Guitar Techniques - - TALK BACK -

In re­sponse to Ja­cob Rice’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion in GT269 re­gard­ing no­ta­tion and if it is a waste of time, quite frankly this as­tounds me. I’m not sug­gest­ing that ev­ery­body should read the dots but why is he not in­ter­ested in learn­ing it for the rhyth­mic val­ues at least? I started off as a tab reader and now, as I’m a ses­sion gui­tarist I have to rely on read­ing the no­ta­tion. I’m not the best reader but I work daily on sight read­ing ex­er­cises as well as ex­er­cises for new tech­niques and new songs. Mr Rice says he lis­tens to the play­back when play­ing new ma­te­rial. He’s miss­ing out com­pletely on the beauty of play­ing some­thing purely from read­ing it. Ev­ery­body has their own way of play­ing gui­tar and learn­ing gui­tar. But I think to flat-out deny no­ta­tion will deny his own pro­gres­sion. Read­ing tab­la­ture is ob­jec­tive whereas read­ing no­ta­tion has more of a sub­jec­tive ap­proach when it comes to find­ing the shapes on your gui­tar, which is won­der­ful when you’re lost in that lit­tle world of play­ing. I hope one day he dis­cov­ers the won­ders of look­ing at mu­sic with­out hear­ing it and be­ing able to play it. BTW, could you con­sider a study piece on Jerry’s Break­down? That would be amaz­ing! And maybe a John 5 blue­grass style study?

Dave, Sh­effield

Hi Dave. Yes, it’s a no-brainer for GT to keep no­ta­tion along­side tab. As you’d

prob­a­bly have seen from our re­cent Ses­sion fea­ture, the abil­ity to read in the stu­dio, at film ses­sions, on shows like The Voice and in the the­atre, is be­com­ing more and more vi­tal. Some of our Ses­sion He­roes are a bit like you in that they use a com­bi­na­tion of charts, no­ta­tion and an ex­pe­ri­enced ear to get them by. Your main point – with which I to­tally agree and am so gut­ted that I can’t do – is that won­der­ful abil­ity to open a score (just as one would open a novel that one’s never seen) and read and un­der­stand it from the page. As you say, it’s a thing of sheer beauty, and one that I know is be­ing picked up by a greater num­ber of gui­tarists than ever be­fore. Re­gard­ing Jerry’s Break­down and John 5, we don’t do ac­tual tran­scrip­tions any more but stud­ies on the tech­niques used is a great idea for both play­ers and styles.

Ja­son Sid­well: in­sists on real mu­sic in all our mags

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