How to Read Tabs

Looking at sheet music can be really intimidating, and sometimes looking at tabs can be equally confusing. Tabs are very useful for anyone who wants to play a song without having to decode it themselves. I’ve found that practicing with tabs can strengthen your own ability to pick up songs on your own.

What a tab will tell you…

When you look at a tab you’ll see various pieces of information that will be helpful in playing. Generally, writers will include the tuning of a song and the skill level that they perceive a song to be at (Don’t be intimidated by a tab that says its for advanced players – try it out and see!)

  1. Tuning for the song (example EADG is standard; DADG is Drop D; CGCF is Drop C)
  2. The skill level for playing the song
  3. A diagram of the notes on each string
  4. Timing (Always view the timing as a suggestion, most people do not transcribe the exact number of notes correctly, so its a matter of playing the notes to your liking and following what you hear)

Alright, so let’s look at the various pieces of a tab.

bass-tabs-1

Highlighted in purple you have the strings. EADG means that this tab is in standard tuning. Keep in mind, tabs will be written with the E string at the bottom rather than at the top as it is on your bass. Think of the tab as a mirror of your bass. 

In blue, you have the time stamp. This is a reference point for the beginning of the bass – this helps if the songs have bass lines with timing that is difficult to identify. 

In green, you have the frets to be played on each string. For the sake of this tab, it means that at 39 seconds into the song, you will play the 7th fret, then the open string (no frets), followed by the 7 and so on…

It’s that simple! Take your time when learning a new song, and remember that practicing slow and building up to the speed of the original song is the best way to ensure that you learn the song correctly. Trying to jump into a song and missing notes will lead you to frustration and sloppy playing. 

Here are a few other symbols that you may run into as you play:

s – an s after a fret generally means that the note is slapped. (Always refer to the key provided on the tab though, because the writer may intend the letters to mean something else)

p – generally means that the note is played by popping the string. 

x – if you see an x standing alone, this will be a muted note (no frets are held, and the strings are muted so that the only result is a clacking, rattling percussion sort of noise) – this can be used to accompany drums and to fill in the gaps where notes are not played. 

 

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Returning to bass covers.

I have finally returned to my Youtube channel, after about a year away. I’m currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree in psychology. I have been fairly busy getting ready for graduate school, but I know that bass is something that lives within my heart, something that I can’t simply just stop doing. So I’m back! My plan is to post at least one cover each week. 

My newest cover for My Chemical Romance’s song Mama will be available on my channel in a few minutes. 

I have been fortunate enough to find a great following for my Youtube videos! I am so lucky to share my videos and know that people take interest in them. My hope is to use my blog to direct subscribers to the tabs that I’ve written. In the past, requesting people to send me their email addresses hasn’t worked well – as I don’t log in to Youtube on a daily (or even weekly) basis. I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to get my tabs out to people who could really benefit from them, so now they’ll be available for everyone to download at their convenience. 

Another aspect of this blog that I would really love to use with my subscribers is the contact page. It is rare that I see a comment on my Youtube video before several months have passed. I thought setting up a page where people could send me messages directly would be much more successful in directing questions to me. 

~

Future bass videos! 

Some songs that I’m in the process of covering for my channel include:
* Makeshift Love ~ Good Charlotte
* So Cold ~ Breaking Benjamin
* If You Can’t Ride Two Horses At Once… ~ Asking Alexandria 

The majority of my focus however, has been on my newest project Black/Light. Black/Light is a band that I’ve formed with one of my best friends. We’re in the process of writing songs for an EP that we hope to make available soon! 🙂 

 

Manitou Incline.

We weren’t even twenty feet from the starting point of the Manitou Incline when we saw her stumble. From the corner of my eye I watched as a woman headed down the incline lost her footing and remained in the seated position that gravity had planted her in. She spoke to a man who passed by, seemed to be catching her breath, maybe trying to recover from the embarrassment of tumbling in front of everyone.

