What’s your opinion on this type of handwritten tab?

Uke with Smitty

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Hey everyone, I’m curious if people are fine with handwritten tabs or it seems unprofessional/sloppy. I’ve had free instructionals and tabs on YouTube for a while now but am really mulling over doing a Patreon again. Back when I did it for a bit a couple years ago the thing that drove me nuts and ultimately made me stop was trying to make tabs on the computer. I tried several different programs, but just writing them out on a printed sheet of paper is so much easier for me and saves a lot of time that I can put into making videos, figuring out new songs, etc. I find inputting them into musescore or whatever other program to be so tedious and unenjoyable and I have no delusions of making a bunch of money; the biggest reason I have a YT channel and teach things is I find it fun.

So here’s the question: would it turn you off from learning from an instructor if their “arrangements” were simple handwritten tabs like what I’ve shown here and the majority of instruction went into teaching how to play the song (and ways to improvise over it by ear)? I’ve never been a classically trained, huge sheet music reader. I can but the vast majority of what I do is by ear. If I’m trying to teach that to others, are nice looking digital pdf arrangements still necessary?

Edit: I forgot to mention that a big focus of what I end up teaching is usually old time, folk, bluegrass, Americana style music and much of that is taught through the aural tradition. It’s how I learned growing u around my mom playing music as a kid, so it’s what I automatically do- emphasize listening, playing along, and using a tab as a starting point but internalizing the song to make it your own as soon as possible.
 

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As long as it's clear and legible, I probably wouldn't care if it's just written down like this vs typing it out. Beggars can't be choosers. The people asking for tabs probably can't or won't go through this lengthy process.
 
I've found that many computer assisted TABs are lacking in showing proper timng. Some show a parallel standard notation, but that's not necessary for a properly written TAB.
Here is what my hand-written TABs are like, showing the proper timing.
This is Jay Unger's Ashokan Farewell.

Ashokan Farewell tab.jpg
 
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I think handwritten tabs are OK if they easily readable when printed out and they fit on 1 or 2 pages. That is usually not too hard for slower songs (mostly 1/4 notes and a few 1/8 notes), but for a faster song (mostly 1/8 and 1/16 notes), a handwritten tab can get very busy and very long and trying to flip pages while playing at tempo is cumbersome. Tabs that I have tried to handwrite clearly are usually at least twice as many pages as tabs that I type up with MuseScore.
 
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I actually prefer handwritten but I avoid learning any tune with written tab because I prefer to vary the right hand patterns. Thus, I prefer a simple chord progression/ lead sheet.
That said, there are lots of exceptions. The most recent tune I learned with tab was Gerald Ross’s arrangement of Vince Garaldi’s (Peanuts) “Christmastime Is Here”. I freely admit that there is no way I would have ever figured it out otherwise. :giggle:
 
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As long as the numbers are clearly legible, not too tiny in size, and everything lines up properly, I think a hand written tab would be just fine for your situation, Smitty.
 
When making tabs or lead sheets in MuseScore, I usually go for the jazz template... Which imitates hand writing in some sense. Ok, I mostly choose it because I like the way 7 chords are written, with the 7 in superscript, but the font also look cool.

Long store short, when written nicely like your example above, it gives some authenticity without loss in readability. It looks good!

Consider finding a scanner rather than a camera though, that makes a difference.
 
I'm teaching an easy chord melody class in a few months, and I use handwritten tab sheets. No one has ever complained. I probably should learn to use a program like MuseScore, but I'm kind of computer averse. Does MuseScore work well on a Mac?
 
I agree that as long as it is legible and understandable, there is no problem. I don't do a lot from TAB, but with any notation that is ultimately all that matters.

Canada Jim's comments about timing are a great point. I have seen some TAB online that seem to have used some transcribing software but where quantization has not been set up. Some of these have rhythms that are completely wrong with very strange subdivisions and weird ties across beat and bars, which makes the music impossible to read and understand.

For those who have not used notation software, quantization (fancy sounding word) allows you to predetermine the note values used to notate accurately. For example- you might set eighth notes (quavers in the UK) as the smallest rhythm that it willl understand and transcribe. That way if you play slightly out of time it will not interpret it in some weird way.
 
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I've found that many computer assisted TABs are lacking in showing proper timng. Some show a parallel standard notation, but that's not necessary for a properly written TAB.
Here is what my hand-written TABs are like, showing the proper timing.

View attachment 169181

Nice. That tune was written by a man who lives a few miles from me. He runs this place -

 
Your's is fine, but maybe take some inspiration from this for presentation. Look at the dynamic use of lines, not so much the lettering, but in the boldness of the writing and the use of varied thicknesses of lines.

il_794xN.4405036231_a4lw.jpg
 
@Uke with Smitty Your tab looks good, neat and very clear. I would not be turned away from good quality instruction if the tabs looked like that.

If that works for you, keep doing it! It lets your personality show up in another way.
 
Nice. That tune was written by a man who lives a few miles from me. He runs this place -

Yes, I believe that Jay Unger and Molly Mason run (ran?) the Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp and Jay wrote the tune to be played by the members on the last day of camp as they were leaving to go home. The tune was used as the title theme of the 1990 TV series The Civil War and was included in a book of Songs Of The Civil War, despite the fact that it was written in 1982.
 
Your's is fine, but maybe take some inspiration from this for presentation. Look at the dynamic use of lines, not so much the lettering, but in the boldness of the writing and the use of varied thicknesses of lines.

il_794xN.4405036231_a4lw.jpg

Maybe I'll try play that tonight. Or maybe I'll watch TV. 😊

That's beautiful calligraphy.
 
Aaron Keim's (The Quiet American) work is handwritten, admittedly beautifully done. I don't see an issue with any tab that's clearly legible.
Aaron is the craftsman. His wife, Nicole, is the artist in the family. She does all tab/notation and illustrations. Very attractive and very readable. (y)
 
I watch videos with tabs, whether it is handwritten or typed, it doesn't matter. Some of the best lessons were super ugly handwritten tabs. What matters to me and gets a sub:
  • has tabs,
  • has a section where the entire song is played with the tab on screen (if it is time stamped then even better)

if a video has no tabs or tabs only available through patreon, instant close window. If it's 15 mins of the person talking and showing me every single step like a baby, close window. It's fine to have that, but please let people learn at their own pace too. For me, better to be short and sweet, and I will repeat the video as necessary. I'd rather download a tab and figure it out myself than sit through a long video with zero tabs because the teacher is trying to get more payers to buy the pdf. Dunno which method makes more money though!
 
I watch videos with tabs, whether it is handwritten or typed, it doesn't matter. Some of the best lessons were super ugly handwritten tabs. What matters to me and gets a sub:
  • has tabs,
  • has a section where the entire song is played with the tab on screen (if it is time stamped then even better)

if a video has no tabs or tabs only available through patreon, instant close window. If it's 15 mins of the person talking and showing me every single step like a baby, close window. It's fine to have that, but please let people learn at their own pace too. For me, better to be short and sweet, and I will repeat the video as necessary. I'd rather download a tab and figure it out myself than sit through a long video with zero tabs because the teacher is trying to get more payers to buy the pdf. Dunno which method makes more money though!
Valid points… Sounds to me like you’re best suited by just downloading tabs than watching tutorials on the song!
 
Valid points… Sounds to me like you’re best suited by just downloading tabs than watching tutorials on the song!
I like videos more because I can listen to the song being played and repeat the areas I need. I do probably 3/4 videos. But yeah, definitely depends on what level of playing your tutorials are intended for, beginners would need more instruction.
 
My preference is for standard notation above the tab, but as others have pointed out it’s not really necessary as long as the timing is clearly marked. I’d have no problem with your handwritten tab @Uke with Smitty. And as TaoCat says, in Aaron Keim’s books all the tab is in a handwritten form.

if a video has no tabs or tabs only available through patreon, instant close window
Personally, I have no problem paying for the work someone else has put in to create a tab.

It’s brilliant how much free stuff there is available online, but when did we start thinking we were somehow entitled to the fruits of other people’s labour free of charge? That’s one of the things that’s so good about Patreon IMO, you can contribute a few quid a month and get access to some amazing content. I say, go for it, Smitty!
 
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