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Fiddle Lovers Online


Dec 18, 2019 - 12:21:31 PM
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6 posts since 12/18/2019

I make tabs in string color and number ie E would be orange and open is 0, F is 1, G is 2 and A is 3 (i think i got the notes right on the E string - I am a very bad novice)

Does anyone else do tabs this way?

Dec 19, 2019 - 12:48:21 AM
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Dragonslayer

Mozambique

295 posts since 9/1/2019

That's how I've seen fiddle tab written except 1 is usually F#, F would be 1L (low)

Dec 19, 2019 - 7:55:32 AM
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2554 posts since 10/6/2008

It sounds like you’re tabbing for personal use? If so, I like the color coding idea!

Like Dragonslayer, I’d suggest making sure to indicate H or L, when needed, so it’s clear down the road what was meant. And consider adding key, tuning, and other helpful information.

Dec 19, 2019 - 7:56:23 AM

2554 posts since 10/6/2008

Do you tab on a four-line staff or in a single line?

Dec 19, 2019 - 8:29:36 AM

6 posts since 12/18/2019

If i get your meaning, 4 line. instead of notes, its color coded numbers. I started learning violin about 6 years ago, but stopped due to severe depression after a severe concussion 5 years ago. Now I am trying again. So I keep things simple, I don't use my little finger, and I can't reach the A on the G string with my index finger any more, therefore I avoid songs with G. That has not been a problem though so far.

Dec 19, 2019 - 8:31:09 AM
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6 posts since 12/18/2019

Dragonslayer, so far I treat 1 as F# and pretty much ignore F low. Not sure how I would do an FL.

Dec 19, 2019 - 9:24:51 AM
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2554 posts since 10/6/2008

I love how fiddling is so adaptable. Some years ago I bumped into a talented fiddler who slides up to get the B on the E string instead of reaching for it and it totally works. And there are so many wonderful fiddle tunes that can sit on just two strings.

I think you're new here? Welcome! :)

Dec 19, 2019 - 12:05:53 PM
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6 posts since 12/18/2019

Thanx Cyndy, I am actually new again, lol. I used to be on the chat all the time but became severely depressed after a severe concussion in may of 2014. Now I am back. I am sad that all the folks that used to be on chat back then appear to be gone. sigh. I have really missed them.

Dec 19, 2019 - 12:21:18 PM
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2554 posts since 10/6/2008

Well, welcome back then! I think Fiddle Hangout has gotten smaller over the years, but activity seems to be picking up again and it feels like people are working to keep it a friendly, supportive community. Still a nice place to visit! :)

Dec 2, 2020 - 2:21:57 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

41 posts since 9/28/2020

Been playing banjo, mandolin, guitar and dobro for decades now (and writing tabs for my students too).

I can sight read tabs for all those instruments.

Now I'm taking up the fiddle again, after some 30 years, and for the first time I'm confronted with tabs  I can't read.

What completely throws me off is the fact that in fiddle tab, in spite of the same tuning, apparently the notes are on a different place as compared to the mandolin, where every half note step (fret) has it's own number. (Example: second string C# = 4, first string A = 5,  third string E = 7, etc.)

Because of the identical tuning to the mandolin, when picking up the fiddle, my left hand easily finds the places where the notes are. Therefore I can play fiddle from mandolin tabs, but not so when trying to play from fiddle tabs.

For some strange reason, fiddle tabs seem to be written following some sort of illogical, secret code.

If you'd look at fiddle tabs, the fiddle only has 4 half note steps on each string. Why is that?

I feel stupid for overlooking something probably very obvious....

Edited by - RB-1 on 12/02/2020 14:23:53

Dec 2, 2020 - 2:39:32 PM
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3134 posts since 6/21/2007

Usually, fiddle tab is indicating the position of the finger, while a mandolin tab is indicating a fret number. A G# on the 4th string is played at the position of the first fret on the mandolin, while it is indicated as a 1st finger on the lower of 2 notes played with that finger, i.e. the first finger is played in the relative position of a (hidden, or flush) first fret, while the A has the finger moved up 1 "fret" to the 2nd fret on the mandolin, or the place where it -would- be if the fiddle had frets.

Dec 2, 2020 - 6:09:53 PM
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85 posts since 1/28/2018

For fiddle, I've used fiddle tab, mando tab, & notation...I find notation to be the easiest to read by far, which may be a bit strange as it was the last thing I learned.

I've never run across "color typing" to create tab before, but I think it would be  very slow going for  me to try reading  or writing it.  How you would include slides, double stops, note durations etc. is the first thing that comes to my mind, but I can imagine some possibilities... 

Edited by - fiddlewood on 12/02/2020 18:20:11

Dec 3, 2020 - 10:46:13 AM

3134 posts since 6/21/2007

Erbsen uses a nice technique in his Old-Time Fiddle for the Complete Ignoramus; he shows the string lines high to low (top to bottom) and then puts the name of the note on the line. Once you basically know your scales, you've got a nice tab system without worrying about fret or finger numbers.

disclaimer: I have read music since I was about 8 years old, and taught myself classical guitar. I started using tab for clawhammer banjo because of the abundant tunings available, but have finally started adjusting to notation for "classic banjo." I read notation for fiddle.

Dec 4, 2020 - 5:47:04 AM

RB-1

Netherlands

41 posts since 9/28/2020

quote:
Originally posted by BanjoBrad

Usually, fiddle tab is indicating the position of the finger, while a mandolin tab is indicating a fret number. A G# on the 4th string is played at the position of the first fret on the mandolin, while it is indicated as a 1st finger on the lower of 2 notes played with that finger, i.e. the first finger is played in the relative position of a (hidden, or flush) first fret, while the A has the finger moved up 1 "fret" to the 2nd fret on the mandolin, or the place where it -would- be if the fiddle had frets.


