Why does every pro-standard notation individual feel the need to give a one-sided view of the situation? Sorry Tom, but I have to reply again.
you can figure out a song with no musical training
Oh? I think you must know how to read tab. Admittedly easier, but a skill nevertheless. The only real difference between modern tabs and standard notation is that numbers are replaced by little dots.
- it gets in the way of understanding theory. First string sixth fret is always just that. You don't know when it's A sharp (like in the key of B minor) or Bb (like in the key of Eb)
But since I know in what key I am playing that is rather unneeded. Besides, what exactly is the practical difference? Have you ever made the mistake of confusing A# with Bb while playing? If so, how many people from the crowd walked away? Is there any objective way to notice the difference for anyone but the dude who plays the note?
Besides, 'first string sixth fret' is atleast simple and basic. Once you finally know where the dots of the sheet are on your fretboard you can start all over again when you tune your guitar to something different then standard tuning whereas a tab is straightforward as long as you tune in the same way as the tabmaker did. Which is because standard notation obviously wasn't invented for the guitar.
some young guitarists I've seen recently have learned the instrument using ONLY internet tab. They can play songs, but know absolutely nothing about music - some of them can't even name an open E chord. Relying on tab to that degree makes you a monkey with a guitar... you can only play things that other people have figured out for you first.
That isn't even an argument, really. I could have easily learned how to play basic piano using standard notation without ever knowing a C, E and G note are called 'C major' when played together. And I could have learned to play [x 3 2 0 1 0] without ever knowing it is a C major. Don't blame the system, blame the people who don't educate themselves.
- because tab doesn't have a clear time element, you need to have heard a song to give a convincing performance from tab
I write my stuff in tab on a computer, and you know why? Because it allows me to indicate dynamics and tempo FAR more detailled then sheet music can ever go.
'bit above normal tempo'
'slightly faster then above normal tempo'
If you want to write it down properly, get the exact BPM down. And no, giving you the chance to be creative with the sheetmusic has nothing to do with inaccurate tempo indication. (admittedly some sheets do give a BPM estimate).
Dynamics are even worse:
'a bit louder'
I mean *really*, since when does this allow me to play anything even remotely the way Beethoven intended it to be played? Everyone who knows something about classical music knows people have debated how pieces should be played for hundreds of years and we still have no real clue. Standard notation is not
- you can communicate with any musician on any instrument, so you can write arrangments for instruments like sax or piano that don't have tabbing systems
- you can play anything written, for any instrument within the guitar's range
- you better understand the choices the guitar affords - that 1st string 6th fret note is also available on 2nd/11th, 3rd/15th, and 4th/20th
All very true, worthy reasons to learn it. Although most people would probably figure the last argument out themselves by just playing.
because the time element is included, you can play any music and reproduce the composer's intent without having heard it first
See above arguments.
- because it's more 'complete' (having the time element), you can write out a riff now, and still play it the same way in ten years.
Difference being that my tab would be slightly more accurate then your standard notation, but your version would be somewhat accurate, true. And programming a proper tab takes a lot more time then writing standard notation.
Another advantage of tab: it's about 250kb for a good one and <10kb for a standard 'notepad-tab', so you can easily mail them around. Standard notation takes a lot more for each page, whereas my tab would contain all bass, guitar, drums, piano, vocal and whatnot lines. And after being written in tab it can transform it to standard notation for the piano-player to read. Although I have to admit they could make the transformation a bit less sloppy, no technical reason why it cannot be done 100% accurately, apart from the flaws of standard notation.
So why doesn't everyone drop standard notation?
-Tons of classical, jazz and other less-mainstream genres are still based on standard notation. If you care for those genres, learn it. There are proper tabs for these genres, but usually it is restricted to the better known songs and the more obscure ones get less attention.
-You don't need a pc, soundcard, speakers and reading program to get the most out of standard notation. When printed standard notation usually contains more detail.
-Big chances not all your lesson books feature tabs. Most older books don't, and I've had a few jazz books where they skipped tab most of the time, if not all the time.
-If you're thinking of learning another instrument someday yourself learning standard notation is a pretty smart idea. Not only will you need to be able to read standard notation for most instruments but using multiple notation systems can get confusing.
-Many, many reasons if you're apsiring to be a professional (session) musician.
-The reasons given above by the rest.
So yes, there are a whole bunch of reasons to learn how to read it. And depending on your situation none, some, many or all may be particularly valid. But stating that standard notation is required, or even very usefull, to most guitarists is utter nonsense.
Dennis: A musician is someone who makes music, either with an instrument or your voice. Doesn't matter one bit which system you use to play those notes. You have good musicians and bad musicians. The difference is the sound, not the method used to get there.
Missileman: the disadvantage of learning how to read is that it takes time. And most guitarists, including me, might benefit more by practicing their actual playing skills instead of learning how to read multiple systems. If you could just press a button: sure. But that is, unfortunately not the case. Luckily I don't play just the guitar, but if I did I would consider the time I invested to be seriously wasted. Not because it is a bad skill to have but because there are more usefull skills for someone in my positon.