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is it better to learn guitar using TAB or reading notes on staff?

is it better to learn guitar using TAB or reading notes on staff?
i heard that learning using TAB allows you to ‘discover the secrete of improvisation’ quicker.


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4 Responses to “is it better to learn guitar using TAB or reading notes on staff?”

  1. Drake said :

    tabs are WAY easier to learn than reading notes, and I think a lot better in all regards than reading notes. It does help you improvise better.

  2. Rupcarr said :

    for the lazy tabs, for the intellectual notes

  3. Norm Jones said :

    Hello there,

    There is no “better” way. Which ever method works for you, use it.

    Many people learn to play the guitar without bothering to learn to read music. Tablature is a quick way to write and read guitar notes.

    I cannot fathom how tab would allow you to discover the secrets of improvisation quicker. Unless that means you do not have to spend the time learning to read music. The ability to improvise comes from an understanding of music, either through the study music theory or the experience of playing. You need to understand music to improvise. How you came to understand does not matter.


  4. Stephen said :


    I’m so glad you asked! As a guitar instructor for over 10 years, I have quite an opinion on this. Reading notes on a staff is called “Standard Notation” and was not developed for the guitar. It details every single note. If you are playing a chord shape, you take care of a handful of notes at a time, so Standard Notation is a waste of time if you are just playing chords. It can be helpful when you are learning classical guitar since you must play simultaneous and individual notes in a song. Also, there are many ways to play a certain note on a guitar, while with piano, there is only one way to play one note. This is a big reason why Standard Notation is great for piano and not so great for guitar.

    Tabs are a nice way to jump start your learning and figure out difficult solos. However, I don’t rely solely on tabs either! It’s important to have a good musical understanding of chord progressions and music principles as you’re learning guitar, but you can accomplish this without wasting time learning to read music. I use a system based off of the Nashville Number System. This system is the best of both worlds. It uses symbols commonly used in standard notation without the trouble of learning each note on the staff. I have taught this method in private lessons for years and on my site. Keep jamming!



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