Thanks for confirming I'm not crazy after all. wink I expected them to be similar to mandolin tabs...

So no sight reading like I'd hoped for. sad

Yet, I'm wondering now how to decide, whether a "1" means a G# or an A?  Being two half steps away from the nut I expected seeing a "2" there.

I feel some re writing coming up...

Or does anyone know of an easier way of translating these fiddle tabs into standard mandolin ones?

Dec 4, 2020 - 10:03:26 AM

5526 posts since 9/26/2008

That type of tab is based on the scale of the key and assumes, for example, you know that the G note in key of D is a G and not G#.

Dec 4, 2020 - 10:49:56 AM

RB-1

Netherlands

41 posts since 9/28/2020

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

That type of tab is based on the scale of the key and assumes, for example, you know that the G note in key of D is a G and not G#.


If so, then how do you write chromatic sequences and passing notes when outside the simple 1-4-5 chord progressions?

The tunes I want to learn are full of these.

Writing them in a mandolin tab system is a breeze and so is reading...

Edited by - RB-1 on 12/04/2020 10:50:18

Dec 4, 2020 - 10:59:07 AM
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3134 posts since 6/21/2007

Sounds to me you need to learn notation. It's not really difficult, and by using the Erbsen method, you can begin to develop the knack fairly quickly.

Dec 4, 2020 - 7:04:02 PM
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5526 posts since 9/26/2008

Outside of the scale notes have a L or H attached to them to indicate those notes. So in my above example, a G sharp would be 2H or H2 (not sure which is standard).

I agree with Brad and was going to say just that in my first post. Notation is no harder to learn than learning how to read a new TAB system and has the added benefit of translating to other treble clef instrument.

Dec 14, 2020 - 1:43:21 PM

9506 posts since 3/19/2009

The important thing about a fiddle tab system is that it make sense to YOU... ! If is does..you have a good system..
I've seen tab written by several people for the same tune and some are virtually indecipherable except to the author.... but that is OK..

Dec 20, 2020 - 9:18:17 AM
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4303 posts since 6/23/2007

I use tab for banjo, tab or notation for guitar, but only standard notation for fiddle. On the banjo, standard tuning makes using notation difficult. On the guitar there are times when one or the other (i.e. tab or notation) works best. With standard GDAE tuning there are standard musical intervals so with standard notion the notes and music seems to flow more naturally. Scale practice provides lots of benefits. Things like fingerboard familiarization,
ear training, and more. Lots of the music we play are scale fragments. Use notation often enough and you can recognize scale patterns at a glance even before your bow starts to play the pattern.

Knowing the chromatic scale, basic scale and chord theory can be beneficial. When I started playing fiddle, I paid a listmember to record C,G,A,D,F and Bb scales. I played along with the recorded scales and trained my ear to recognize each note and play the notes correctly. I did this for long time. I seems to have worked because now I can stop playing for a month or longer, and have very few intonation problems when I start playing again.

Dec 23, 2020 - 2:00:25 PM
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RB-1

Netherlands

41 posts since 9/28/2020

It took me a while to digest all this input.

Point I tried to make, I can almost sight read mandolin tab and play it note for note on the fiddle.

So why wouldn't one write fiddle tab exactly the same?  But then, they're not.

So I took the advice to heart and started practicing with notation.

Breakthrough seems to have set in after trying some of Pete Martin's excellent fiddle transcriptions, beginning to make sense even to me...wink

Apart from that, my wife has been fiddling for most of her life, Irish & Old Time and she is a trained classical flute player. Teaching me how to read notation, however, is another thing....

Anyway, after swapping my stick for one of her (re-haired) old bows, I finally got to the stadium where she can cope with me, studying in the same room. wink

Dec 24, 2020 - 4:14:10 AM

294 posts since 4/15/2019

Mandolin and fiddle tabs are the same. My son has a Mandolin that he never learned to play. I took it and could easily pick out tunes on it using my fiddle tabs. Of course the trick to the mandolin is learning the double string picking. My younger bro. plays a mandolin, banjo and guitar. I always admired him for his playing ability. He can be jamming with a group and even when playing tunes he has never played before, After one time thru it someone would nod for him to take the lead and he would take off on it like he'd been doing it all his life.

Dec 24, 2020 - 7:56:05 AM
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Earworm

USA

235 posts since 1/30/2018

I have a hard time justifying putting a lot of effort into reading or writing tabs when recorded music is more available than ever. Notation at least has more detail to it, though oddness ensues when alternate tunings are used, I think. In either case, when folk music is set down to paper, it only represents what the transcriber was hearing at the time they wrote it down, which is likely to be incomplete. 

It seems like things have come full circle, in a way, when even the oldest (known) recordings are available in various formats, many of which are fully searchable, and even self-recording and sharing are easier than ever. I'm not trying to convert anyone - there are many ways to find music - but it seems like the best way to get the juicy little bits between the notes is still by just listening to it and playing by ear. There is no shortage of material, and playing by ear is also a skill be be developed.

Dec 24, 2020 - 4:26:51 PM

755 posts since 8/10/2017

My friend made up his own tab system for mandolin. For the life of me I could make no sense of it.

Here is Angeline the Baker in his system.
2x2 2(2x2 / 2(5x2 2(5 2 / 2(2x2 2(5x2 / 2(5x4 / 2x2 2(2x2 / 2(5x2 2(5 2 / 2(2x4 / 2(4x4 / 2x2 2(2x2 / 2(5x2 1x2 / 1(2x2 1x2 / 2(5x2 2(5 2 / 1(2x2 1x2 / 2(5x2 2(2x2 / 2x4 / 2x4

He carries around sheets with the first few bars of every tune he knows to help him remember. Whatever works, I guess.

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