I’ve had a number of people ask me which program I use to make tabs. So I’ve put together a quick review of the software I use: Guitar Pro 5.
Even though there are a number of free tab making softwares out there (most notably Power Tab), but as far as I’m concerned they’re no match for Guitar Pro. Even though it’s paid for software (currently 59 Euros), it’s well worth it if you’re seriously into tabbing. I started with Guitar Pro 3 and have immediately paid for an upgrade as soon as they’re available.
Guitar Pro: The Good Stuff
- Easy of Use: I find Guitar Pro very easy to use. It’s all well laid out and easy to get the basics down and start tabbing.
If you do as much tabbing as I do, it’s well worth learning the hot key options for stuff like slides, hammer-ons etc.
- Packed with Options: The number of things you can do with Guitar Pro can be overwhelming when you first start. There are huge amounts of things it can do, and I’m still discovering useful bits I never realised were there (usually by the ‘I wonder what that does’ method).
Tabs can be exported in a wide range of formats including MIDI, pdf, ASCII, WAV and bmp. The bmp format is particularly important to me as it means I can export in an image form that can be easily edited.
- The Interface: Guitar Pro has by far the most visually appealing interface.
- Download Tabs: There are a load of Guitar Pro tabs available online. Most of them guitar tabs but also uke tabs (such as Mark Occhionero’s). Guitar Pro is also capable of importing Power Tab files (such as those by Dominator) and even MIDI files. It can, in theory, import TablEdit files although I’ve found it very hit and miss in this case.
Guitar Pro: The Not So Good Stuff
- Do not get Guitar Pro if you own a Mac. The Mac version is hampered and is forever crashing. Completely useless.
- Guitar Pro is designed primarily for making guitar tabs. That means it’s not entirely ideal for ukulele. The most obvious problem is the ukulele tuning. The default ukulele C tuning is two octaves too low (in terms of the pitch you hear). You can add a default tuning if you search hard enough (Track > Properties, change to standard ukulele tuning, click the + button just above the tuning – thanks Jordan).
Another problem is that when the pitch produced is correct the standard notation is an octave too high. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to change this.
If you’re serious about tabbing, I can highly recommend Guitar Pro. None of the other tab software really comes close to it.
You can learn more about Guitar Pro 5 and try out the demo for free here: Guitar Pro 5