Information

About the Tab Crypt

Disclaimer: This site has always accepted submissions from anyone who wants to contribute. In the past weíve had people help with the rhythms and submit solos or bass tabs, even drum and keyboard tabs.

3 years ago I took it upon myself to go through every single song and check the rhythms one last time. Over the past 10+ years of transcribing [not to mention going over these songs at least 4 times each already] Iíve finally reached the point where I feel I can pick up just about everything. I found many mistakes (some small, some big) and now I feel all these rhythms are as good as possible, 99% accurate. Then I went through and put all these rhythms into Powertab and Guitar Pro 6.

Now Rami and I are in the process of adding solos/bass/drums/keys/etc to the tabs. The reason Iím stating this is because right now youíll see albums with text tabs but not necessarily the Guitar Pro tabs. You may also see solos in the text tab but no Powertab for that song. Those are examples of things that still need to be checked by myself or Rami before we can ďfinalizeĒ them. So the basic things to remember are:

  1. All rhythms are finished and as accurate as we could make them.
  2. If you see a Powertab then the solos are also finished and as accurate as we could make them.
  3. If you see a Guitar Pro file then at least the bass and drums are finished in addition to everything else, possibly the keys and/or vocals as well.

Lastly, I have to mention something about the Powertabs and Guitar Pro files. When I write the Powertabs I try to make them as accurate as possible for NOTATION, not playback. Powertab has many bugs, especially with grace notes and tremolo bar stuff, so you may notice some playbacks donít sound quite right. Powertab is written for notation and that is what the PDF files are created from.

However, the Guitar Pro files are created for PLAYBACK, not necessarily notation. We still try to make the score look as nice as possible but there are times where things such as a long slide will not sound right if you write it correctly for notation, so we alter it so it sounds good for playback.

So just keep that in mind while youíre using these files. Powertabs = notation accuracy, Guitar Pro = playback accuracy.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we do this for free and for fun so itís always nice to hear from people who enjoy all our hard work. I myself have been working on Mercyful Fate/King Diamond for 12 years now [started in Ď99] so itís been quite a project.

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History of The Tab Crypt by Russ Elton

I started playing guitar in June 1999. I tried to find Mercyful Fate/King Diamond tabs but there werenít a whole lot out there. In December 1999, with my new plug-in for Winamp that let me slow songs down, I decided to try and figure them out myself and create a site to host them. I believe I started with the ď9Ē album and had a few songs done when I received an email from Thomasz Lange. He told me he already started a site and was trying to do the same thing as myself for the same reasons. We teamed up and agreed to use his site and the Tab Crypt was born.

Now in the following 10 years I would grow as a transcriber. Iím a self-taught guitarist and learned everything the hard way. For example, when I started tabbing I only knew powerchords. I had no idea what thirds were, or any other chord that wasnít a powerchord, so obviously those first tabs I wrote were pretty bad. But with Thomaszís help I learned a lot and together we wrote a lot of the first drafts of all the songs on the Tab Crypt.

I donít remember when exactly but pretty early on we had a lot of help from another person, Mika Ristiranta. We knew he could help out because Thomasz and I avoided ďLurking in the DarkĒ, whether on purpose or not I donít remember, but it was a harder song to hear. Mika sent us the tab, it sounded great, and we immediately asked if heíd help out some more.

So over the next few years we all worked on the tabs, adding solos, editing and fixing mistakes, etc. I would go a few years and realize I was hearing things a lot better so I would go over old tabs and realize we made mistakes. This same thing would happen probably 3-4 times over 10 years until today I finally believe Iím good enough to catch everything the first time, but of course small mistakes can still happen.

Around 2005 or so Thomasz and Mika got busy with other things and stopped working on the Tab Crypt as much. I kept on listening and fixing things and was also working on other tab sites at the time, such as Megadeth and Iced Earth. Over the remaining years I havenít heard anything from either Thomasz or Mika but their work is definitely a big reason the Tab Crypt is around and as accurate as it is today.

But I wouldnít be working on the Tab Crypt alone as it turns out. Sometime around 2006, Rami Nuotio entered the picture. Now I have to say, over the years weíve gotten many submissions for solos/bass/drums/keys and some of them are pretty accurate and some of them are pretty bad. Rami started submitting solos and they were accurate! He also started working on MIDI files, doing bass and drums and a new partnership was formed.

Today Rami is actually the driving force of the Tab Crypt. He will go through and do all the bass and drums and figure out all the notes and timing of the solos. Then I have the job of polishing up his solos drafts and fixing the positions. Rami definitely does more work than I do since he is responsible for everything whereas I just work on rhythm guitars and solos.

