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ameliarose

My teacher has written letters above the bars on the tab sheet he has given me. What do they mean? (extreme beginner)

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ameliarose    0

So I've had about three lessons and my teacher gave me this to practice (see image). I'm just wondering what the G, C and D's above the bars mean? I'm sure it's very silly but I'm a bit confused as I know that is not the string but I also know it can't be all the notes? So confused! Thanks in advance for any help-- sorry if it's a silly question! 

IMG_0422.JPG

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mset3    158

ameliarose,

Not a silly question at all. The letters identify which chords to play over a particular bar. In this case the G, C and D chords. When there is no letter above the bar it means to continuing playing the chord. In your example you would play the G chord over the first four bars and change to the C chord in the next two bars.

Mike

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ameliarose    0
41 minutes ago, mset3 said:

ameliarose,

Not a silly question at all. The letters identify which chords to play over a particular bar. In this case the G, C and D chords. When there is no letter above the bar it means to continuing playing the chord. In your example you would play the G chord over the first four bars and change to the C chord in the next two bars.

Mike

Thanks for that Mike, but I'm still not sure I follow. As you'll see the song is Wipeout (just the riff), and he has written it out in tab formation with a number (representing the fret) on top of a line (representing the string), which I understand as he taught me tabs. So I'm not sure, are you suggesting the numbers are redundant and I just play the chords written over the top of the bars? Because if so it does not sound like the song haha! I'm just confused because when I've previously read tabs there have been no letters over the top and only numbers on the bars. Am I missing something obvious here???
Cheers, Amelia 

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ameliarose    0
1 minute ago, Rockerbob said:

Those are the chords the rhythm guitar player plays while the lead players is playing the tab.

Thanks Rockerbob, that's kind of what I was thinking it may be! But I was a bit thrown off because it's a bit of an odd inclusion seeing as I've had barely any lessons and it serves no purpose for what he asked me to do (learn the tab part) -- just to confuse me it seems! Thanks for confirming! :)

 

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Rockerbob    47

This can also be used to tell the bass player the root of the chord being played.  Generally, the bass player plays the root on beat 1.

Rhythm guitar might get left out completely if you are playing 3 piece rock band.  Only 1 guitar player, so when lead is playing, rhythm is not.  Bass and drums have to fill that space.  Over the past year I've been working on 3 piece instrumentals.  Just drums, bass, and guitar.  Naked.  Its been fun.  Most of the songs start with a guitar lick and build from there.Here's an example, not really named yet, but its a 3 piece, lick based recording.

 

Kjamin1_mix9.mp3

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mset3    158

ameliarose,

Rockerbob's response should clarify this for you. Hope you are having fun playing.

Mike

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JanVigne    27

"I was a bit thrown off because it's a bit of an odd inclusion seeing as I've had barely any lessons and it serves no purpose for what he asked me to do (learn the tab part) -- just to confuse me it seems!"

 

Not to confuse you, but to gently lead you toward further knowledge.  Be patient, you've only had a few lessons and you need to understand your instructor is thinking well ahead of you and where you should be in the future.

Congrats to you for asking.  This is somewhat like reading a book and running across a word you have never seen.  You can either continue on without looking up the word and thereby risk misunderstanding the meaning of the work.  Or you can have the curiosity to do the small amount of research required to further expand your vocabulary.  

You've chosen the latter route.  Now you know something you didn't know before.  Your world is better for it.      

 

The notes contained in the TAB are, first, related to the key of the song, which in this case is G major.  If the song were written out in a different key, the chords and notes played would change with the key.  Eventually, you'll learn the relationship between the keys and how to "transpose" a song from the  key of G Major to, say, the key of D Major.  That's a lesson for further down the road.  

Further, each note you will play in each measure of the song will be within the chord notated above the TAB.  Within a few more lessons, you will have this wealth of knowledge available to you simply by looking at a few scribbles on a page.  

The key choice already determines the chords which are most likely to be played.  In other words, the notes are not randomly chosen but rather they are confined and structured by the key, the scale and the chord chosen by the composer.  

You will eventually learn that the G-C-D progression, when played in the key of G major, is known as a "I-IV-V progression".   Or, you could also say you now know the key, you now know the I-IV-V progression and therefore you also know which chords to play and when to play them within the song.  Alternately, if someone says play the G-C-D chords, you will know the song is in the key of G Major.  You will also know they are asking for a I-IV-V progression.   Then you will only need to ask for the format ... whether the song is, say, a "12 bar" or something different.   

 

"I-IV-V" means "one-four-five" or the first (the "one"), the fourth and the fifth intervals in the scale, which in this case is G major.  You will eventually learn scales and how each key is related to each scale and that all the chords and notes played in any song are related to the key signature and the scale for that key.

The I-IV-V is by far the most common chord progression for popular, blues and rock songs.  Thousands and thousands of songs have been written with a I-IV-V progression.  

Learn that much, and how to play the I-IV-V progression, and you will soon be capable of playing any of those thousands of songs.  All that knowledge is being set up for you to discover and I'm sure, if you continue on with your lessons, your instructor will return to these early lessons and use them again to teach you the more intricate patterns which lurk inside.   

 

So ...    

The key (signature) means the notes you find in the song will have come from the G Major scale.  Now you know what much.

The I-IV-V progression is very common in rock.  Now you know that much more.

Once you know those two things, you will also know the chords played in the key of G major in a I-IV-V progression will be G Major, C Major and D Major.

This is all shorthand a musician will eventually learn and use.    

Knowing that just that much, you can play a few thousand songs even without a TAB.  

Knowing only that much, you can improvise a solo or create a lick which is appropriate to the key of G major.  

You will eventually learn, if you stick with your studies, that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and a world of possibilities in that small amount of knowledge. 

 

Further, when you look at the top of the page,  you will find that the song, as written out, is played in the key of G Major and it is a "12 bar" format.  

Rock, blues and pop music have very common chord progressions which occur within the confines of the G Major scale.  Those of us with more than a few lessons understand that.  

The 12 bar format further tells the player the basic structure of the chord progressions.  In other words, how much time you will allot to playing each chord within the song and when you will change chords  Again, after you have more knowledge imparted by your instructor, this is what you too will understand.  

 

It would appear your instructor is preparing you for these lessons and the knowledge you will gain with them by dropping clues into your current lesson.  It's very likely you will be asked to return to this TAB and to look at it with an eye toward the other things the format and the key tell you.  The time for that is not now.  

Patience, grasshopper.    

 

Your instructor is preparing you for a day when someone else hands you a sheet of paper with not much more than "G Major, 12 bar" written on it and you will be expected to know exactly what that means to your playing.  

 

Good luck.  Playing well takes time and requires diligence.  Stick with it, maintain your curiosity and follow your instructor's lessons as they come and you will get there.  

Do not, however, be afraid to ask your instructor for further explanations of anything you do not understand.  Music is very complex, and yet very simple, but easily played once you learn a few common rules.  If you don't ask, your instructor will assume you know and comprehend what has been taught.  

If you fail to ask for an explanation, you will get lost as all of this comes rather quickly and you'll be expected to play what's put in front of you or told to you.  

Never be afraid to ask a question.  

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