really really wedded to the studio versions though. I used to play in a Radiohead tribute band and I had to do some convincing to convince the others of following the live versions instead. If only because the live versions are playable for those reasons you said.
 

Stratman68

Fractal Fanatic
Did a search for this site and only found something that gives on-line lessons not tabs. Could you please send out a link. Thanks
He does videos of the solos and has tabs for all of them. Some he only has tabs. It has been a while since I have been there but you probably went to the correct place. He also doesNOT have a zillion tabs. I was only responding to the question of tabs and videos that were right on, note for note. Sorry, didn't mean to send you on a wild goose chase.
https://www.learntoplayitright.com/
 
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