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Start simple.  You can find tons of tab online.  Checkout Tab Crawler or Beaver Tabs.
Learn the hand positions / chords / root note changes.  Learn the song in your head.

Play along with the music. 

Slow it down.   Use software to slow it down.  This helps you hear the nuances of the song.

Improvise new parts.

Tab theory

Most people follow this path.
It teaches you technique and gives you ideas.  

Tab's teach you:
Timing,
Arrangement,
Rhythm,                  
Listening  
Singing and playing
Chords

All music involves “rhythm, melody and harmony.  Those are the basics…It doesn’t matter if students play classical, rock, jazz or country…Students can build up their motor skills very nicely by playing any of that stuff.  They don’t have to learn scales out of context.”       -Howard Roberts

It's a problem if:  
It's all you ever do.  
You sound like some other guy.  
You copy without wondering what they were thinking or feeling.  
This can hurt your personal style.

Hearing music influences you.
Playing music strongly influences you.

I don't play anyone else's music.  I'd be better if I did.  

Tab as inspiration

Change anything:
The rhythm.
The key signature.
The order of the sections.
Play it faster or slower.
Add a part.
Change any notes.
Use the chord progression. 

Use the tabs to write a song.  

Learn the chord shapes

Every riff or chord had an easy hand position.  
Figure it out.    

The student should pick up the guitar when they “know where to put their fingers…Having the instrument in hand can be quite a distraction when learning.”       -Howard Roberts

When musicians “have trouble executing a passage they…blame their hands…or they blame themselves.”  Actually “they don’t know where their fingers are supposed to go.”      -Howard Roberts

Learn in sections

The student should “learn in very small specific sections and then hook them together.   If you have a hundred notes to learn the mistake factor is high…  If you have only one note to learn you virtually eliminate any possibility of mistakes.  Then you, not the material, are in control.”     -Howard Roberts

"People can learn how to read music before they learn how to play it well.  And it should be music they enjoy.”       -Howard Roberts




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