So thatís the history of the Tab Crypt. Itís a VERY hard job to transcribe a bandís entire catalog, especially when songs are as progressive and as complicated as Mercyful Fate and King Diamond. Then you throw in the fact that youíre dealing with 20+ albums and itís amazing weíve gotten this far. I canít wait until the day when I can look at any song and know all the parts are finished.

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How to read tablature

First of all, a guitar tab is form of notation that documents the notes of a song. It shows which strings to hit, and where to fret the strings. However, there is NO exact indication for the timing of each note. The notes are usually spaced out to loosely represent each notes timing, but a knowledge of the songs rhythm beforehand is pretty much required.

This is the way the guitar strings are represented in tablature notation:

e|-----------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------------|
D|-----------------------------------|
A|-----------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------|

The top string is the high "e" string which, if you have the guitar in playing position, is the furthest away from your body. So if you were to lay the guitar down on your lap and look at it from a bird eye's view, the strings will line up with the tab perfectly. The string closest to you is the low "E" and the string furthest away is the high "e". The high 'e' is called string 1, the B is string 2, and so on.

The numbers on the tab represent which fret is to be used on each string. So in the following example, you would fret the 2nd fret on the A string:

e|-----|
B|-----|
G|-----|
D|-----|
A|--2--|
E|-----|

Numbers are spaced left to right, so three notes played in a row would look like:

e|-----------|
B|-----------|
G|-----------|
D|-----------|
A|--2--3--4--|
E|-----------|

So in the above example, you'd fret the A string on the 2nd fret, hit that note, then fret the 3rd fret, hit that note, then fret the 4th fret, hit that note.

If a zero is shown on the tab, that means you don't fret anything and just strike the string, called an open note.

e|--------|
B|--------|
G|--------|
D|--------|
A|--0--0--|
E|--------|

So the above would have you just strike the A string twice without fretting anything.

If numbers are lined up in the same vertical line, that means you play them together. So in the following example, you'd fret both the A string AND the D string on the 2nd fret, and hit both strings at the same time:

e|-----|
B|-----|
G|-----|
D|--2--|
A|--2--|
E|-----|

Strumming chords will either look like that, or they can be shown in a different way. Here are two ways to show an E minor chord strummed:

e|--0--|
B|--0--|
G|--0--|
D|--2--|
A|--2--|
E|--0--|
e|------0-|
B|-----0--|
G|----0---|
D|---2----|
A|--2-----|
E|-0------|

The first one would be strumming all the strings at once, at least, as close as possible. The second one would most likely represent a slower strum, but the notes would still be very close together. As you can see, this is a perfect example of where knowing the songs rhythm is necessary.

One more example of how tabs can somewhat show timing. In the following example, the notes will gradually get faster:

e|--------------------------------------------|
B|--------------------------------------------|
G|--------------------------------------------|
D|--------------------------------------------|
A|--------------------------------------------|
E|-0----0----0--0--0--0--000-0-000-0-00000000-|

You'll notice that towards the end, the space between notes is zero. This can become confusing sometimes though, as in the following example:

e|-----------------------------------|
B|-----------------------------------|
G|-----------------------------------|
D|-1111-11-1111-11-1111-11-----------|
A|-----------------------------------|
E|-----------------------------------|

We don't know if that means to hit the '1' fret four times, then pause, then hit the '1' fret two more times, then pause, etc, OR if it means to hit the '11' fret twice really fast, then pause, hit the '11' fret once, then pause, etc. It could even be a combination of those two.

Usually you'll be able to tell which way is right by what other notes are around it, or by knowing the songs rhythm. However for the tabs on this site, to eliminate ambiguity, if a double-digit fret is hit more than once very rapidly, there will always be at least one space inbetween them. So in the above example, you would know it must be the '1' fret being used.

Similarly, single-digit frets will always have a space inbetween them unless it is the same note being played. So in the following example:

e|---------------|
B|---------------|
G|---------------|
D|--23-23-23-23--|
A|---------------|
E|---------------|

That means the 23rd fret is being hit 4 times, not the 2nd and 3rd fret back to back 4 times.

Now on to the specific details. The following notations change depending on who is writing the tabs, but once you know one system, you should be comfortable with them all. The following is the system this site has adopted and a notation key can be found at the end of each tab for reference.

