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Watch the TAB Good, Sound Bad online guitar lesson by Rich Maloof from Guitar 201: Breakthroughs

Online TAB sources are sometimes a gold mine and sometimes a minefield. The best advice we can give is to use your ears before you use your eyes. That is, listen closely to the part you’re trying to play and then determine whether the TAB is right, or almost right, or not even close. No doubt you will find examples of all three. If you want something more reliable and clearer, drop a few bucks to the people whose song you love, and buy artist-approved sheet music.

More thoughts on TAB survival:

- Search for charts that include both TAB and standard notation
- Some TABS name the correct chords but don’t show to voice them. Use your chord voicings to figure out which shape is being played on the original recording. What note is on bottom or on top?
- Compare the opening or resolving chords to the original recording: Are they in the same key?

Quick anecdote:

A friend of mine wanted to play Lorde's “Royals” by Lorde on guitar and said the TAB he found just didn't sound like the original. Well, that’s cuz is no guitar on the recording! Doesn't mean you can't play the song, but you'll have to invent a part that covers the feeling you’re afer. Many TABs suggest a way to get through a song without necessarily recreating a specific guitar part. It helps to know what you intend to get out of a TAB before you make yourself nuts looking for the best one out there.

Thus endeth the rant.