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Thread: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

  1. #1
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    Default converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    is there a site where you can convert guitar tab to mandolin tab
    Some people know a little about
    about a lot of things,i would rather
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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    I don't know of one. I think you have to do it manually. Some guitar notes aren't even on a mandolin. If it's only the chords, there is no need to convert - same chords for both.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

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    Registered User Mike Bunting's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    How about a pencil and a sheet of blank tab?
    Mike
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    The TablEdit program seems to do it, even the trial version. Since the mandolin is higher pitched, you may need to transpose down an octave.

    And maybe several members of the Cafe should realize that some of us are casual players.

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    jbmando RIP HK Jim Broyles's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Nagati View Post
    The TablEdit program seems to do it, even the trial version. Since the mandolin is higher pitched, you may need to transpose down an octave.

    And maybe several members of the Cafe should realize that some of us are casual players.
    Not sure what you meant by that last statement, but thanks for the reminder about Tab|Edit. The trouble for me is entering the guitar tab onto Tab|Edit, since when I use it it's for viewing tabs which are already mandolin tabs. I don't know of a way to copy and paste a guitar tab off a tab site and convert it to mandolin tab.
    "I thought I knew a lot about music. Then you start digging and the deeper you go, the more there is."~John Mellencamp

    "Theory only seems like rocket science when you don't know it. Once you understand it, it's more like plumbing!"~John McGann

    "IT'S T-R-E-M-O-L-O, dangit!!"~Me

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    Registered User billkilpatrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    How about a pencil and a sheet of blank tab?
    agreed - i'd even go one further and suggest that chords are all that's needed. for me, figuring out how songs work is half the enjoyment - as frustrating as that can be at times ... the song becomes "yours."

    there's lots of guitar tabs out there but in most cases i use them for reference only - more as suggestions than anything carved in stone.

    i once saw an elderly duo playing violin at a farmer's market - both sitting stock still, eyes glued to their sheet music. to me, they looked a bit like those fortune telling mannequins you sometimes see at fun fairs - instead of dropping in a coin, you open up a book of notation and arms move and music begins ... a bit mechanical.

    - bill*

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    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    there's lots of guitar tabs out there but in most cases i use them for reference only - more as suggestions than anything carved in stone.
    That's wise, because 80% of tab on the internet belongs in the science fiction section accuracy-wise. In fact, there is an awful lot of published tab (and notation) that is inaccurate, including the venerable Charlie Parker Omnibook...these things give you a good head start, but not always dead-on accuracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by billkilpatrick View Post
    i once saw an elderly duo playing violin at a farmer's market - both sitting stock still, eyes glued to their sheet music. to me, they looked a bit like those fortune telling mannequins you sometimes see at fun fairs - instead of dropping in a coin, you open up a book of notation and arms move and music begins ... a bit mechanical.
    To be fair, there are plenty of stiff-armed non-readers, and plenty of readers who can read AND play fluently at the same time...

    To the OP- the irony is that if you could convert the guitar tab into notation (even via Finale or Sibelius etc.) you could then drop it into mando tab- but the guitar has an octave and a third below the mandolin's range. If you have low notes on the guitar ( E-F-F#), they are going to sound TWO octaves higher on the mando. Up high, the mando's open E is the guitar's 12th fret on the 1st string...you could do the octave conversion, but you'll do a lot of tweaking and editing to get it comfortable.

    That's an awful lot of work that might be better spent with the Amazing Slow Downer and the actual guitar solo...you can even have ASD raise the music an octave without speeding up if you have trouble hearing the octave conversion...we do live in interesting times! These little geegaws really do allow you to access the music you want to play more easily- and struggling with your ear really does good things for your musicianship, development of patience, and cultivation of grey hair

    Casual players, too, might be surprised what they can do with their ears, instruments, slowdowner, and some stick-to-itiveness. One note at a time. When you get it, it is a great feeling, and worth the effort. Some transcription tips here.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that of the six strings on guitar, the only string we don't have on mandolin is the B string. Our open strings are in a different order, but the placement of, say an A note on the D string is still on the 7th fret on both instruments. Not sure if that'll help much, but it's comforting to know that guitar>mando isn't as biZarre as, say, contrabassoon>mando...
    Last edited by John McGann; Mar-15-2009 at 7:39am.

  8. #8

    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    I found some instruction about converting guitar-> mandolin (http://ask.metafilter.com/59874/Guitar-to-mandolin-tabs) but I'm a little confused about guitar 5th and 6th strings (A&E). Does anyone know how to convert those? For example if I have A3 on guitar then what's that on mandolin?

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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by wizardoftheeast View Post
    I found some instruction about converting guitar-> mandolin (http://ask.metafilter.com/59874/Guitar-to-mandolin-tabs) but I'm a little confused about guitar 5th and 6th strings (A&E). Does anyone know how to convert those? For example if I have A3 on guitar then what's that on mandolin?
    Same thing. 3rd fret on the A-string. Well, not really...

    The guitar's A and E strings are in an exact mirror image relationship to the mandolin's A and E strings (guitar's E-string is below its A-string) and in a completely different octave (unreachable on mandolin!).

    3rd fret on the guitar's A-string would be (probably the closest thing, depending on where else the range of the song takes you on the guitar) 5th fret on the mandolin's G-string, but that's still an octave too high.

    If the song uses the guitar's lowest E-string, then you would have to go up two full octaves to reach all the notes (and still might not be able to do so!), meaning you'd go back to playing that note on A3 on mando.

