Guitar Playing

Neil_O

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Some guitars have nylon strings — right? Well, what’s the difference between one of them and a Classical Guitar?
I have seen three kinds, nylon-modern, classical and flamenco nylon string guitars. Flamenco strings are lower and allow faster shredding and classical strings are set-up higher for buzz free tone, while my impression of the 'other' nylon string guitars is that they appeal to folks who think steel strings feel wrong or sound wrong. I think the flamenco tonewoods can be brighter too, with a sharper attack.
 

Down Up Dick

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Some ”regular” guitars also have nylon strings.
I have seen three kinds, nylon-modern, classical and flamenco nylon string guitars. Flamenco strings are lower and allow faster shredding and classical strings are set-up higher for buzz free tone, while my impression of the 'other' nylon string guitars is that they appeal to folks who think steel strings feel wrong or sound wrong. I think the flamenco tonewoods can be brighter too, with a sharper attack.
Thanks, Neil, I just wondered. I really prefer steel, but I’m playing nylon now. I like playing them with my fingers, but my fingers have been hurting. I dunno why.
 

clear

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Some ”regular” guitars also have nylon strings.

Thanks, Neil, I just wondered. I really prefer steel, but I’m playing nylon now. I like playing them with my fingers, but my fingers have been hurting. I dunno why.

The "nylon-modern" @Neil_O mentioned, I think he may be referring to "crossover" guitars. These have the steel string acoustic ergos (narrower and radiused fretboard, lower action, shallower neck, electronics, cutaways) but with nylon strings (they are braced lighter and tops are thinner than steel).

Their intended purpose is for steel players crossing over the nylon world. They balance strum and finger picking (many players just use a pick and just play them as if steel guitars) where as a classical guitar is primarily focused for finger picking.
 

merlin666

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I have seen three kinds, nylon-modern, classical and flamenco nylon string guitars. Flamenco strings are lower and allow faster shredding and classical strings are set-up higher for buzz free tone, while my impression of the 'other' nylon string guitars is that they appeal to folks who think steel strings feel wrong or sound wrong. I think the flamenco tonewoods can be brighter too, with a sharper attack.
In the 70s when I started to play those "other" guitar were called folk or hiker guitars for playing at campfires etc. They were the cheapest and lowest quality of guitars imaginable and had nylon strings with ball ends.
 

Down Up Dick

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So many things to change when one has been playing a long time in a certain way, and the changes are even more difficult when it’s a new and entirely different size and type instrument. But I guess that’s what keeps one interested and forging ahead.
 

Down Up Dick

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I have decided to switch from tabs to regular music (dots) for classical guitar. Tabs just don’t provide enough info, and reading both lines at the same time just don’t get it for me. I’m in the process now of honing up on my scales and playing easy baritone uke music to get comfortable with the change. I’ll use the tabs for a quick read on a piece to get an idea what it’s all about.
 

Jim Yates

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I have decided to switch from tabs to regular music (dots) for classical guitar. Tabs just don’t provide enough info, and reading both lines at the same time just don’t get it for me. I’m in the process now of honing up on my scales and playing easy baritone uke music to get comfortable with the change. I’ll use the tabs for a quick read on a piece to get an idea what it’s all about.
Tabs, when written properly, give the exact same info as standard notation. If the tab is written properly, there is no need for two lines (Standard and tab). The problem is sourcing properly written tabs.
An advantage of tabs is that they show the player the notes and how to obtain them (where to put your fingers)
A disadvantage of tabs is that they are only usable by the instrument they are written for (mandolin tabs won't work for guitars)
 

Down Up Dick

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Hi, Jim, good to hear from you again. We’ve had this conversation before, a long time ago, and you sent a sample of your tabs. Yours were better than most tabs one finds in the books I usually get, but they’re not in the books that I’m using now.

I‘m trying to learn new (to me) info, but it’s all on the top line and above. The tabs only tell me where to put my fingers and that’s it. I’m trying to learn about alternating fingers and rhythm and slurs and connected notes and all the other stuff that I need/want to know, and it’s all on the top line.

I’ve really had this complaint ever since I started playing strings. I learned my Irish tunes from music (dots) without any trouble, but my Clawhammer books didn’t have music, so I used the tabs until my ol’ fingernails gave out. So I can and do use tabs, if the music is simple enough and has a lot of chords (my nemesis), but the music that I’m learning now requires more explanation. It does for my ol’ brain at least.
 

clear

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I have decided to switch from tabs to regular music (dots) for classical guitar

If by "music (dots)" you mean standard notation, then I think it is generally a good idea. So much more music is written in standard notation than Tabs; your life would be easier if you can read standard notation... if you must choose one. However, why not learn both? Tabs isn't too hard to pick up once you can read standard notation, and Tabs (especially) makes chords super easy to play.
 

