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Is there any reason to learn to play guitar from regular sheet music?

Does anyone play guitar from regular music clefs, or does everyone use guitar tabs with one line representing each string?
To: Elio

Thanks for the reply, but that’s not what I mean. If someone uses the chord diagrams above the music clef (staff) their not really reading from the clef lines. Is there any reason to learn to play from the clef lines or should I just learn guitar tab notation?

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11 Responses to “Is there any reason to learn to play guitar from regular sheet music?”

  1. eliotowen said :

    Most people read regular music clefs. Most sheet music has the chords for each bar on the top of each bar, therefore giving you, at least, a basic clue to where you are on the neck.

  2. himmath said :

    well…wat your talkin of is sight reading…i dont think its quite NECESSARY as such….if you can sight read…its like an add on….but if u cant tablature will do equally well…..if ur playin for a band and need to jus learn to play the song to jam up with ur band and to perform on stage…then u can do comfortably well with tabs…but if ur plannin to play in an orchestra or maybe at church …places wer u’ll be given sheet music…then its better u learn sight reading as well….it depends on you finally….i know many great guitarists who dont really sight read…they know the basics…its good to know….but they r doing well without it…..i hope i did well to answer your query….

    you can get some useful guitar information for free here: ….and quite a bit of this is tablature….good luck with your guitaring

  3. ovationlj said :

    There are benefits to learning how to read sheet music for the guitar, especially for beginners:

    1) Timing – Sheet music shows the actual timing of the notes (quarter, eighth, etc.). This is very important for any instrument. Tone and Timing are the two things that make a good guitar player. With sheet music there is no guessing on how long or when to hit the note. Also it indicates the real strumming pattern (saying up, down, down up, doesn’t really do you any good). Tablature does not have any true indication of time.

    2) Play Songs – With sheet music you can play any song, even without ever hearing it before. Once again because all the timing is indicated in the sheet music.

    3) Music Theory – By learning sheet music, you have an introduction into theory. Music Theory is how good musicians communicate with each other, as well as how composers write music. Yes even the bands you hear on the radio that look like lazy drug addicts can write sheet music. Not all, but a lot of the good ones.

    That’s why guitar teachers will try and stress learning how to read sheet music, as opposed to tablature.

    The truth is, tablature is just much faster to learn because you don’t have to learn how to read anything. Thus a lot of people learn this way. I learned through tablature, then after moving on to singing and writing my own stuff, I decided to learn how to read sheet music. I’ve found it to be very beneficial.

    But starting out, I would say it’s not necessary. But you’ll definitely be doing some good by learning it.

    Good Luck.

  4. Graeme M said :

    learn to read music.much more useful in ling run than stupid tabs

  5. Rachel_S165 said :

    Because if you can read standard music notation, you potentially have access to any piece of music ever written for any instrument in treble clef. Even if the music wasn’t originally written for guitar, you can — if you can read and know some music theory — adapt it onto the guitar and make your own arrangement of it.

    Whereas if you only read tab, you’re limited to those songs that have been already arranged for guitar and tabbed out — which is a much smaller pool of material for you to play. And a lot of the tabs available for free online aren’t necessarily very accurate transcriptions, which makes them even less useful.

  6. Raw Rock Kills said :

    there is all the reason in the world. especially if you are a serious player. if you had to get into a serious band or audition for a music group, or even just jam out with some musicians at a jazz bar or something and you can’t read music then you’re screwed. in a nutshell you are really limiting your potential and your future as a musician if you chose not to learn to read or have an understanding of music. on the other hand if playing the guitar is just a hobby or pasttime then tabs are alright as long as your goal isn’t to become a world famous musician

  7. Mikesticktrix01 said :

    Guitar tabs are very popular, what most people use. You can learn that way, it might be a little harder, Santana was self tought!

  8. Kevin said :

    no this way you can learn chords and tabs.

  9. jojox11x11x11 said :

    Kind of. It depend what kind of music your playing. if your like in a band(orchestra kind) you might want to learn the clef. if you learn with the staff and clef, it will be easier for you to learn other instruments like piano and the other treble clef instruments. if you want to like memorize the song , i use tabs for that. also if you want to play like in a band (not orchestra) you should use tabs. i find it easier to go with tabs, my teacher started me out with tabs, and soon he is gonna teach me with the staff and clef. hope this is what you were looking for.

  10. said :

    I would encourage any guitar player to learn to read traditional musical notation. TAB is an excellent supplement especially when attempting to learn complex passages, however being able to read traditional notation not only opens you up to a world of non guitar music which you will be able to interpret on guitar, it allows you to pick up gigs with bands which use lead sheets.

  11. danila_tltk said :


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