Question:
I got the tabs for a song and learned it. I sound good but it still doesn't sound like the real thing. What could I be doing wrong, or could they be doing something extra?

Answer:
When you're a solo performer and you're learning a song off a recording and tab, etc., you have to realize that the song is recorded in a recording studio and they have almost an endless supply of resources available. Over dubbing a lead or simply having more studio musicians there are almost a certainty.

Almost every song I learn, mostly by ear, I have to figure out the catchy melody in the background that makes the song recognizable to listeners. Sometimes this is on the original recording as a guitar, sometimes even a keyboard!

Try to find places in the existing chords where the note you want to play is, and either try to play that string harder or maybe muffle a string or strings next to it to bring it out.
I recently had to give up on a song I learned because I couldn't effectively do this. It's very disappointing when this happens but when it works, it's like magic.

Sometimes the tablature you get off the internet isn't always perfect. It's usually just someone else's learning of the song done by ear, so the tab you have may not be exactly right but it will help you get in the ball park. You may have to find the missing notes by ear and add them.

Sheet music you buy in a store is notorious for being wrong for the guitar. I think someone writes it for piano in a different key and then adds the guitar chords as an afterthought. Very rarely has sheet music helped me.

Using a Capo is a great help tool. See my Tip #76 for further information on the subject.

Learning songs effectively comes with practice and experience. My personal thought on the subject has always been, I either want to sound exactly like the original recording or I'll completely re-write it and come up with a completely different arrangement of the song. If you're performing the song for an audience, they usually want it to sound the same as the original recording or possibly a completely different sound all together. Getting the song 80% of the way there usually doesn't make it.

I hope this helps at least a little : )

Gman ( o )==#


G-Man,
Love your site!  A point to consider in learning a song in the manner 
performed by the original artist--alternate tunings.  I have often 
struggled while trying to learn a song in standard tuning, only to find 
out that the original artist used an alternate tuning.  
I recently purchased a couple of books on the subject, and was stunned 
to find out how many hit songs were done in alternate tunings.  
Hope you find this valuable, and thanks again for one of my favorite sites!

Dag E.Josang

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