Down Up Dick

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Yes, Clear, I do read both now, and tenor and bass clef too. I agree that, for very simple music with chords, tabs are the thing. I’d just like to play music, without chords, by ear, but I feel guilty when I do it. I guess that’s why I find whistling and harmonica so satisfying.

I find chords very trying. They are what caused me to fail at the piano, and now, with my memory so bad, they just add to my problems. But — onward and upward . . .
 
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Justaguest

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Tabs, when written properly, give the exact same info as standard notation. If the tab is written properly, there is no need for two lines (Standard and tab). The problem is sourcing properly written tabs.
An advantage of tabs is that they show the player the notes and how to obtain them (where to put your fingers)
A disadvantage of tabs is that they are only usable by the instrument they are written for (mandolin tabs won't work for guitars)
Jim it was not until recent years that I saw tab that was written in a way that provides "pre-reading" experiences for students. Brilliant whoever thought of that. It's time consuming to make so most probably default to the typical numbers spaced out on dashed lines. I would guess most tabs on the popular tab sites e.g. Ultimate Guitar are written by people who don't read standard notation since most guitar players don't. You have to know how the song goes for it to be useful but it still is and I use it a ton.
 

Justaguest

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Yes, Clear, I do read both now, and tenor and bass clef too. I agree that, for very simple music with chords, tabs are the thing. I’d just like to play music, without chords, by ear, but I feel guilty when I do I. I guess that’s why I find whistling and harmonica so satisfying.

I find chords very trying. They are what caused me to fail at the piano, and now, with my memory so bad, they just add to my problems. But — onward and upward . . .
Hey...what is your problem with chords? Is it getting your fingers in a position so all the notes of the chord sound, changing between chords, memorizing chord grips or what? I have remedies for most of those that I have used effectively with students before that I'd share if ya wanna know. I have quite a bit of material and videos about this -- I retired from teaching last week but for the past 2 years have been teaching middle school guitar online so I had to create a lot of media.
 

Jim Yates

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Jim it was not until recent years that I saw tab that was written in a way that provides "pre-reading" experiences for students. Brilliant whoever thought of that. It's time consuming to make so most probably default to the typical numbers spaced out on dashed lines. I would guess most tabs on the popular tab sites e.g. Ultimate Guitar are written by people who don't read standard notation since most guitar players don't. You have to know how the song goes for it to be useful but it still is and I use it a ton.
I have written tabs in this way since the sixties. I believe the reason so many tabs are poorly written is because people no longer write them out by hand and the computer doesn't allow a properly written tab. In order to indicate timing properly, I always write them out by hand.
Here's my arrangement, made about 30 years ago, of a couple of English jigs for 5-string banjo. I learned them from a fiddle tune book by Robin Williamson where they were written in standard notation.

The Perfect Cure.jpg
 

Down Up Dick

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Yeah, Jim, that’s pretty good, but you had to do it. Mine’s already done when I open the book — any book (with limits). Right now I’m playing some Bach pieces on my flute from a mandolin book. Sometimes I use old Cornet or Flute books to play one of my string instruments. Do you “translate” all the music that you play? That takes time, if done neatly. I don’t see some stuff really well either. As I said before, the best use for tabs is chords

Wayne Erbsn has something similar to yours in his “2-Chord Songs for Mandolin”, but it’s pretty simple stuff. When I use it, I just play the standard notation.

As I said before, I think the best use for tab, better’n standard notation, is showing chords.
 

Justaguest

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I have written tabs in this way since the sixties. I believe the reason so many tabs are poorly written is because people no longer write them out by hand and the computer doesn't allow a properly written tab. In order to indicate timing properly, I always write them out by hand.
Here's my arrangement, made about 30 years ago, of a couple of English jigs for 5-string banjo. I learned them from a fiddle tune book by Robin Williamson where they were written in standard notation.

View attachment 140965
I think you are correct on the reason -- there is a serious learning curve to using transcription programs. There is a free online tab creator I have used but it would be easier to write out by hand in your method if I wanted it accurate. You must have accumulated a good library over the years. I looked for a guitar method for kids that uses that type of system and Consonus Music is the only one I found that has one. Most of the typical Hal Leonard-ish method books are completely standard notation. I'm currently trying to learn clawhammer uke and I know tabs will be a lot easier than me learning where the notes are on the uke neck.
 

