If you’ve searched around online much, you are aware that there are ads galore that promise free music, guitar tabs, lyrics and/or chords. Unfortunately, in many cases these items are not free at all. However, you can often find at least the lyrics and the chords for a song you want to learn by doing an online search. For songs with familiar lead guitar parts, you’re likely to be able to find those parts diagrammed in the form of guitar tablature, too.
Some of the sites that promise you the moon turn out to require a fee for joining. If you will be accessing their information frequently, it may make sense to pay the fee and become a full member. If you are on a tight budget, however, there are other options.
Because of copyright restrictions, it is common to find lyrics posted at one site and the chords or tab posted at another. It’s harder to find the two together in a convenient form. Don’t despair, however, because you can put the two together yourself by using your computer, and develop your own written copy of the song you need. (Again, because of copyrights, the copy you make must not be reproduced and sold!)
To do this, open up the word processing program of your computer, and type the lyrics (or copy and paste them) using the font called “Courier New.” This font has a typewriter look to it. The unique feature of Courier New is that you can add the chords above the words and line them up exactly where you want them. When you get the words typed out, go back and triple space the lines. In the blank line just above each line of lyrics, use your arrow buttons to position your cursor right above the place you need to insert the chord name.
The # sign on the number 3 key can be used if you need to denote a sharp. Flats are a little harder to denote. Does Ab7 look like A-flat 7th to you? If so, you can experiment with using a lower case b to indicate a flat, or you can simply type out the word “flat.”
If the song you want to learn is fairly well known, chances are you can find the tablature and chords on one of the massive guitar tab sites. Some of these sites allow users to contribute their own versions of the songs, which may in turn be rated by other users. Some of these contributions are excellent, while others are less useful. The ratings can help you avoid wasting time tracking down a tab or chord progression only to find that it isn’t right at all.
While the internet is a great source for any kind of information, don’t overlook the possibility of finding that guitar sheet music you want in a second hand store. You might find a book of popular songs for a very small price if you shop thrift shops or garage sales.