st. stephen, i am also so very grateful for tabs. when i first started playing i only knew chords and i really wanted to learn how to play some awesome little melody riffs or what not. other than open position the fretboard was a very dark and vast mystery to me. tabs made it so that i didnt have to know any theory but could find the place on the guitar to play some pretty interesting stuff. little lines that when i figured them out, i would be like old man said "wow, i can actually learn this stuff, i can kinda play guitar!".
that being said, i dont really like sitting down with tabs these days cuz i like to make up my own stuff or try to figure it out by ear. i really should learn some classics, i spend a lot of time just improvising, trying to put together chord melodies and stuff like that. which i think is good for developing my ear but i should learn some classic riffs as well. it def. would not hurt and my playing would sound less abstract and be more easily relatable to people listening.
more close to the topic of the thread, playing along with grateful dead recordings has been one of the best ear/hand/brain trainers for me. scales just fit so nicely into the music, they generally tend to stay inside the theoretical rules of music and when they stray way your ear tells you and its cool and you are like wow, these guys are not from this planet. but yeah, good post, OMD, i think about this concept/idea a lot. the grateful dead may not physically be togther, but they are probably my favorite teachers. of course my "band" members are pretty big influences, and my own experiences and sounds that i have heard in my life are guiding me as well.
i think we can all relate to this one cuz we all love the grateful dead on this forum. to anyone learning to play guitar i always reccomend learning the songs that you love to hear played on recordings and going from there.
a whole new gameball