Down Up Dick

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Hey...what is your problem with chords? Is it getting your fingers in a position so all the notes of the chord sound, changing between chords, memorizing chord grips or what? I have remedies for most of those that I have used effectively with students before that I'd share if ya wanna know. I have quite a bit of material and videos about this -- I retired from teaching last week but for the past 2 years have been teaching middle school guitar online so I had to create a lot of media.
I dunno. I’ve been struggling with them for so long that I think I just struggle with them habitually. I have some pet I- IV-V tunes that I use, but if a tune has too many others, I just don’t play it.

I understand the chords, and I am able to fret them (except C on my new guitar for instance) clumsily. My major problem with them is they slow me down, and I can’t play stuff up to speed. In addition, I’m an ol’ guy, and my memory is way less than adequate. The best I can do is use written music and slog along, though I can play some tunes from memory or by ear sans chords.

One of the reasons that I decided to try Classical Guitar is that it’s music doesn’t seem to have lots of chords. At least, not yet . . . I also like Fingerstyle for the way it uses chords. I really enjoy playing Irish music — no chords and mostly happy.

So you see, I have an ongoing battle with chords. Thank God for my flutes and harmonicas. I have brass instruments too but ,alas, and neighbors. I really wish I’d never gotten into all these chord monsters.

Do you know anything about “hand/eye coordination“?
 

Ziret

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There may be more knitting patterns in the world than musical transcriptions, I don’t know. But some years ago I decided that if a pattern with lace or cables wasn’t charted, I’d look for a different one I liked that was. I could, theoretically, chart out any written pattern, but it’s just not worth it to me.

I read standard notation, but I prefer to read tab that’s been well written and has all the information that’s on the standard notation. And I like standard notation to be included. There are a lot of songs out there, if I can’t find a specific one that is in tab with standard notation I will just look for another one that I like, or ask for help in getting it notated.

One thing I learned from having no book budget as a child who read voraciously—go to the library looking for a specific book if possible, or a good book if not, and you’ll likely come home with something you enjoy reading. If not, go back to the library.
 

Down Up Dick

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There may be more knitting patterns in the world than musical transcriptions, I don’t know. But some years ago I decided that if a pattern with lace or cables wasn’t charted, I’d look for a different one I liked that was. I could, theoretically, chart out any written pattern, but it’s just not worth it to me.

I read standard notation, but I prefer to read tab that’s been well written and has all the information that’s on the standard notation. And I like standard notation to be included. There are a lot of songs out there, if I can’t find a specific one that is in tab with standard notation I will just look for another one that I like, or ask for help in getting it notated.

One thing I learned from having no book budget as a child who read voraciously—go to the library looking for a specific book if possible, or a good book if not, and you’ll likely come home with something you enjoy reading. If not, go back to the library.
I couldn’t agree more, Ziret. My wife is a knitter too. I watch her sometimes, and I’d much rather contend with the darned tab.
 

Jim Yates

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Yeah, Jim, that’s pretty good, but you had to do it. Mine’s already done when I open the book — any book (with limits). Right now I’m playing some Bach pieces on my flute from a mandolin book. Sometimes I use old Cornet or Flute books to play one of my string instruments. Do you “translate” all the music that you play? That takes time, if done neatly. I don’t see some stuff really well either. As I said before, the best use for tabs is chords

Wayne Erbsn has something similar to yours in his “2-Chord Songs for Mandolin”, but it’s pretty simple stuff. When I use it, I just play the standard notation.

As I said before, I think the best use for tab, better’n standard notation, is showing chords.
I would just as soon use standard notation for guitar or mandolin or ukulele, but for 5-string banjo, I have difficulty reading directly from standard notation and I have to either do it by ear, or if I want it note for note, I'll tab it out. It must be the thumb string that throws me and the "no two eighth notes in a row with the same finger or on the same string" rule that I try to follow
 

clear

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When I buy uke song books, I strongly prefer having standard notation and Tabs. I notice that when I have both notations, I use the standard/staff notation to sing and I play using the Tabs. I can't translate Tabs into pitches and scale runs easily. So, in your anotated Tabs, I cannnot get pitch information easily.

I also have uke books with only standard notation (no Tabs); these books are harder to use than the above books. I also have books (actually electronic format) with only Tabs, those are very hard, impossible to use without already knowing the songs.

So, I think the best of both worlds (currently) is still having both notations, if the space and budget permit.