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Why You Don’t Need Guitar Tabs

Most of you are already familiar with tablature, also known as tabs.

Assuming you still use tabs to learn your favorite guitar solos and riffs, I have a message for you: You should never, ever rely on tabs again.

Before you start smashing your keyboards with blind, tab-loving rage, hear me out. I’m not saying you should abandon tabs completely. I’m telling you not to depend on them anymore.

Tablature is the perfect tool to introduce beginners to chord shapes and various songs on the guitar, but after you’ve graduated from that novice level, tabs actually inhibit your ear from getting better. As we know, ear training is one of the most important skills for any musician.

Don’t get me wrong; I use tabs in my guitar lessons as references where it’s appropriate, but I can promise you I never rely on tabs to learn any music. The stronger your ear, the faster you can adapt to any musical situation. Once you reach a certain point, you won’t even need tabs to play back what it is you’re hearing.

No longer should you ask, “Hey bro, you got tabs fo’ dat?” Work on your ear training, stop living in the chains of tablature and embrace freedom!

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.