Colour coding the tabs

My eyesight keeps failing me when I have to read tabs (and I don’t like to wear glasses when I’m playing as I feel they get in the way)

It’s often the little -s that I have trouble seeing, so I thought to try and colour code the tabs, so blows and draws get different colours

I’m currently learning to play ‘Stand By Your Man’ by Tammy Wynette, so I used the tabs for this experiment (some of the tabs are not how I would play it, so never mind that)

Anyone else with bad eyesight, how do you read tabs?


Love this technique for showing the tabs, the differentiated colora for blows and draws makes a lot of sende to me but had nevwr considered it!


Thanks Bobby, and yeah it came to me in a moment of desperation :slight_smile:

I will do it with other songs I learn, including this one as I need to change some of the tabs


Hello @Vibe,
I know the eye problem. Reading glasses, of course, and due to my comorbidity, sometimes strong double vision. I can’t compensate for that with glasses, and it’s a big problem when reading closer.
Regardless of that, I don’t like glasses when playing either.
I like your system! I write down all the tabs by hand, big enough. I mark the - signs with a neon-colored marker, + only the numbers and the signs ’ and " are strong and big enough.
Writing it down separately also serves as a learning mode and once you have found a system for yourself, the song is easier to remember than if I only play from videos or PDF.
Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Hi Astrid :slight_smile:

Writing down tabs by hands sounds like a great idea, I do that sometimes too, and I like your idea of marking the draw notes

and I can see how writing the notes would make them easier to learn, I remember writing everything down in school because I am bad at taking notes, but it helped me remember better


You are so right, @Vibe ! By manually writing something down (like tabs) you actually practice and use your mental capacity as well as your muscular system to reinforce the material to be learned. I did the same in school (before internet & cell phones) to learn my material. In fact I even wrote the notes out a 2nd time to not only improve them but to better remember the stuff.

Let’s face it: you need to work in order to improve. Or (to say it another way) you only get what you pay for.

– Slim


So, would this be a harmonica hack, or a tab hack?


Wow! Great idea! Just had surgery on left eye so depth perception is gone right now. But colors cha ching! I have a bunch of colored markers! Fantastic idea!!!


I would say it is both – and also a “learning hack”. :notes:


Hi Slim :slight_smile:
That’s a cool fact to know, and yes it definitely helped me in school too

I might start writing down notes an extra time too, that sounds like a great idea :slight_smile:


I agree with @Slim that it would be both, I put it in technique since that’s where I thought it would fit best


Glad you like it :slight_smile:


Good idea. Most of the time I read tabs from my laptop and have to zoom in to make the font bigger so I can make out each note/tab!


I’ve played in bands for around 35 years (just beginning on harp though), and in my opinion, nothing will serve you better than a permanent marker, A4 paper, and a folder with clear sleeves.

On stage, my paperwork will be at my feet, so I need to be able to read with a quick a glance down, and the thick black notations on white copy paper make that possible.
I only use notes when a song is new to me, so I make my own ‘cheat sheets’, it might be the first and last words of each verse, and notes like ‘riff X 3’, or the chord progressions and runs/licks if I’m learning the bass or guitar parts too. Not written as music, more like the tabs you show really, so I think this would work for you.

Adding colour to indicate draw or blow is a great idea, something I’ll be doing with what I write out for harmonica for sure!

Thanks for the idea! :slightly_smiling_face::+1: