Monday, August 21, 2006

Guitar Tabs? Pray for Hal Leonard

For every amateur musician who blesses the Gods of the Internet every time s/he downloads the tablature to a song s/he just HAS to figure out THAT VERY SECOND, the news that music publishers are going to crack down on illegal tab sites is mighty disturbing indeed. OK, I'll amend that sober third-person lead - what I meant to say was, shit, this is bad news for me! I love these tab sites, and so do countless guitar players who have filled their fakebooks with thousands of crib sheets taken off sites like Chordie and GuitarTabs.

Back in the day, us guitar hacks would spend ridiculous cash to buy songbooks that were never quite inclusive enough. 30 bucks tends to be the suggested retail price for most of these books, the economics of which I have never understood. Do we really need to spend more on the fakebook than on the record itself? You can see where I'm going with this - tab sites freed us and gave us grazing ability - we could download, say, one Merle Haggard song, one from Neil Young, etc, and build own own DIY fakebooks. The possibilities are endless - I have always found what I'm looking for, no matter how obscurantist.

Like so many web-ocrites, I tend to a take a "free stuff for me, but not for thee" approach: If I can rip stuff off the web that benefits my lifestyle, I'll overlook the fact that someone else has just been ripped off a few pennies. I don't download music for free off the web, but if music publishers think that cracking down on tab sites is going to solve their problems, they're just strumming past the graveyard. What they need to do is make their books cheaper and more accessible, expand the genre options, and get creative. Otherwise, tabs will forever slouch towards my Martin dreadnought.


Daylightrambler said...

If they're going to crack down on the free tab sites, musicians should crack down on crappy tab books. The quality of some of the tab books I've picked up is atrocious. I want the chord the guitarist played, not it's simplified first-postion alternative. Sometimes, I want it all to fit on one 8.5x11 sheet, in fact I often put two songs to a sheet. Other times, I want the whole thing tabbed out, note-for note, like the Allman Brothers "Jessica".

Online tabs are usually put together by people with real-world experience, and supply everything you need to play the song in as little space as necessary. The tab books are ridiculous, inflexible, impractical, and the whole music publishing system is a scam. Pray for Hal Leonard? More like Pray for Hal Leonard's Demise.

Andrew Rogers is dead. Long live Andrew Rogers!

MW said...

yes! books suck - make them indispensible, and then ill buy them...

farkus said...

I can't understand cracking down on chord tabs while youtube is serving up a gillion downloads as we speak.

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