Tablature, or Tab for short, has been a mixed blessing and a curse. The real benefit of tab is getting some insight into where a guitar player played a theme or a riff. If tab actually provided a fingering, it would serve a reasonably good purpose. However, tab just shows string and fret. Typically, it has no way to show rhythm so if you don’t know the tune or have a copy of a particular recording, you’re out of luck again.
Tab to me represents the insatiable desire to take short cuts. It is fundamentally the only instrument that indulges in such “short cuts”. It makes more sense to me in the Blues and Rock genre than it does in the Jazz genre. Blues in particular utilizes patterns and “boxes” to approach solos.
Being a mechanical technique, tab can be helpful. As your knowledge increases and you begin to look at the complexities of jazz scales, harmonies and structures, the simplistic techniques of boxes and mechanics fade.
To get at the jazz guitar, you need to approach music as an art of creativity not as a science of reproduction. At one time, before good jazz guitar teachers were available, copying was the only way to learn.
At this point, the art and science of jazz guitar education has come a long way. Even Wes Montgomery told me that he would have given his right leg for a jazz guitar teacher – but there weren’t any. That’s all changed now.
Serious jazz guitar education is not old. It really didn’t begin to develop much before the early 60s. There were pioneers like Dennis Sandole and Joe Sgro in Philadelphia before that but it wasn’t particularly wide spread.nI began to teach the jazz guitar in 1963 so I’ve been around and active for a good part of this developmental period. It has always been and still is, a fascinating subject to research and to teach