Guitar Pro 6 Review

I’ve used Guitar Pro for all the tabs I’ve made on the site. It was easily the best tabbing software around but GuitarPro 5 had a number of drawbacks for uke tabbers (read about them in my review). So I was very eager to try out GuitarPro 6 which was released earlier this month.

Here’s what I’ve found as I tested it out and I roped in BrianW who kept a very close eye on the bugs and problems with GP5.

Should I Upgrade to Guitar Pro 6?

Brian: This is a stable product and is a big upgrade and improvement on GuitarPro 5. We have been waiting for 2 years and it was worth it. The team have obviously taken the decision not to drip-drip minor fixes and improvements, but to take their time in re-building the product from the bottom up. Performance is very good on my Windows 7 machine.

The Big Improvements

Mac Version

Woodshed: This is a massive improvement. GP5 was unusable on the Mac. Hampered in what it could do and constantly crashing. GuitarPro 6 can do everything the PC version can do and I haven’t had any problems with it crashing.

Layout

B: Tools are now on the left of the screen. At first this seems strange, but it allows editing of a ‘what you see is what you get’ of a music sheet A4 portrait format – this look and feel (after a while) began to grow on me!

Multiple files can now be opened at the same time, and are displayed as Tabs across the top – not standard Windows layout, but very nice, once you get used to it

W: After the initial, “Holy crap, where is everything?” I found the new layout really easy to use. The browser style windows work great. The monochrome colour scheme is more modern but less friendly than old brownie.

The Ukulele is Fixed

W: Finally! The ukulele tuning is now right (for C, D and low-G tunings). And the standard notation is now in the correct octave. You can adjust the tuning to whatever you like via the tuning panel (yeah, it’s a bass guitar but you can’t have everything).

The Panels

Panels are little windows on the left, the two most useful are a chord panel (makes it so much easier – would be nice if you could drag and drop them into the score) and the lyrics panel (so you can now just type up the lyrics, divide them into syllables and you’re done).

Smaller Improvements

W: – As well as tab and standard notation you can now show chords in slash notation like this:

Brilliant new feature which I may well use for showing strums in future.

- You can set up templates for tabs that you can use as a basis for future tabs. That means you can set the layout you like, ukulele tuning and fill the chord panel with often used chords.
- Undo stretches back a lot further.

B:- Full Realistic Sound Engine (RSE) for non-rock band instruments (grand piano, strings etc.)
- Grand staff automatically supported for grand piano
- Multi-track lyrics
- Post-production sound features such as attack etc.
- More reliable input from PowerTab
- Notes can be made of longer duration or shorter by a keyboard short-cut (yes a simple idea, but a good one!)

W: Those of you with an incredible eye for detail and no life whatsoever will have noticed that the tabs on the Fall post had a transparent background rather than a white one. The tab images are now exported as .png rather than .bmp.

Niggles

W: A few things have got worse:

- You can’t transpose directly from one instrument to another. You have to create a new track with the right instrument and copy/paste to the new track.
- When you’re setting chord names on the uke they almost always come up as slash chords e.g. an F chord will automatically be set as F/C.
- Right aligned ’1′s look strange in chords.

B: – Still no output to Powertab and continuing poor Music XML support e.g. to and from professional software such as Finale and Sibelius.
- Fingering notation: text positioning remains a problem (especially for re-entrant instruments like the uke where different fingers produce the same note). (UPDATE: There are options in the stylesheet for the placing of fingering notation).
- The Help file is in HTML not a Windows help file. I cannot find a ‘search’ feature (W: There is a search feature in the Mac version, but I agree, the help needs work). A list of keyboard shortcuts is missing and will be ” be made available in the very near future with an automatic update.”

Overall

W: If you’re on a Mac, upgrade without a second thought. I also think it’s well worth the money if you own GP5 on the PC. Fewer crashes, easier to use and much better for uke use.

B: It is good that existing users are offered a substantial discount on the upgrade – and the special offer for €30 upgrade cost for existing GuitarPro users only lasts until the end of April – existing GP users should upgrade immediately.

Is It Worth Buying Guitar Pro 6?

B: Technical support has been good over the last 2 years – Franck at GuitarPro has responded quickly and helpfully to problems some of which were due to my own ineptitude in using the software and understanding music, and others which were genuine limitations or bugs present in GuitarPro 5.

B: Given that GuitarPro 6 is so much more capable than the previous version, the fact that it is selling for €60 is very good value for money. Sibelius G7 costs €150 (£100) and I am not sure that it is any better, and it is certainly not easier to use. However, many people will continue to battle on with PowerTab, but the flexibility of input into the standard notation bar that GuitarPro is worth the difference on its own.