Notation:

  1. Palm muting

    Palm muting is when you rest your picking hand on the strings just enough to prevent it from ringing. Different amounts of pressure will produce different sounding mutes, but that's the basic idea. You rest the side/edge of your palm on the strings to prevent ringing. In metal, you also use this to create the crunch sound. Palm mutes are noted as follows:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-----------------|
    A|-----3-3-----5-5-|
    E|-2-2-----2-2-----|
       * * * * * *
  2. Fret-hand muting

    This is done by lightly resting your fret hand across the strings so you're touching them, but not pushing down on them, then striking the strings like normal. Instead of notes, you'll get a "rake" sound, and when combined with a mute from your picking hand (as described above), you'll get a thick sounding rake (i.e. the intro to Megadeth's Train of Consequences).

    Be careful where you rest your fret hand when doing these though, as some places will produce a harmonic instead (harmonics are discussed later). Here's the notation:

    e|-------------|
    B|-------------|
    G|-------------|
    D|-------------|
    A|-x-x-2-2-x-x-|
    E|-x-x-0-0-x-x-|

    Usually you just "feel" for how many strings to strike when you mute with your fret hand. The tabs on this site will only show two 'x's to represent all mutes that involve two or more strings. But really, just use whichever sounds best to you, you usually just strum the strings and don't care how many you're hitting. However, if only one 'x' is present, then only mute and strike that string, as in the following example:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-5-6-7-x---------|
    D|---------5-6-7---|
    A|---------------x-|
    E|-----------------|
  3. Bending

    Bending a note is represented as follows:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|---2b4---------|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    That would mean you hit the note on the 2nd fret, then bend the string until the note reaches the same pitch as the note found at the 4th fret. There are different types of bends, probably the most popular are:

    A half-step bend is when you bend the note up a fret, such as:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|------4b5------|
    D|-2b3-----------|
    A|-----------6b7-|
    E|---------------|

    A full-step bend is when you bend the note up two frets, such as:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|------4b6------|
    D|-2b4-----------|
    A|-----------6b8-|
    E|---------------|

    A quarter-step bend is a small bend that only goes up half a fret. Instead of using the same pattern and noting quarter-step bends like this:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|---------------|
    D|--2b2.5--------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    We've decided to just use this notation:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|---------------|
    D|--2^-----------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    If you are to bend a note, then release the bend back down to the original note, it will be noted as follows:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|---------------|
    D|---2b4r2-------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    So after bending it and reaching the 4th fret note, you slowly let the string go back to the original note. A note isn't always released to its original position however, so you may see this:

    e|---------------|
    B|-19b22r20------|
    G|---------------|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    Sometimes a bend is supposed to be held for a long time before it is released. Tablature doesn't accurately represent timing remember, but to help you out, we try to help out by using this notation:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-19b21---(21)r19-|
    D|-----------------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    The note in parenthesis ALWAYS represents the actual NOTE being played, NOT the fret. So the above means that you do the bend from the 19th fret, then later you'll still have that 21-fret note ringing, so now it's time to release it. The note in parenthesis is called a ghost note because you don't actually hit it, it was produced by a previous action.

    While on the subject of ghost notes, you may see them in other places but always remember that they just represent a note that you'll hear, they don't represent a fret to play. So in the following:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------------|
    G|---------5-----|
    D|---7----(7)----|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    That just tells you that the sound of the 7th fret note should still be ringing when you hit the next note, the 5th fret note. You NEVER pick a ghost note.

    Back to bending, sometimes a note requires you to bend the string first, THEN hit the string. These are called pre-bends, and are noted as follows:

    e|---------------|
    B|-[17]19r17-----|
    G|---------------|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    This means you start at the 17th fret, bend it the proper amount so that it will ring out the same note as the 19th fret, THEN strike the string, then release the string back to the 17th fret note.

    If you ever see a note surrounded by curled brackets, like:

    e|---------------|
    B|---------{15}--|
    G|--12b14--------|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    That means you are supposed to hit that note while holding the previous bend. We could have used a ghost note and notated this as:

    e|---------------|
    B|----------15---|
    G|--12b14--(14)--|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    But sometimes the note to be struck during the bend is on the same string as the bend, so it wouldn't be possible to use that notation. So the curley brackets will be used instead.

    Unison bends you should be able to figure out after knowing all the above, but just to clarify:

    e|---------------|
    B|--10-----------|
    G|--12b14--------|
    D|---------------|
    A|---------------|
    E|---------------|

    The above example means you hit the 10th fret and 12th fret at the same time, but then while holding the note on the B string, you bend the G string.

    The last thing to discuss about bends are bends done by use of the tremolo bar, or more popular labeled, the whammy bar. These bends will be noted with a '*' symbol following the bend, so:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|--12b15*---------|
    D|----------14d10*-|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    The above represents a whammy bar bend and a whammy bar release, usually called a dive which is why a 'd' is used instead of the normal 'r'.

