Ultimate Guitar Archive, also known as Ultimate-Guitar.com or simply UG, is a large guitarist community website known for its large amount of guitar and bass tablature, reviews of music and equipment, interviews with notable musicians, online written and video lessons, and forums. It was started on October 9, 1998 by Eugeny Naidenov - a student of economic faculty of Kaliningrad State University, Russia.
UG is home of over 1,500,000 registered users. It is a strong community of forum users who frequent the site. Community members may also create guitar lessons, and have their approved works published on the website and read by its many users. Reviews of albums, DVDs, or gear and news articles can also be submitted by members.
Like the tabs, the lessons and column are also rated by users, which attributes towards UG Points (or rather number of contributions), your UG score also increases, or decreases as the members rate your contribution.
Although UG encourages participation, they also have a strict guideline and set of rules that all UG users must follow. Members must be over the age of 13 to use the services offered by the site and only one account is allowed to be made per person. Strong media is also prohibited from use on the site.
Members of the community often collaborate with fellow users to develop musical projects via the website's forums. While many of these projects are created by users for leisure, some community projects have been released as compilation albums. One of the most notable of these recent projects was the "Blues & Jazz Album II", which featured fourteen original tracks submitted by a number of community members, released for digital download with all profits going to Tipitina's Foundation. The project's community page can be found here, and the digital download is available on iTunes. There have been several other collaborative albums made by community members that are available for free download within the forums, including two electronic albums, a rock album and an acoustic album.
The Pit is the most popular and most active section of the Ultimate-Guitar.com forums. It is the part of the site where the registered UGers can discuss multiple topics, including those that do not necessarily have to do with guitar or even music. Many political, religious and topical issues are debated here.
Although The Pit is a miscellaneous section, certain standards are upheld. Account suspensions, bans, and closed threads are quite common.
On August 12, 2007, the Ultimate Guitar site launched "UG Profiles". This added another feature to UG that other tablature sites do not feature. UG Profiles can be used for networking, advertising gear, bands, and users' own MP3 recordings, in a similar way to other sites such as MySpace; unlike other networking sites, UG Profiles are focused on those who share the interest of guitar, or to a lesser extent, bass. Users are able to add profiles for each of their bands, upload pictures of themselves, as well as gear, display their "guitar skills", join groups of interest, and upload MP3's of that specific user's work.
In late 2004-2005, after taborama and mxtabs.net began closing due to legal threats from the Music Publishers Association of America, UG saw a surge of new users flock to the community. UG, which pays licensing fees to publishers, was unaffected by MPA legal actions. As stated in an article posted on the site, UG finds the MPA to be humorous (a satirical picture stating "When you download tabs from UG, you're downloading communism" was made in response to the MPA's warnings) and does not take their warning seriously, mainly because the site is based in Russia and is not affected by American laws. The site also pays royalties to show the tabs on their website.
On April 10, 2010, Ultimate Guitar entered a licensing agreement with Harry Fox Agency. The agreement included rights for lyrics display, title search and tablature display with download and print capabilities. HFA s over 44,000 represented publishers have the opportunity to opt-in to the licensing arrangement with UG.
Tabs may be requested in the Tab Talk forum.
Tabs can be voted from 1 star (the worst) to 5 (the best) stars, and comments can be made about the tab. Tabs of entire albums can also be submitted. Many tabs are often added daily by the community.
There are many different types of tablature files that can be submitted to Ultimate-Guitar. Files such as basic guitar tabs and bass tabs can be read from an Internet browser in ASCII format. Guitar Pro and Power Tab files are run through programs that can play the tablature and often include multiple instrument tabs. These files can be saved and opened on the user's computer.
Tabs are searchable by artist, album, or song name and there are often multiple tab versions of the same song.
The newest addition to Ultimate-Guitar is Ultimate-Guitar.tv. This is the section of the website with video content and it is in its beta stage. There are videos with interviews of guitar players, guitar lessons, Bass lessons, Songwriting lessons, as well as music videos all on U-G.tv.
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