When we learn guitar solos, we have the choice between learning the music from conventional music notation or from guitar tab. Although tab was used for all music in past ages it has become popular as guitar notation because people who were attracted to playing the guitar were very often not attracted to spending time learning music theory and how to read sheet music.
Quite often, a newbie guitarist’s inspiration to learn to play the guitar is the lead guitar player in a famous band. Hearing a great solo guitar player at work raises so many questions about the techniques he uses, the tone and volume settings, and where he gets those great guitar solos from.
In this age of instant gratification, you can find the tab for a guitar solo almost as soon as the song is released. To take advantage of the tabs on the internet you need to be aware that the guitar tab can tell you one thing: the notes that the guitarist is playing in the solo.
If you play the tab through you may not agree with the notes that are on the tab, so this is the time to make any changes that you feel are necessary. Once you feel that the guitar solo tab corresponds to your hearing of the solo on the CD version of the song, you need to check the fingering that is given.
If the guitar tab has been written manually using Notepad or a similar text editor, the fingering given will have been worked out by the guitarist who wrote the tab. If you are using a file from some guitar editing software like Powertab, you need to check the fingering thoroughly to make sure it is easy for you to play.
The reason you need to check the fingering is that tab editing programs have no idea what it feels like to have fingers, and if you follow the computer-generated fingering, you might be in for some unnecessary acrobatics. So remember to keep it simple.
So, there is no harm in being flexible in interpreting the tab for any guitar solo. If you feel that what’s on the tab does not sound quite right, go with what you have. Once you’re familiar with the music, the correct notes or chord will probably come to you. Also, do not be afraid to take liberties with any guitar solo you are learning. When you are up there playing the music on your guitar, it will be YOUR solo, so you can change it to make it your own if you like.