Guitar Pro is a tablature and notation program designed with the needs of guitarists in mind. You can download tabs or create your own, play them back, edit them, and use them as a baseline for your own performance.
- Writing options for both tablature and traditional sheet music
- Playback features that allow users to splice together multiple tracks
- Recording either by hand or using connected MIDI instruments
- Great quality of life improvements for the professional and aspiring songwriter
- Excellent tool for learning to play guitar
- Supports multiple instruments
- Interface is cluttered with icons and sometimes confusing
- Not currently available for Linux
Whether you learned guitar by hand and you're trying to perfect the method of writing sheet music or you're a novice just figuring out the basics of performance and looking to improve your skills, Guitar Pro is a great tool. It's not just a teaching aid either. Professional musicians can make use of its extensive features to mess around with melodies and harmonies, turn a jam session into a functional piece of sheet music, or experiment with new sounds by downloading tablature from online. And while Guitar Pro is built around the needs of guitarists, it works equally as well with a wide range of instruments. An entire band could conceivably use it to construct complex songs pulling from a range of disciplines. What's especially cool about Guitar Pro, and what serves as the heart of its functionality, is how well it interfaces between live sound and tablature. Sheet music too often feels like a stuffy foreign language, but Guitar Pro contextualizes it by transforming it into sound. This goes both ways. Recording music using a connected MIDI instrument will automatically translate your notes to sheet music, while sheet music that's been downloaded or recorded can be played back to you with the simple click of a button. But the higher functions, especially those that will assist with music writing, allow a greater transformative effect. The mixing bar is color coded and runs beneath your sheet music. Multiple tracks can be run in tandem with each other to create more complex recordings. From here, you can tweak the layout as the music plays. This includes the ability to categorize segments like intros, chorus, or verse. You can mute tracks, a particularly useful tool if you're looking to learn a song. Through the muting feature, you can remove your part in the performance and practice your timing alongside a virtual band, or you can leave only your part in place so you have a more guided instructor to lead you through the song. The layout is about as smooth as you could expect from such a dense and complicated program. The majority of the interface is dominated by the tablature itself, and this is buffered at both sides and the bottom by panels. The bottom panel offers sound mixing which is split up according to section or instrument. The left panel offers all of your sound editing tools in neatly organized icons, while the right panel contains your tools for writing tablature and mixing the results. While some of the icons can be confusing at first, and there's a lot to work with, the basics are simple to pick up. Guitar Pro may be a specialized tool, and it takes some time to learn the ins and outs of the interface, but it's one of the most powerful teaching and editing tools a songwriter can have.