Some time had passed before we got closer to the woman, who remained seated.
“Are you okay?” She looked up, her face contorted into a pained grimace, flushed and sweaty. She winced and squinted up into the sunlight as my friends and I stood over her.
“I don’t think so.” She moved her right leg, and that’s when we saw the purple, swollen ankle with a very clear impression of a broken bone threatening to escape her skin.

There wasn’t much that we could do for her, but we waited with her as she called 911. We offered her food and water, and we did our best to comfort her as she threw up from the pain.

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It’s not often that I leave the small, dusty, treeless town that I live in to go hiking. While I really love hiking the incline many will tell you it is one of the most intense workouts you’ll get. I have yet to fully decode the reasons for me, and so many others, to continue to return to hike up the incline even after knowing that it is a painful, exhausting and uncomfortable hour, to two hours of your life. I know for me it is the captivating beauty of being surrounded by such beautiful trees and mountains. It’s the view from the top of that mountain when you finally succeed. Its the ache in your legs for days afterward that tells you, you accomplished something that many give up on.

After completing the incline for the second time earlier last week, I started to want to understand what makes the incline so enjoyable aside from the very obvious scenic beauty that surrounds you as you torture yourself all the way to the top.

It’s the compassion.

Out in the real world everyone is so disconnected. It is them vs us. It is the good guys and the assholes. The right and the wrong. But on that mountain? On that mountain, in the midst of such pain and taxing endurance, it seems that all the walls fall away. If the man in front of you runs ahead and then slips there isn’t a single person who doesn’t react. The people he ran in front of are the first to reach out to catch him. In the daily routine of being bombarded by stress and walls that separate us all, there would be people who smirk as the man who cut them off fell on his ass. 

Somehow we all turn into human beings again when we’re torturing ourselves. Whether it be a hike up the incline, a 5k or more serious events like helping each other after a natural disaster, the impact that we all have on each other in those moments is tremendous. I feel my heart lighten, not only after having accomplished a very difficult feat, but also because of the kind-hearted people who told me I could do it – people I had never seen in my life, and likely will never see again, and for a brief moment they opened their lives up to encourage and pull me up to the top of that mountain with them. 

~

The windowless building.

Stale lights define the mood of every employee that must spend hours of their life inside of that building. Everything is dingy, and even the floor looks depressed, lacking the shimmer a tile floor should have, and instead wear a thin coating of grime and wax added over more grime. I have spent two years working here and the highlight of each days exists only in the people who share a job description with me. We gruel away at mundane tasks that are sure to make even the most loyal employee question the direct of their life.

I look for things in the eyes of people around me. As customers pass by me, I look for a glimpse of their life inside their eyes. Some people carry anger that radiates off them. Some carry the excitement of a new toy, a new iPod or a new whatever-they-just-purchased in their eyes. Few are kind and give warm, genuine smiles to strangers. Most of them are dead though. Dead eyes like those you might find in the skull of a zombie. They walk forward with very little regard for anyone that is around them. There is always the occasional person who doesn’t even snap out of this glazed over look even when I speak to them. I would be lying if I said I didn’t also live in a similar bubble while I shopped as well. With a goal to get in and get out while spending as little money as possible has turned into a habit of looking at the floor as I walk, avoiding eye contact and weaving in and out of people to get what I need so I can move on. As a retail associate I watch other people live this way too. Glued to their phones, plugging their ears with iPods…

I am surrounded by the uninspired. The tired. The bored. My friends at work are those who share the same ideas that I do. The ones who are all so desperate to escape from working retail. Desperate, I suppose, to go to a place where people look you in the eyes, treat you with respect. But more importantly, a place where people aren’t reduced to the temper tantrums of a 3-year old when the glorious item they came to the store for because it was on the website, is not carried in our store. In having a common enemy I’ve found its easier to find friends. We all agree that we hate this place, and we are all so dead set on escape. Talks of finishing our degrees and moving on to greater things outside the realm of retail, transform into conversations about life, dreams and happiness. Sooner or later the people you suffer with become your closest friends.

~

So my question is what kind of world would this one be, if we all stopped thinking of ourselves as separate from the man or woman beside us in line at the grocery store? Are we not all fighting our own battles like hiking the incline, every day of our lives? Shouldn’t the idea that we don’t know what demons another person is fighting, encourage us to care about them?

