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chords or tabs

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Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 11
Topic starter  

I've just recently started playing or trying to lol. But am confused as to whether to learn to play using chords or tabs. I look at same songs both ways and seems there are more strings to hit when playing with chords rather than tabs. But which sounds better? Seems tabs are just a simpler version of a song.

Playing my six string is very relaxing and helps me unwind!

Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342

When the chord instruction says play a C chord, you play C - you'll probably play it over 5 or 6 strings.

If the Tab says play just the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings from a C chord then that might be what's on the original recording. It requires more effort to get the right bits of sound but it's what you should aim to play.

In actual fact, that makes the C chord an easier version of the Tab. Most of us use a mix of chord boxes, Tab, standard music notation and our ears to get the right sound when we're playing covers.

My recommendation - learn to read music and play from the piano lines.

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
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Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1120

In my view tabs are much easier. You can play almost anything. The catch is you don't really learn anything from it. You become a tab machine. You need to just listen and try to play what you hear to train your ears. You need to get a basic understanding of chord progressions and scales in order to improve. Etc. Tabs don't give you that. They are great for looking at new things you didn't think you could play. I'm pretty sure in 15 minutes anyone can learn the the first theme in Blackbird. But there is no such thing as a short cut to becoming a guitar player. Bottom line: use various sources to learn to play. My 2 cents.

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg

New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2

Tabs are a bit easier when you first start to play the guitar, because the second you learn how to read a tab you can start to play a song on the spot, but with chords you need to learn how to play each chord individually and then you can add the to the song. I usually look at both the chords and tabs and take the best of each for my version of the song, so I suggest not sticking to one or the other, but use both to create the best version of specific song. :)

Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 9

I'm a stickler for accuracy, and tabs are much more accurate to the song. I'd go with the tabs every time.

Pinnacle Guitar: Guitar lessons for beginners and gear and software reviews.

New Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 2

Tabs are more accurate to what is actually being played, although chords and tabs can often show the exact same thing. For example, they could show a G chord diagram, or have a G chord written in tab like:


Those two things mean the same thing, but are just written differently. Anyway, lots of music doesn't use straight up chords, so its much easier to find tabs for those songs. Good luck man!