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! 🙂 

 

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.

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.