I am reminded of Buddhism – a philosophy that has become very dear to my heart after I found that it could pull me out of the spiral of depression and anxiety that attacked me my freshmen year of college. In reading about Buddhism, in hearing stories about Siddhartha Gautama I have absorbed the idea that we should be viewing the person next to us, as part of us. “If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another”. I didn’t understand that quote for a long time, but experiences like the incline really help put that concept into perspective.

If you know happiness and love and compassion, and if you know pain and misery and anger, wouldn’t you know exactly which emotions you’d want to encourage and which you’d want to extinguish? If you truly care about yourself, wouldn’t you want the people around you to also feel good? People who are happy don’t hurt others.

Its going to take several years, but I hope to one day see a person who is so angry that their words are accentuated with spit and pulsating veins in their throats…I hope to meet that person, and stay calm and open. My initial reaction is to be afraid of them, to close myself off and walk away from them because I don’t deserve that disrespect. To be angry at them for treating a stranger like that… Even though with reading on Buddhism, I know a better, more peaceful, way of thinking of them would be to remember that anger is an expression of pain. To remember that I know what it’s like to feel so angry that I would want to yell at a stranger (or simply to empathize with what levels of pain must lead someone to scream at  people who have done nothing to hurt them)…To know what it feels like when, in the midst of anger, I am met with someone who doesn’t not have the same repulsed reaction. When I am met with open ears and someone who does not take that anger or those bitter words to heart so much so that they cannot see the pain that lies beneath the words.

This post has trailed off. My basic idea here is that I wish the world would take moments like the incline, and carry them in our hearts a little longer. Reach out to the people around us. Say hello. Ask how someone is and actually listen to the answer.

What would happen to this world if we all treated each other as if we were hiking up a treacherous mountain, rather than as if we were all racing to the shiniest trophy to be first and win everything?

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darkness.

Darkness

Sometimes it feels like a weighted blanket that is consistent in dispersing an uncomfortable weight across the back of your neck, across your shoulders. A subtle reminder that it is there, and that no one else will ever see or feel it quite like you do. Other times it is like a straitjacket around your body and a sledgehammer to your throat. You cannot move. You cannot do anything at all, because your every movement needs a coherent thought to come to life…and none of your thoughts feel like they are your’s anymore. 

High school was hell. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. To begin with, I was never like my peers. I liked black. I liked music that screamed. I liked people who pushed limits and scared the living shit out of the cheerleaders, the jocks, the absentminded assholes who sneered at me when I chose to work alone on projects. People who used to be my friends started calling me “the emo” in passing in the hall… Because they smiled and laughed I don’t think I fully allowed myself to feel the sting of their words… They seemed amused and happy by it, they didn’t say it with anger, so I didn’t allow myself to realize that I wasn’t okay with it. I remember when the football players would watch me as I sat alone in the library, writing on my laptop. I could feel their stares, see their heads continually move as they whispered, but I kept my headphones in. It was my shield. I listened to the men who got me through high school – at times feeling like my only friends – and I blocked them out. When one of them spoke with a smirk, through giggles ‘Rachel, will you be my valentine?’ followed by a chorus of other giggles, I remember saying no and plugging my headphones back in. And then the wave of heat came over me, traveled to my face and plummeted me into this feeling of confusion. Did he actually like me? Was he mocking me? Why were they so fucking entertained by it?

This isolation encouraged my art. I found peace in the stories I worked on while being mocked by others. I found happiness and release in the vibrations of the bass guitar through the walls of the house. I felt a smile come to me as I played every breakdown with precision and proved to myself, and maybe others too, that I was more like the artistic musicians I idolized, than the shithead popular people who found so much entertainment in keeping me isolated. 

Naturally, I gravitated towards the classes in college that spoke about the mind. Philosophy and psychology were something that I wished I had more exposure to in high school, because they may have alleviated some of the ache that I carried with me every day in the halls. It started as a deep need to understand the chaos that I felt in my mind. I wanted to know why I feel sadness wash over my like a cloud drifting in front of the sunshine. I wanted to know why I couldn’t remember the last time I smiled, and I wanted to know why I started to hate seeing other people smile.

