Guitar Pro is the most popular of the software available for editing guitar tabs. As we all know guitar tab is basically a picture of the six guitar strings with fret numbers showing the guitar player where to put his fingers on the fretboard plus other symbols indicating various left hand techniques.
First let us take a look at the most basic method of writing guitar tab – the text editor. Notepad or any other text editor is capable of writing guitar tab. Guitar, bass guitar and banjo tabs are written in ASCII file format. Most of the tabs you find on the internet are written in ASCII format. In ASCII tab hyphens are used to show string lines and numbers represent frets. Other elements like barlines, rhythms, bends, chord symbols can be shown in many ways. Guitar Pro and other guitar tablature programs generate files similar to ASCII but if you want to edit a hand-made ASCII tab you will have to do it manually.
Guitar Pro is a tool for guitarists who want to compose, transcribe or edit their own music. This program and others, shows the music in conventional music notation as well as tab. The guitarist can start with a new tab or import MIDI or ASCII files and use the Guitar Pro interface to write his music and hear his work played back by his computers MIDI. The finished work can be exported in ASCII or MIDI formats. The composer can then edit, play back and save his tabs. You can download a free trial version of Guitar Pro.
Power Tab is another program for writing guitar tab but it is available free of charge. You can use it to write guitar and bass tabs. The Power Tab Editor also imports MIDI files, and can also export to ASCII Text, HTML, and MIDI formats.
Using TablEdit guitarists can create, edit, print and play back guitar tabs. TablEdit also generates tabs and musical notation for harmonica, mountain dulcimer, diatonic button accordion, drums, violin, tin whistle, recorder, Xaphoon, autoharp, pedal steel guitar, piano, and banjo. You can download the free trial version of TablEdit and use it indefinitely as long as you can put up with the nag messages and the fact that you cannot save edited tabs.
TuxGuitar is an open source software for writing and playing back a number of tablature formats. TuxGuitar has many handy features including editing tabs and scores, autoscroll while the music is being played back, effects like bends, slides, vibrato, hammer-ons and pull-offs. With TuxGuitar you can also manage tempo and time signature. A bonus is you can import and export files from Guitar Pro versions 4 and 5.
The big disadvantage with reading, writing guitar music using tablature has always been the fact that tab does not show tempo and rhythm. This means that unless you are already familiar with the piece of music you are learning, you might be struggling to get the right note values and rhythm. With guitar tab software this problem is eliminated because even if you are working from imported ASCII tab the software tells you what the piece sounds like through the MIDI playback and the standard music notation features. My advice is to download all the programs and try them out to see which one best suits you. for the most recent version of all these programs, just do an internet search by product name.
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