Guitar Tabs - PDF by toriola1


									                                                   Presented by Daniel Toriola

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                                                                      Guitar Tabs
                                                                   By Britt Turner

   What happens when someone features guitar tabs on a Web site so musicians can learn to play
their favorite songs? The posting is probably copyright infringement since publishers have licensed
very few guitar tab sites. But publishers are facing even more pressing questions than whether they
should sue the unauthorized sites: What is the best business model to compete with the free,
unauthorized sites, and do current publishing contracts even cover the necessary rights to post tabs to
the authorized sites?

 The sale of print versions of guitar tabs is a multimillion-dollar business. Although publishers' revenue
is confidential, a source with a print publisher crunched some numbers for me based on information
from a NAMM report, the company's own revenue and the source's estimate of competitors' revenue.

 According to a NAMM report, the North American print music market generated $539 million in retail
sales in 2006. My source estimates that about 48% of that amount ($258.7 million) was related to
songs in about 2.7 million songbooks. About 16% of the song portion of the revenue was likely
attributable to guitar tabs, thereby generating roughly $41.4 million in retail revenue from about 40
million individual guitar tabs. With wholesale prices typically 45%-50% of the retail price, print
publishers likely received $18.6 million-$20.7 million in 2006 from print guitar tabs, which they then
shared with songwriters and their publishers.

 Currently, only three commercial guitar tab sites appear to be authorized by a large number of
publishers. Each sells tabs as digital sheet music: FreeHand Music (FreeHand Systems), Musicnotes
and SheetMusicDirect (Hal Leonard and Music Sales U.K.). Meanwhile, sites that may contain
unlicensed tabs keep growing. From July 2006 to July 2007, unique monthly visitors grew for from 1.4 million to 2.4 million, and for from 473,000 to 1.1 million,
according to comScore Media Metrix.

 In an attempt to compete with the free sites, Musicnotes acquired a previously unlicensed site,, with plans to license the site's database of tabs and add others, offer them for free and
share ad revenue with publishers. Among the publishers that licensed rights for the site were BMG
Music Publishing, Famous Music, Bug Music and peermusic.

 But when Musicnotes made a deal with the Harry Fox Agency in May so that publishers could opt in to
the licensing deal for MXTabs, Hal Leonard reacted negatively. It e-mailed some publishers to urge

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them to think carefully before licensing the "free" business model, which may include amateur (i.e., not
necessarily accurate) guitar transcriptions of songs. Musicnotes posted the letter and its reply on the
MXTabs site, which has not yet launched its service.

 It's unclear whether the reaction to the dispute is holding up the site. But the debate is unlikely to be
resolved soon. It boils down to two questions: In light of all the illegal sites, should tabs be offered for
free on ad-supported sites even though "free" may feed into a consumer demand for more free music,
thus devaluing music? Or should legal action shutting down unauthorized sites and educational efforts
be the strategy for publishers while building per-download or per-use sites for tabs?

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                                                     Getting To Know Guitar Tabs
                                                               By Maxine Schel

 In the simplest terms, a guitar tab is a word that is used to describe a musical notation, which may
contain either numbers or letters and explains to the musician where to place his/her fingers on the
instrument. Guitar tabs consist of multiple lines and is often called a ‘staff notation.’ These lines, which
are present in guitar tabs, each represent one of the guitar strings.

New musicians often find guitar tabs to be especially baffling in that the strings are written backwards.
The highest string is found at the top of the guitar tabs, which is often difficult to learn since most
people would expect that guitar tabs would be written from top to bottom instead of the other way
around. In actuality, guitar tabs are written from the highest to lowest and the numbers on each line
represent the guitar fret. In order to understand guitar tabs, all new guitarists need to learn string
placement and how to correctly read frets.

Generally written in standard format, guitar tabs may slightly vary depending on the sheet music
publisher. Even still, guitar tabs are easier to read than learning staff notation. Because of it’s visual
representation, new musicians are often more comfortable reading guitar tabs than any other kind of

When learning the guitar, musicians will become familiar with the instrument and how it works. This
can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including private instruction, informational reference books
and videos. In some cases, classroom lessons may even be used to help better equip the musician to
learn guitar and how to read guitar tabs. As the musician becomes familiar with the terms used to
describe a guitar, including the neck, fret, string, chord, etc., he/she will also begin to easily read guitar

In the beginning, guitar tabs can be intimidating. Multiple lines and letters, numbers or other symbols
may seem quite confusing. With practice and time, a guitar tab will be as easy to understand as the
links found your favorite website. Few musicians can play by ear without first learning a song via sheet
music, which is why reading guitar tabs is the first step that a guitarist must take before learning how to

If you need further information on finding a guitar instructor, check the local yellow page listing or stop
by your local high school or college and ask the music director for a recommendation.

To get more facts about guitar tabs, check out our website at for lots of
free guitar tabs information and reviews.

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