I learned that there was nothing wrong with me. In conversation with others in my classes I learned that most people have a passion for school and maybe one other thing… I learned that there are a few people like me who reach out to writing, music, reading, and then thrive. Those are my people. The creative. The outcasted and misunderstood. As I told others about my passions and hobbies in the icebreaker first-day-of-class activities to meet my fellow psychology students, it quickly became clear that all that people had mocked me for before was a strength now. While others claimed to enjoy school, there were a few (including a guy I dated for a time), who had nothing else outside of school. I watched them stare blankly, honestly troubled by the fact that their lives revolved around school and their 4.0 GPA is where it stopped…. I started to feel pride in my art. I may not get a 4.0 GPA, but I am knowledgeable about what I have a passion for. I may not get an A+ on the textbook exam, but I know how to be compassionate and listen to you, to understand the human being behind the pain on the outside. I may not have the best grades, but I have a depth of other talents to share with the world and I am far from done yet. My music. My fiction. My compassion for others… This is all the start.

I’ve transformed that darkness into something new.

Crisis.

When it all started to happen, I didn’t know what to think. Volunteering to answer calls on a rape crisis hotline is far from the usual agenda of a college student’s summer vacation. My mind was whirling so quickly, my body so rigid and tense that I probably wasn’t capable of producing a coherent thought. I sat by my phone for 8 1/2 hours with no movement. No calls came in. But when the first call finally did come in, I felt my throat constrict – my voice turned into that of a tiny mouse. My heart seemed to leap up to rest on my collar bone and my vision turned to tunnels.I quickly became swallowed up in every cliche of stress in existence. I listened to a scared, quiet voice on the other line. They were just as scared – in fact far more terrified – than I ever would be. They’d been through a hell far worse than I could imagine, and they needed to talk about it, to sort through the fragments inside of their mind and put together some kind of a clear picture. They asked me for help. The moment the call ended I was tossed into a river of further anticipation, because the victim wanted to call again. I sat up straight with my eyes glued to my cell phone for ten solid minutes before even realizing what I was doing. I then went into the kitchen and sat to the side, listening to my parents talk. I cannot remember what they said, nor did I feel a single one of the twenty minutes pass as I sat there.

As the stress slowly faded, washed away and my mind began to thaw out like a slab of freezer burned ground beef, I came to a very specific realization. I love this. 

I don’t know if there are words for the mix of emotions that cascade over you when you volunteer ten hours of your day to a be a victim’s advocate to such a horrific crime… You stand on the other side of the fence, wanting to understand, thinking you have an idea of how horrible the person on the other line must be feeling in that moment, and yet at the same time you can’t – and never will – know what they feel. I found myself staying silent for the majority of the call, letting the victim talk, knowing that it might take a while to say what the victim felt they needed to say, but also pausing for myself because I could not think of anything that I thought would be helpful to that person in that moment. When someone has been raped, and now wants to make sense of the mix of emotions in their head, what in the hell are you – a person with no fucking idea what they went through – going to say to help them?

Its easy to feel like that. And to be honest, I have felt that I may not make a good therapist when my psychology degrees are all said and done… I tend to lack confidence in myself, so the idea that my insight might help others is hard to believe as it is. But you know what? Tonight I remembered my hotline trainers saying that ‘No matter how badly you think you’re doing, remember that you’re listening to them when they need to be heard’… I’m not sure many people fully comprehend just how important that listening portion is. In talking to someone else, these victims (and people in general) are not only talking to the other person but they’re talking to themselves. It took me some time to realize that in listening to them I am not only there to maybe offer a new perspective, but I also get to witness as someone goes through the process of making sense of something tragic and moving forward from it. Stressful, yes, but also amazing.

