Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Practicing with the TEF files

I didn’t want to highjack another thread so I figured I would start a new one.

I was inspired by this: comment from @5stringpreacher in the backwards roll lesson thread to finally look at these tef files I keep seeing so much about. Let me just say, if you are like I was, and just ignored these files thinking the video and the pdf was enough, please stop right now, go to the lesson you are currently working on, and download the tef file.

I am very new to the banjo and have been working on the forward roll study when time permitted for me to practice and was noticing my tempo was becoming quite uneven and instead of picking good even eighth notes, my picking was starting to develop a bit of a gallop to it. I popped open the tef file and started to play along with it and almost instantly began to smooth out my rhythm and maintain a much more even tempo.

I had tried playing along with the mp3 tracks the other day and had a hard time finding the groove even at the slowest speed and figured I just wasn’t ready to play it that fast yet. After trying the trick mentioned earlier to slowly ramp up the speed I found out that I can actually play along relatively well at about 100bpm and don’t completely fall apart until around 110bpm. This was a huge boost to my confidence and helped show me that I was progressing a little better than I had initially thought.

So, long story short, thank you @BanjoBen for including the tef files with your lessons, thank you @5stringpreacher for sharing your tempo trick with the player, and if you are not currently using these tef files, do yourself a favor and download them, they are an awesome tool!


Those TEF files are fantastic! Like you, I ignored them for a while, but they’ve become my primary learning tool.

I signed up for a lesson on another site recently. It came with PDF tab files. It was then I realized how spoiled Ben has made me.


I’ve never used TEF tab, so after your conversation i went to see what it was. When i opened file it said i couldn’t get it because it was not a supported file or it was damaged. Tried a couple lessons kept getting same result. I’m using google chrome on laptop.

Excellent post Matt

Glad you found the magic bullet and finding it a valuable learning tool

I created this post a while back to encourage new members to check out TablEdit/TefView as an aid to learning to play your chosen instrument.

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Hi Mike

You need to download TefVeiw or TablEdit and install it on your device before you can open these files.

You will find the software here

Sounds like you don’t have the app installed. Check out Archie’s post above. It should help.

OK, downloaded tef view but it still goes to adobe acrobat and says same thing. Tef view is on my desktop now. what am i doing wrong?

You may have previously set Adobe as the default program for .tef files, which is why Adobe is the program that opens. Go the file where you have it saved and right click, then venture down to where it says “open with” and see if you can’t click on it to open with TefView.


Or you could open TefView and click File > Open and select the file from that avenue as well.

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@5stringpreacher is right on the money. If you still need help after trying his suggestions, let me know. We can do a remote session and I’ll get it going for you.

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I can’t get over how great this community is. Someone presents a problem they are having and the members jump in to try to remedy it immediately. Awesome job guys!

@lonewolf223 have you had any luck getting the tef files to associate with TefView instead of adobe reader? Changing the default program to open a file can be a bit tricky if you’ve never had to deal with it, but I’m sure we can get you through it.

Another method if you are still having trouble and are on a windows based laptop is to right-click on the file and select “Properties”.
In the window that opens look for the section that says the type of file and “open with”. You should also see a “change” button here that you will need to click.
The next window will be a little different depending on your version of windows, but you should be presented with a list of programs. If TefView is not listed you should see an option to browse for more programs. Click that and navigate to where you installed TefView. The path should be somewhat similiar to “C:\Program Files (x86)\TablEdit” Once in the folder, select the application and this should associate tef files with TefView.

If you are still having trouble, or if this doesn’t make much sense, let us know. There is always more than one way to skin a cat and it looks like everyone has their skinning knives handy! :cowboy_hat_face::dagger:


I just got it done, i think. I had to call my boy. I’m to old for this computer teck stuff. Thanks for all the help guys. At least i knew what to tell him. will try to learn features tomorrow. THANKS AGAIN!!!


Great to hear, @MattFromMaine! Thank you for your post, too! Just another tip about the gallop/swing. There are some songs where I want to do that, and I even program the .tef file to play it that way. When the picking syncopation is set to 0 it is straight, but sometimes I set it to 1 b/c the song sounds better that way. However, the gallop is a BAD habit for beginners to get into because then they can’t get out of it when they need to go faster, and it limits their speed. So, as long as you identified it, you’re safe!


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Thanks for the reply @banjoben and thanks for the syncopation tip. I didn’t know about that option. When I first noticed the gallop I thought, “this sounds kind of cool” but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it was probably a bad idea to get into that habit already. Glad to hear I was on the right track.

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Does anyone have experience using tef files with Linux? Or more specifically Ubuntu 16.04? Its what I use at home.

I’ve attempted using TuxGuitar; but with only middling success. I need to work with it more. Just wondering if there is anyone living in the open-source operating system world that has pointers.

To my knowledge, there’s no Linux version of Tabledit. According to, Tabledit and TuxGuitar are the only programs that can open a .tef file.

If it’s something you really want to play with, maybe you could run a Windows virtual machine using VIrtualBox or something similar?

Wow I didn’t realise folks were still using these tools. As I recall Linux was used in business machines to avoid using MS Windows I know Xerox had it on some large industrial printers. I played around with Ubuntu in the early stages but not long enough to get me hooked, around that time IBM was trialing an OS can’t remember what it was called. That was nearly 20 years ago.

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While it hasn’t taken over the desktop world, Linux is still very much around and more widely used than ever. Although many users may not realize they are using it. Android, which comprises about 3/4 of the smartphone market, is a variant of the Linux kernel. The open-source nature of Linux and its related software is attractive to developers who don’t want to knuckle under the yoke of proprietary software licenses. >End of open-source software advocacy rant<

Thanks Mark. There is a Windows emulator called Wine that would likely work. Before going down that road I will play with TuxGuitar some more. It is working… sort of. The sound is terrible and I believe it is occasionally incorrectly translating the tef file. I am assuming that Ben’s file doesn’t require you to play around fret 98 for a measure now and then.

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IIRC, TuxGuitar doesn’t break out the 5th string for a banjo the way TablEdit does, and that causes some problems. There’s no 1-5 frets for the 5th string, so you can either set it to open G if the 5th is never fretted in the song, or you have to set the 5th string to open D and then tell Tux to play the 5th string at the 5th fret for every open instance.

Just stumbled on this thread. Oh my goodness, I was wondering what those .tef files were. I downloaded one but it didn’t do anything so I moved on, I had the .pdf files yeah, and didn’t think any more of it. I just installed the player and it’s like - where have you been all my life?