Sweaty Spice, the other Spice Girl

Playing guitar in the 1990’s was a heady time. Out of the usenet grew a phenomenal source for learning to play guitar, the On-Line Guitar Archive. It was a repository of thousands of transcribed songs called in a format called Tab or Tablature.

Instead of standard music notation, there was a shorthand that is commonly used by guitar players. Instead of 5 staves, there are 6, one for each string, and instead of the note duration, a number was used to refer to the fret of the note.

Most of the magazines that you read to learn to play used tablature, and many printed songs in tab format.

OLGA was a place for user submitted tabs, and just about any song you might want to learn was on there, often 2 or more versions.

It was brilliant, and it really helped players out.

Alas, OLGA was attacked over and over by various music publishers, and recording industry groups. It was moved, reconstituted, and then ultimately shut down. That was a sad day.

But there are other sources, and I remembered that I bought a lifetime subscription to the Ultimate Guitar site. It was $29.95 (I think) one time, and I just rediscovered my log in to it. It isn’t as handy as OLGA was, but it does have some extremely high quality tabs, with the full accompaniment, and backing tracks. Very useful for play throughs, and to get familiar with a song or a passage.

Then there is the stand alone software “Guitar Pro” by Arobas Music. I bought in on it in 2006 or so, version 4 or so. It was brilliant then, and last year I updated it to version 7.6. I have a directory full of the GP5 files the tab files, some great, some less so, but it is plenty to play with, and covers many of my favorite songs and bands. With it is a tight integration to a service called MySongbook, where you can subscribe to their entire catalog for $5 a month, or you can buy individual files for $1 each (if you buy 20 at a time), a great deal.

Thus, I have a nearly endless supply of cool tunes to learn and perfect, and it all started not long after I got on the internet in the early 1990’s.

It is a helluva time to play guitar.

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