You can Buy Guitar Pro 6 here.

View Comments

36 Comments

  1. milko April 21st, 2010 7:51 pm

    If it helps Brian at all, ctrl-F should give you a search in that HTML file.

    I’m not at the stage of needing to write up tabs but nice read anyhow!

  2. Woodshed April 21st, 2010 9:15 pm

    milko: Thanks. The problem is it’s spread over many pages and it isn’t clear which page you need to be looking at.

  3. milko April 22nd, 2010 8:44 am

    Oh, that’s a pain. Right, well there’s probably still some workarounds – you can use the search in Windows 7 on the folder where all the files are, and click ‘File Contents’ to have it search within the HTML. Not sure if earlier versions do this or not. Or I guess upload it somewhere and use google site search.

    What a bizarre omission though.

  4. Zdenek April 22nd, 2010 9:28 am

    Very useful review essecially for existing users of GP. I can confirm the suggestion put at the end of the article: upgrade immediately.

  5. Woodshed April 22nd, 2010 10:49 am

    milko: Thanks. Hopefully they’ll get it fixed before too long.

    Zdenek: Glad you agree!

  6. Howlin' Hobbit April 22nd, 2010 3:48 pm

    They’ve changed the file format so drastically that TuxGuitar (a tabbing program for Linux) doesn’t recognize it.

    I know this because Jazzukes (Mark Occhionero) is doing a series of tabs from the jazz version of the Real Fake Book and his new GuitarPro tabs don’t open in the latest version of TuxGuitar.

    Yes, it’s up to TuxGuitar to change for this, but changing your file format for each upgrade is kind of a pain, don’t you think? Folks making these sort of programs ought to take a look at the Linux community. Their “market share” is on a par (and in some areas, greater than) Mac’s market share but are still being ignored by most programmers.

    BTW… you should definitely scope out Jazzukes’ project. http://jazzukes.blogspot.com/

    Some very cool stuff going on there, at a ridiculously teensy price.

  7. luckydog April 23rd, 2010 7:04 am

    Have downloaded the trial version, but for the life of me I can’t find out how to change to ukulele tuning. Can you walk us through that in a bit more detail?
    Cheers

  8. Steve Rosenbaum April 24th, 2010 5:41 pm

    Hi. I have used Guitar Pro for years. I recently payed for Guitar Pro 6. They sent me a link to download the trial version and a user id and key. After downloading, when I put the license info in, it opens to an updates window. I can’t open the full version. I emailed Guitar Pro. They said the info was valid. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.

  9. Woodshed May 3rd, 2010 1:23 pm

    Hobbit: I think part of the reason they do it is to make it more likely that people will upgrade. It’s a shame they don’t build some sort of backwards compatability into them, but I don’t see that changing.

    luckydog: You can’t change it to a new instrument, you have to start a new track. Go to File > New > Empty. Then Track > Add. Then Exotic Guitars > Ukulele. If you need to transpose, you have to copy it from the old tuning and paste it into the ukulele tuning.

    Steve: I’m not really sure. Are you sure you’ve downloaded the latest version? I had trouble finding it at first.

  10. Dave May 4th, 2010 6:43 am

    I haven’t gone out and purchased Guitar Pro, but have been using the free version of Tux Guitar. When I tab for the uke on Tux Guitar I have use the “4 string nylon string guitar”. Does anyone one know if it is possible to “Save” the tunings and name it ukulele?

  11. luckydog May 14th, 2010 8:57 am

    Thanks Woodshed

    Followed your instructions, but it seems the demo version doesn’t include all the options. It doesn’t, for example, have any Exotic Guitars listed – only electric and nylon. I’ve found Bass guitar, and am trying to tune that to C reentrant, but so far no luck. Will keep trying.
    Thanks again

  12. Woodshed May 15th, 2010 6:18 pm

    luckydog: That’s a shame. I’ve just tested it and I can retune it from a bass by tuning to G5 C5 E5 A5 then clicking the apply button (the tick beneath it). But that’s on the full version.

  13. jon May 20th, 2010 11:05 pm

    “This is a stable product” surely you are joking!!!
    files take 10x longer to load than gp5 and often never finish
    file conversion from gp5 very poor
    sometimes doesnt seem to save view / track settings and keeps resetting to show both notes and tab
    some really strange bugs..

    Yeah the interface looks more cool and it can sound better in certain circumstances but until it can open a file quickly and reliably… .. well I’m certainly going back to gp5 for the moment

  14. Woodshed May 21st, 2010 7:30 am

    jon: Thanks for letting us know. I haven’t experienced those problems myself.

    When importing gp5 it doesn’t bring across standard notation/tab preferences. But I’ve never had a problem saving them.

