February 10, 2006

TabWiki! Yes, it's yet another wiki, but this time with more auto-didacticness!

To me, this is quite possibly one of the most perfect uses for a wiki. Tab sites have always been a bit clunky, dubiously organized, and increasingly filled with intrusive ads. They've always thrived on the work of a few, as writing tabs is not only time-consuming, but a lot of work in general. When you find a bad tab, most of the time you just don't have enough gumption to make corrections, send it in to a random webmaster, and hope that the changes are made, and so a wiki seems like a perfect solution. I stumbled upon this randomly while trying to find a good site for Iron and Wine tabs. It's still a small and fledgling outfit, but it looks like it's off to a good start, and so hopefully some exposure might give it a boost. I thought this would also be a good time to put out a call out for the favorite sites of any guitar/ukelele/mini-cymbals/grinder/any instrument playing monkeys out there. I would've liked to had more links to add, but the piano tab sites I used to go to are defunct now.

  • Yes, that's a great use of Wiki. It's tough to wade through the million different manifestations of the same crappy OLGA tabs (now wrapped with ads) that show up when you Google. I really like the idea of collaborating to arrive at a reasonably good transcription. I'm mostly interested in standards, jazz and bossanova. OLGA and its evil cousins are kind of light in those areas anyway plus these days I'd rather have charts (chords and melody only) than tabs. It looks like your link is strictly tabs though, which is reasonable because tabs are straight text so anyone can participate. It'd be hard to come up with a standard format for music-editing. Song Trellis is a great resource with charts and Midi sequences and lessons and theory and tons of other stuff. You can get lost in it. It has a definite standards/jazz bias though.
  • A great find, thanks! (And since it seems to favour the entire lyrics style instead of the first word ellipsis style, fifty bonus points!)
  • Wow. I can't play guitar worth a lick, but I agree. This could be a really good thing. Also, not sure if this has been discussed here: apparently the sheet music industry is about to sue tab and lyrics sites.
  • Hmm... for classical piano, this site rocks. A goodly amount of public domain PDFs from the solo repertoire. For pop music, I've heard good things about Pianofiles, a sheet music swap/exchange site, but have never used it personally.
  • This is no good to me unless it's got those little line and circle drawings telling me where to put my fingers. (On the guitar, that is).
  • Tried a search for bagpipes, mandolin, banjo, balalaika, zither. Fot nothing. Figure I muct be doing something wrong here.
  • = Got
  • Jerry Garcia and Jerry Junior would have both loved this.
  • Don't mention that JJ character! He's dead to me!
  • kitfisto, you're on notice!
  • bees- I was actually thinking about that when I first found the site... I am hoping that once it gets bigger it might expand its scope to more instruments. pianistic- about the suing, yeah, I read about that when it first made the news (well, the bbc news at least), and since I haven't heard anything about it since, I'm really hoping that nothing will happen... It's a stupid lawsuit, in my opinion. CD's don't always come with lyrics, and songs downloaded from iTunes or other music sites just plain don't. So people write up the lyrics as best they can. I've never heard of anyone going out to buy a book of tabs just so they could get the lyrics to a song. I'd also like to know what portion of a songwriter's income comes from selling sheet music. Perhaps for showtunes/movie soundtracks the percentage is quite high, but I can't imagine that it makes a significant portion of profit for any contemporary band/singer out there, even the pop ones. The tab books cost more than the CD's, and in my experience don't always have the correct tabs! Whenever I've gone into music stores, too, the selection of tabs is always very small and inconsistent, which does not encourage an initial purchase, and even less so a repeat purchase. It's like they expect people to purchase sheet music without it being accessible. Almost always you never want every tab on the CD, either, just a few songs, and the sheet music industry has no plan in place for getting single tabs at a reasonable price, with the exception of pop songs, and they're still working on the reasonable price aspect of those. I heard a long time ago that sheet music was one of the industries that was losing the most from filesharing, but I never did find out exactly which kind they got the most profits out of (which I would imagine would be sheet music for music students, so mostly older, western classical?), and which kind was being traded the most on the internet. I never understood the point of going after tab sites either. With most tab sites probably fifty percent of the tabs or more are incorrect. Shutting down tab sites isn't going to drive up sales of sheet music. I don't use tab sites because I don't have to get sheet music instead. I use tab sites because I find them far superior to buying the sheet music, even if they can be aggravating sometimes.
  • Whoa, that was long. timefactor- thanks for the headsup about Songtrellis, which looks pretty neat, and pianistic, forgot to say thanks for those piano sites, too. A friend told me about Sheet Music Archive a long time ago, but I had since forgotten. Pianofiles looks interesting too.
  • This has nothing to do with TaB!