I realized that I love this job, because of the people that I get to help. When that victim calls, I am able to spend some time talking to a person who is far braver than I think I would be in that situation. I get to listen to someone sorting through the wreckage and hopefully coming to some sort of conclusion by the end of the call. I get to witness resilience firsthand. I think when these thoughts came from my thawed out mind, that’s when I had this uplifting feeling in my heart. This feeling of knowing how awful humanity can be, but then that second feeling of knowing what humans are capable of overcoming. Its also got a weird way of instilling appreciation in my own life. The thought that someone is struggling with these thoughts and these awful events having happened to them, makes me feel like shit for complaining about something like having to go to work. My hope is that in working with these victims more regularly I’ll establish a firmer sense of gratitude for the world around me. Just because nothing amazing is happening, doesn’t mean that it isn’t equally as great for simply being okay.

island.

Daily Prompt Response

I am an island.

I remember when he told me I was cold-hearted. A prude. I just want to know what you’re thinking is all. He added “is all”, every time he was about to say something insensitive, every time he was about to be an asshole. As if the ‘is all’ helped lighten the blow.

I wanted to change for him, I really did. I wanted to be the girl that was open. The girl who wore her heart on her sleeve and cried when she was happy – but I wasn’t happy. Being with him was exhausting. It was painful. It was draining. To come away from my natural tendency to isolate, to spend hours alone completely content, to spend most of my free time with him because he was afraid to be alone with his mind… I felt myself dying, and I knew that was not what love was supposed to feel like. Though I know I loved him, I remember that feeling. For a split second I wanted to be with him forever – but not without my island.

I was afraid to take a step from the shore, to merge two lives together forever. That word sent chills down my spine. I didn’t realize it then, when he told me I confused him, when he told me I was cold-hearted. A prude because I wouldn’t have sex with him. But I know it now. Forever with him would have been like water consistently eroding all that I had built for myself. He was abrasive. He wanted more and more time, he wanted me to fill holes that existed in him. As I worked to be that person for him, I felt chunks of my own self falling away. This is not love. Love is not cutting away at yourself to patch up someone else from the very beginning. Love is a mutual feeling of being alive, not feeling like there is a leech on your back.

When I told him I loved him, he told me it was the best day of his life.

When I told him I wanted to end things, because being with him was painful, he said it was the worst day of his life.

I am an island.

I haven’t felt as secure as I do on my island. I know who I am and what I want in this life. I know that I love helping others, and compassion and kindness is what I want to give. I know that I am capable of being warm and open, because I have felt safer with others. I have been able to tell my friends I love them, I have been able to form friendships with people who inspire me. I threw myself into my school work after the break up. I threw, and continue to throw, myself into my art. I signed up to volunteer as a rape crisis victim’s advocate. I’ve seen the Dalai Lama speak. I’ve gotten into psychology honor societies and visited my dream graduate school. And guess what? My island is not so lonely. I am whole. I feel so alive. I have felt rushes of happiness and a freedom that never washed over me in his presence. I am continually told that I am kind, I am compassionate. In the midst of a gossip ridden retail job, I have been told that I am “real”. I am honest, when some around me live with two faces on, I do not.

I am an island.

And I know now that there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t struggle to be warm, I struggle to be warm to the wrong people. I feel like there is someone watching out for me, because there have always been people that I have never been able to open up to, no matter how badly I wanted to open up, my heart would not fully let them in. Always in retrospect, I have seen that I have only ever been right. There are reasons certain people don’t find their ways into my heart, while others do. Those who have joined me on my island, through music and art, writing and the like, have found permanent places in my heart. They have yet to hurt me. They have yet to feel like leeches on my skin. And I love those people. Together, we will always create great music and stories and inspire each other.

I will always keep them close.

Welcome

I hope to fill this blog with inspiring content that will range from real life stories and observations to fictional stories, songs, poetry and even bass tabs. I have a vast range of interests, and I want to share little bits of everything here.

In the coming months – as we work to record music – this blog will also be the place to find music for Black/Light. B/L is a project that I’m working on with one of my closest friends. We hope to make Black/Light a very interactive band with music that holds stories (some of which will be published here to add depth to the music you’ll hear), both based in reality and in fiction.

While I update the blog with content, check out Kenny’s Youtube channel here.
My Youtube can be found here. Both channels are how the ideas for Black/Light and for this blog, originated.