    Once GP6 is open, importing GP5 files takes a couple of seconds for me. And I’ve never had a problem with the import.

  15. MamadalicA June 7th, 2010 8:45 pm

    Jon is right
    I’ve had it for two days and I had to reinstall it 3 times already! It crashes and won’t start up again. Too slow and glitchy. Not stable at all. Also the RSE could be better after two years of work. Doesn’t sound good enough.
    But the new interface rox!

  16. Woodshed June 7th, 2010 9:31 pm

    MamadalicA: Thanks for the info. Still not having any of these problems myself. I think I’ve had one crash on the Mac and none on the PC.

    But I do agree on the RSE. It isn’t worth bothering downloading.

  17. Sebastian June 12th, 2010 5:45 am

    I need help in tuning my guitar with GP6…
    Its not like the past version (5), where you could go to the instrument properties and click on a string and you could hear the note and tune your guitar by “ear”.
    I just check the tuning section on this version and if I click on the play button the software just plays all the strings from E to E or depending on the tuning of the tab…

  18. acdcfan1 July 3rd, 2010 5:17 am

    sounds great but ill probably just stick with gp5

  19. kurt July 28th, 2010 8:44 pm

    I can’t get the ‘retractable’ universe panels to actually retract. Right now they are stuck at hogging about 1/3 of the screen. not what I want. any ideas thx!

  20. Emily August 14th, 2010 10:10 pm

    Finally got around to reading your review. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely be getting this software!

  21. Dan November 24th, 2010 6:12 am

    Thanks for your work! I could’nt figure out how to set this up for the uke tuning. I have most if not all of your ebooks and learn from them daily.

    Enjoy your brief vacation from the blog.

    I wonder if your new book involves cracking code at Blechley Park involving Ukulele players. You said indeed that your new book was top secret.

    Keep up your good work,
    Dan

  22. Woodshed November 27th, 2010 2:07 pm

    Dan: Nothing that exciting. It’s secret for pretty stupid reasons!

  23. n8vknight December 2nd, 2010 8:00 am

    My guitar pro 6 I only got last week, now it just keeps crashing over and over and refuses to play some of my tabs, just to crash when playing them. I shoulda stuck with 5.2.

  24. Stephen Spacey April 30th, 2011 4:56 pm

    So, yeah, why does absolutely NOBODY understand how to change the tunings and keep them changed? Every time I click on the instrument, it shows standard tuning again. This is extremely annoying when I play in C standard and drop B flat. Somebody help me figure this crappy lack of a feature out.

  25. Asterik January 3rd, 2012 7:02 am

    Heard about the sound bank it comes with, does it(GP6) have mp3(or similar, whichever sounds more realistic) sounds or MIDI ones as in previous installment??

  26. Woodshed January 3rd, 2012 9:23 am

    Asterik: The soundbanks use WAV (I think). It does sound a lot better than midi, anyway.

  27. Arda January 9th, 2013 11:39 am

    Could you please tell me that how can I transpose the track canals into the ukulele . In GP5 I could easily do that by double-click on a particula canal but In GP 6 I couldn’t achieve that.

  28. Woodshed January 9th, 2013 11:43 am

    Arda: Copy it from the original track into a track with ukulele tuning.

  29. Carrie March 19th, 2013 7:22 pm

    Hi Woodshed! Just picked up GP6 and am working on my first tab. It’s fantastic but I can’t figure how to insert open chord diagrams (for beginners)into the tab I’m creating. ie like the plain C chord everyone learns. It will only let me use the closed position chords. I’ve tried adding them but it won’t allow me to. Am I missing a step? Your answer is greatly appreciated. Thanks :)

  30. Woodshed March 19th, 2013 7:35 pm

    Carrie: There’s a couple of ways I do it.

    - Write out the chord in the tab then press the chord button.
    - Click on the chord diagram part of that window where you want the fingering to be (or at the top of the fretboard for an open note).

    Hope that makes sense.

  31. kin March 30th, 2013 6:24 pm

    can guitar pro show what tabs im playing as i play them

  32. Woodshed March 31st, 2013 7:15 am

    kin: It can scroll through the tab in time, yes.

  33. kin April 1st, 2013 5:57 am

    how?

  34. Woodshed April 1st, 2013 7:56 am

    kin: I’m now not sure what you’re asking. Do you want it to create tabs of what you’re playing? It can’t do that. If you want it to scroll through tabs that already exist you just press the play button.

  35. kin April 1st, 2013 9:29 am

    ive plugged my guitar to my pc,what im wanting to do is to start playing and see what ive played.

  36. Woodshed April 1st, 2013 9:41 am

    kin: No, it can’t do that.

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