    The problem you're going to run into is that in translating guitar tab into mandolin tab directly (i.e. by rote or rule) you're going to make some impossible fingerings and silly musical choices.

    If you really want to do it by rote without learning the basics of the music behind the lines and numbers, I think the best thing to do would be to get yourself a fretboard "map" of both the guitar and the mandolin fretboards, then write down all of the actual note names (along with octaves; hopefully your "map" will also have these notated) from the guitar tab and then map them onto the mandolin fretboard in semi-reasonable locations.

    If you just go with some crazy formula like was described in the last couple of posts in that link you gave, you're going to be doing some really odd and unmusical stuff really quickly.

    Hard to believe, but it really will be easier to learn to do this musically than mechanically.

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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Broyles View Post
    Not sure what you meant by that last statement, but thanks for the reminder about Tab|Edit. The trouble for me is entering the guitar tab onto Tab|Edit, since when I use it it's for viewing tabs which are already mandolin tabs. I don't know of a way to copy and paste a guitar tab off a tab site and convert it to mandolin tab.
    Since most tabs you find online are pretty simplistic and short, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to type them by hand into TablEdit to make the conversion if you want to do it that way. I shudder at how strangely it will ask you to play things, though. :-/

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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Agree that much of the guitar tab out there is, if not incorrect, off in some way. AND, publications don't always have exact transcriptions of how the artists may play a particular song/passage...or it may be correct but in a different key, etc...I'm constantly looking up tab but have a pretty good shred pile of stuff that, when I got it home and tried to play it, just didn't sound right. I usually use it as a jumping off point but don't actually print anything anymore until I have a guitar or mando in hand...youtube is also an awesome tool...you can usually find video if not of the actual artist of someone playing close to correctly whose hands you can see.

    I'm just a casual player (IMO I'm pretty bad, actually), and I haven't yet taken the time to sit down and do a note for note transcription as John described above, but with a couple of my latest endeavors am coming to understand the value of being able to, first and foremost, hear the song. I'm getting better at translating that to my hands, which is making me at least a more versatile bad player

    If you're tech savvy the programs above may work...if not, just figuring it out may actually be easier. I read somewhere an interview with Bela Fleck regarding his transcriptions for his Perpetual Motion album (still one of my favorites)...after extensive thought about classical music that could stand out on a banjo (I know, I know, insert banjo joke here) he plugged the notation into Sibelius, I believe, and the program churned out banjo tab...problem was, there are so many places to play an A (for example) on a banjo that he spent the bulk of his time converting the Sibelius tab into playable tab from a fingering perspective...a massive endeavor, if you've ever heard that album...
    Chuck

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    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by CES View Post
    I read somewhere an interview with Bela Fleck regarding his transcriptions for his Perpetual Motion album (still one of my favorites)...after extensive thought about classical music that could stand out on a banjo (I know, I know, insert banjo joke here) he plugged the notation into Sibelius, I believe, and the program churned out banjo tab...problem was, there are so many places to play an A (for example) on a banjo that he spent the bulk of his time converting the Sibelius tab into playable tab from a fingering perspective...a massive endeavor, if you've ever heard that album...
    How smart can a computer be if a banjo player can outsmart it?

    Seriously, folks, when it comes to complexity like choosing comfortable fingering positions, recognizing faces, or transcribing music, computers have not caught up to the human brain, and it'll be down the road a coupla see's* before they do.

    *one see= as far down the road as you can see.

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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    I am having a really hard time imagining that Bela Fleck plays from tab. Wow.

    Maybe the full interview would clarify just what was really going on.

    Sounds more like he was trying to get a feel for patterns more than anything.

  14. #14
    Mano-a-Mando John McGann's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    Quote Originally Posted by Nate View Post
    I am having a really hard time imagining that Bela Fleck plays from tab. Wow.

    Maybe the full interview would clarify just what was really going on.

    Sounds more like he was trying to get a feel for patterns more than anything.
    All banjo jokes aside, the banjo (and guitar to a lesser extent) offer SO many variations for fingering; the banjo is complicated by that 5th string and how to get at those notes, since the thumb plays them in the lowest position...

    Some of the smartest musicians are banjo players- Bill Keith, Tony Trischka and Bela to name just a few.

    To play from tab on a banjo is not a putdown the way it 'could be' on instruments where reading notation is easier, you know, like fiddle

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    Mark Evans mandozilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: converting guitar tab to mandolin tab

    I started out my musical odessey, like many, as a guitar player. When I took up mandolin the first thing I did was to try play the same thing that I flatpicked on the guitar on the mandolin...mainly some fiddle tunes.

    I can't articulate why, but for some reason what I picked on the guiar didn't seem to translate well to the mandolin. I found it unsatisfying and so I gave that up.

    There wasn't a whole lot of mando TAB back then so I listened over and over to my vinyl and then played along, as best I could, until I got something together that worked for me.

    I fully agree with John McGann
    Casual players, too, might be surprised what they can do with their ears, instruments, slowdowner, and some stick-to-itiveness. One note at a time. When you get it, it is a great feeling, and worth the effort.
    Over time, it has become easier and easier to work up my own breaks to songs and instrumentals and it is indeed very satisfying. And it's fun to keep improving them as time goes by. They do indeed become 'your own'. The sense of accomplishment feels goooooood.


    Someday I will learn to read standard notation...I keep promising myself and I will do it one day!

    "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't wipe your friends off on your saddle."

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