Lovin’ the library

I found myself becoming incredibly frustrated by my guitar today, but it resolved itself in the most unexpected way.

I tried learning a few different songs but – as is so often the case with music notation posted online – no two people had interpreted the notes the same and rather than tabulate the music, all I was able to find was chord progressions.  This is not unusual and normally it doesn’t bug me but today I wanted to play some songs which I knew required picking and I couldn’t find the tab for them anywhere.

Eventually, I set the guitar down, lamenting that official tab books are too expensive and that I couldn’t just borrow them from a library.

Now there’s a thought…

It had never occured to me to think of books of sheet music as, well, books, but suddenly something clicked.

I remembered being told by a friend that every edition of every book currently in print in the UK is housed in the British Library.  I am not a member of the British Library, however, I do have library cards for Birmingham – first obtained when I was trying to find a cost effective way of reading Terry Pratchett’s back catelogue on the cheap – as well as both Halton and Liverpool, for when I’m visiting my parents. If they possess even a small percentage of what’s contained within the British Library, then surely they must have some books of guitar tab.

So, for the first time in many months, I brought up the site for birmingham libraries, typed “guitar tab” into the search bar and hit enter.

Found 1000 results under category Single Copy Playing Scores.

Well, that’ll do.

Obviously not every book is a hit.  I don’t think I shall be picking up a copy of Sting for Easy Guitar Tab for example.  But several of my favourite bands like Travis and The Who are well represented.

Searches in the Halton and Liverpool library systems yielded similar results, though no such luck for Vienna, which is a shame, but at least I have a wealth of tab to go through when I return home this September.

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