Practicing: Don’t be a technophobe! Part 2


TAB it out

Software that enables you to write out fretted instrument music is definitely handy. Especially when you can search the web for TABs of your favourite songs and download them (quite often for free!). This is where notation software comes in. Not only does it show you TAB and standard notation, most can also play the music back to you. It usually sounds quite crude as it uses midi instruments but it makes it so much easier to hear what you are trying to learn. This is especially true when the instrument you are playing can’t be heard well in a songs mix. Most programs let you solo tracks so you can hear one at once. This makes it so much easier to practice! They also come in handy for writing your own ideas down, just in case you forget how to play the new riff you just wrote!

Guitar Pro 6 logo

Compatible with:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android

This is a great piece of software and it’s not too expensive. There are a lot of websites that provide links to Guitar Pro files that people have made of songs. When it comes to creating TABs, it’s relatively easy. You can just type the number of the fret on the desired string. It comes in handy to know note values from standard notation when doing this. However, you can play back what you have written and fiddle with the note lengths until you get it to sound the way you want. You can add everything from dynamics to two handed tapping to your TABs just by selecting a note and clicking the relevant button.

As I am writing this, Guitar Pro are showing off their latest version of Guitar Pro (7) at NAMM.

Go and check out Guitar Pro!

TabLEdit logo

Compatible with:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android

TablEdit is another great TAB editor. It is mainly used for fretted instruments. The midi sounds do sound a bit naff, but once you get through the learning curve you can create very tidy looking TABs with it. I will be honest, I am a Guitar Pro user and have only used this program to make banjo TABs as the fingering options are much clearer to see in TablEdit.

The interface is very simple and old fashioned which probably makes it less CPU hungry than Guitar Pro and all the menu options can be floated so you can move them around the screen. This is an annoyance to me, but some people like that kind of thing!

Why not download the demo and see if this editor is the one for you.

 Musescore logo

Compatible with:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android

The great thing about Musescore is it’s FREE! It is more like Sibelius or Finale, concentrating on standard music notation rather than TAB. It is great if you can read music as it is easier to add music to the stave than the TAB. One thing I love about Musescore is that you have many more options to edit the look of your music, meaning you can decide how much distance you want between staves and TABs etc. and generally make things look more pleasing to the eye much more quickly.

Why not download Musescore and have a go!

Keep practicing!

The software list above shows just a few examples that you can have use to help you while practicing. Remember, nothing compares to getting some expert advice if you are having problems. A teacher is always the best way forward. If there isn’t a teacher near you, you can always contact me for Skype guitar lessons!

The main thing is to enjoy what you do and keep practicing!

Do you have any comments on this article? If so, please feel free to comment below. The more we can help each other out, the better the musicians we will become.

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