  4. Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

    A hammer-on is when you strike a note, then push another finger down on another fret to produce another note. So essentially, you get two notes for one pick. So in the following example:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-5h7--7h9--5h6h7-|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    You only pick the D string 3 times in that example, the other notes are made by pushing another finger down on that fret hard enough to make it ring. You can use whichever finger(s) is(are) most comfortable.

    Pull-offs are the opposite of hammer-ons. You strike a note, then rip your finger off of that fret to produce a note that another finger is already fretting. So for example:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|---9p7-----------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    You would have your fingers fretting the 7 and the 9 on the D string. You strike the D string, producing the note of the 9th fret. Then you "rip" your finger off, leaving the finger that is fretting the 7 on there. This will you give the 7th fret note "for free". When you rip your finger off, try pulling it off the string at an angle until you get the hang of it. And just like hammer-ons, there can be multiple notes in a pull-off too, like:

    e|--------------------|
    B|--------------------|
    G|-12p11p10p9--10p9p0-|
    D|--------------------|
    A|--------------------|
    E|--------------------|

    Two strikes of the G string is all that's required for the above example. All you do is keep ripping your fingers off until reach the last note. To bring up the ghost note again, if you see this:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-10p9----(9)p7---|
    D|-----------------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    That is still only one pick. You pick the 10th fret, pull off to the 9th fret, then you hold that note for awhile, then pull off again to the 7th fret.

  5. Slides

    Slides are similar to hammer-ons and pull-offs in that they let you combine notes in a very fluid manner. To slide, all you do is hit a note, then while it's still ringing you slide your finger that was fretting that note to the next fret shown on the tab. So in the following example:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-----------------|
    A|-2/5--5/7--7\3---|
    E|-----------------|

    You strike the 2nd fret, then slide up to the 5th fret...two notes for one pick. Do the same for the next slide, then the final slide is a slide down. Same procedure, you just go down the fretboard instead. If there is a space between slides, as in the above example, that means you pick the beginning of each one. If there are two or more slide notations in a row, that means you stop at each fret number, but don't strike the string again, just go to the next fret. So in the following:

    e|-----------------------------|
    B|-----------------------------|
    G|-----------------------------|
    D|-----4/5-5/7/8\-5\4-5\4-5/7--|
    A|-3/5-------------------------|
    E|-----------------------------|

    There are six pick strikes in the above example. The third slide is just striking the 5th fret, sliding to the 7th fret, pausing for a brief second, then continuing on to the 8th fret, pausing for a brief second, then sliding down to the 5th fret for the next slide.

    If you ever see a slide notation and no number preceding or trailing it, like this:

    e|------------------|
    B|------------------|
    G|------------------|
    D|-----5-6-7--------|
    A|-5\------------/7-|
    E|-------------0----|

    The first one doesn't tell you where to stop the slide. This means it's pretty much up to you when to stop it, it is a "feel" technique. You usually only slide for a few frets though, then stop and continue on, but it depends on the song. For the second slide, it doesn't tell you where to begin the slide. So again, just feel for where to start the slide, although it typically happens a few frets before the note shown.

  6. Vibrato

    Vibrato is just vibrating the string rapidly after hitting a note. The speed of the vibrato can only be determined by listening to the song, although the length of the vibrato notation can be used to estimate how long each one lasts, like this:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-5~--5~--5~~~~---|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    The third note's vibrato lasts longer than the first two.

    If the whammy bar is used to vibrate a note, a '*' symbol will be attached to the vibrato symbol, like this:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|--5~*------------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|
  7. Tremolo picking

    Tremolo picking is when you pick a note very rapidly. Because it is hard to count the number of times a note is struck during tremolo picking, it is respresented as follows:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|--3tm--5tm-------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    So you just pick the 3rd fret very rapidly, then when the song requires you to, you change to the 5th fret and pick that very rapidly.

  8. Trill

    Trills are a series of very rapid hammer-ons and pull-offs. Similar to the tremolo picking, instead of counting how many times the notes are played, we just use a simple notation. So instead of this:

    e|-----------------------------|
    B|-----------------------------|
    G|-----------------------------|
    D|-5h7p5h7p5h7p5h7p5h7p5...etc-|
    A|-----------------------------|
    E|-----------------------------|

    The following shorthand will be used:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|--5tr7-----------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|
  9. Pick slide:

    Pick slide is when you take the edge of your pick and run it along a string (usually the low 'E' string) to produce a scratchy rough noise. You have to experiment with speed, location, and duration of the slides in order to get the desired sound. Pick slides are shown as follows:

    e|-------------|
    B|-------------|
    G|-------------|
    D|-------------|
    A|-------------|
    E|-5-6-7--X\\--|
  10. Harmonics

    There are 3 types of harmonics: Natural, artificial (or pinch), and touch.

