Guitar Song Search Engines

By Tim Gillespie

Keys Are The Sure Way To Build Songs!Uncle Tim's Book of Chords

Keys seem to be the hidden ingredient to playing a guitar. Once you know keys you can immediately start playing the chords in the key and constructing songs based on the chords in the key.

Triads are the simplest chords you can create and they flow up and down the fretboard providing easy access to any chord in any key with hardly any effort.

And when you are constructing a song, there is no better tool available anywhere. And the knowledge you get will set you free!

There is nothing like it and nothing that can make composing songs as easy as this. For $20, you can have a resource that will always show you all the choices for where you are working. Pick up a copy today.

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If you have not heard of it, you probably live in a cave without a dial up account. If you have visited this search engine, you probably can't live without it.

Of course I am talking about the OLGA search engine. This search engine has the potential to deliver 80% of all the songs you will ever try to play. Ok I made that number up, but when I query the database, that is about what I find. What does that mean to us? It means you can have access to a majority of songs you like in a few minutes. Not just access to the songs, but also to the tablature, chord charts and hints about the trickier parts of learning a song. And it gets tested by thousands of good guitarists over time.

Never before have we had this kind of access. You can talk to your band buddies in the afternoon (because they never wake up in the morning), decide on a few new songs and by that evening have lots of critical information about the song and a huge head start. You don't even have to go out and buy it. You don't even have to get in your car. You just go to your dial up and spend a few minutes, looking at the different versions available. Plus you can find songs you would never be able to find in a store rack.

Are there drawbacks? Of course there are drawbacks. For one, you have no idea if the transcripts are accurate, although they sure seem to be. If it is a new post or a song has avoided scrutiny, you may be downloading bad information. But probably not, most work has been downloaded at least a few times and guitarists have played through it and maybe even submitted corrections. Most of what I have seen, seems to be pretty accurate.

Another drawback for some is the annoying problem of copyright infringement. The large majority of work available through the search engine is copyrighted. That means the artist has protection under copyright laws, at least in the U.S. and certainly in some other countries. But what does that mean to us? For one, it poses an ethical dilemma. If you download this information, you are violating copyright laws. You are in a sense, stealing that intellectual property. In practical terms, that artist (who you no doubt like) does not get paid for that transaction. This is very similar to the Metallica / MP3 debacle, except in that example, the real product is being traded (music). This is a direct assault on the artist's revenue stream.

With the Olga search engine, it is a by-product generated from the original product. The original product is music, the by-product is the tablature which also will generate a revenue stream. In the Metallica / MP3 case, I heard a counterpoint that seems to have some validity. That claim goes like this. Hasn't the artist made enough money on the release of the song and isn't it fair that we are able to use this information too? The actual music can be figured out by ear if you take the time. This is just convenient. This point of view puts forth this concept. Be reasonable! All we want to do is play the song. You could get the same thing if you listened to the song but this is faster and easier. Besides I'm going to buy the CD anyway. At least, this is what occurred to me when I heard it. And it does make some sense.

You can take a harder line approach and say the artist alone has the right to determine what they give away and what they ask a price for. And I believe this is the trump card. This is the bottom line. It is up to the artist to do what they will with their property. But you can get the exact same information if you develop your ear and take the time to pick up music off the CD. But with this search engine, no money is exchanging hands for the trading of this information. The database seems to be from personal collections for the most part. I don't think it is illegal to learn a song, write down some notes and give them to your friend. So does it become illegal when you give it to them by way of the Internet? New medium, new questions.

But what about middle ground? Is there any? After all, this is an Internet related phenomena, why don't we just talk it out and come to some consensus. These "artists" have email addresses. How hard would it be to put up a web page, providing a forum specifically for this. We now have the ability to actually communicate without the outside intervention of a third party that facilitates the communication. We can communicate with each other, if we want. Do we care? The truth is some do and some don't.

But I have noticed one very upbeat trend in the companies and individuals I have done business with. Most people are honest! That is what I have seen. Most people pay their bills and try to make a positive impact in society. Most people do care. There is a small percentage of people that are mean spirited and they have a very loud voice for their proportion in society. But I have found that most people really do want to do the right thing. And I believe that applies to this discussion too.

That said, I confess to perusing the database from time to time. Like I said, you can find stuff there you can't find anywhere else. This truly is an amazing resource and one of the best examples of what the Internet can really serve up. So what do we do? Do we set up a royalty system and send the artist payments? Do we turn it into a commercial enterprise? And what about the people that take the time to tab it out and send it in? Do they get paid? Do they get sued? Do they care what happens? Do we shut down this resource until we can handle it? That is currently being tried. But this information probably already has legs and will show up somewhere else if it is shut down.

One of the problems is, nobody is rushing to fill the gap with an alternate product. It has been widely speculated that if the music industry came up with a licensing method, MP3 would have never become entrenched. Can the same be said here? If we had a method of getting what we want and paying our fair share, would we? Is it too late for this discussion? I really don't think anyone has the proper solution for this. The solution that we would actually implement and stick to! So now what?

Do you use these search engines? Is the OLGA the best thing for finding songs? Is it a copyright violation in your opinion? What do you think? Send us your comments, next month we will see what everyone else thinks.

Here is a partial list of sites that offer tablature. You can see this is probably not going away any time soon! Do you know of others? Let us know about the site. There are a few others that were not checked out in time or had problems. Maybe we can update this as we go.

Notice: The search engines are once again under the threat of legal action. Action that in my opinion is not in the best interests of guitar players, but rather self serving. Don't believe all the crap about making this better for all of us. This is about control and starting a revenue stream for something that is now free. Some of these sites go down from time to time and some may eventually just go away. And that is too bad!