    Natural harmonics are made by lightly placing your finger over a certain part of the string and stricking it. You don't fret the string, you don't even really touch it, you just lightly graze it with your finger. Some spots will produce dead sounds, but certain places will produce crisp high notes. Some of these places are right above the 5th and 12th frets. If a note is to be played as a natural harmonic, it will look like this:

    e|------------------|
    B|----12------------|
    G|----h.------------|
    D|-5-----5----------|
    A|-h.----h.---------|
    E|----------12------|
                h.

    So you lightly place your finger directly above the 5th fret bar on the D string on the fret board, then strike the string. After the note is made, you can take your finger away and the note should still sound. Repeat this procedure for the next 3 notes.

    Artificial, or pinch, harmonics can be done anywhere on any strings. These harmonics are harder than the natural ones and usually require a lot of practice. It's hard to describe how to do them, and there are even different ways to do them, but maybe the most popular way is like this:

    After you fret a note, choke up on the pick so that just a little bit is showing. Then when you strike the string, try and make the edge of your thumb just graze the string RIGHT after the pick strikes it, so it's almost as one motion. The result will be a higher pitched sound than normal. When combined with vibrato, you'll get those squeals that are characteristic of metal guitarists such as Dimebag Darrell from Pantera or Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society.

    Once you can hear it and know what these pinch harmonics are, experiment until you find a way to do them that is easy and comfortable for YOU. For beginners, try using the G string around the 7th or 9th fret to make a pinch harmonic. You'll know if it worked because the note will be very high pitched. Once you get the hang of it, try it on the low E.

    Here is how artificial harmonics will be labeled:

    e|------------------|
    B|------------------|
    G|------------------|
    D|------------------|
    A|------5~-------2--|
    E|--3~--a---3-2--0--|
        a       a a

    The last type of harmonic is the touch harmonic. These are similar to natural harmonics except you have a note already ringing before you do them. You strike a note on some string, then while the note is still ringing, you lightly touch that string somewhere else to produce a higher pitched note. These are represented as follows:

    e|-----------------|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-7------<12>-----|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|
  11. Finger tapping

    Finger tapping is essentially using your finger to pick a note rather than your pick. It's usually combined with pull-offs or hammer-ons to create a very fluid sounding chain of notes. To finger tap, you usually fret a certain note, then using a finger from your picking hand, you slam it down on a fret higher up than the one that was already fretted. So in the following example:

    e|--12t8--|
    B|--------|
    G|--------|
    D|--------|
    A|--------|
    E|--------|

    You would fret the 8th fret like normal, then use a finger from your picking hand and slam it down on the 12th fret, then rip it off. The result is a form of pull-off, except your finger picked the string, not the pick.

    Usually you will see finger tapping in one of these forms:

    e|-12t8p5-13t5h8---|
    B|-----------------|
    G|-----------------|
    D|-----------------|
    A|-----------------|
    E|-----------------|

    The first tap is the same as the previous example except after ripping your finger off the 12th fret, you rip your other finger off of the 8th fret. The second tap is just using a hammer-on instead of a pull-off after tapping the string.

    You can tap the string with your index or middle finger, but using your middle finger allows you to keep the pick in your hand as you would normally hold it. So it may be easier to go right back to using the pick after tapping if you use your middle finger.

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Tools for Transcribing

Guitar Pro 6 (www.guitar-pro.com) by Arobas Music Inc. is a tablature editor software for guitar, bass, and other fretted instruments.

Powertab Editor (www.power-tab.net) by Brad Larsen is a free tablature editor software for guitar and bass.

Transcribe! by Seventh String Software (www.seventhstring.com) is a software to help transcribe recorded music featuring

  • Channel mixing (mono, stereo, separate left and right channel or phase-reverse "karaoke" which is in most cases useful getting rid of the vocal track!)
  • Powerful equalizer
  • Speed (usually slowing down without affecting pitch)
  • Tuning (shifting audio pitch without affecting speed)
  • Markers for Sections and Measures with optional automatic beat markers
  • Spectrum to recognize notes, Piano keys reference, Chord Analyzer, Tempo calculation and more...

The Amazing Slow Downer (http://www.ronimusic.com) is a slowdown program with tuning options.

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