Guitar Pro 3

You downloaded the demo of this software and you think you know it? Although the demo is quite workable, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

GuitarNoise has had a link to Guitar Pro for a quite a while. Perhaps you’ve downloaded and have played with it for a while and have wondered if it’s worth buying the full version. Believe me, it is. Until you’ve actually used the full version, you have no idea of the immense power behind this software.

Don’t be fooled by people who will tell you that it’s a Tab editor. It can do much more than that. I installed the copy graciously supplied by Arobas Informatique a few weeks ago and have barely been able to pull myself away from it long enough to write this. It’s simply amazing!

To learn songs, they have a huge library of tabbed songs. A lot of them have bass, keyboard and drum parts also. Some even have vocal simulation tracks. This way you can really learn a song that you’ve never heard before.

You see, Guitar Pro adds true musical notation attributes to Tabs. All measures have to have the appropriate notes, e.g. if a measure reads 4/4, it must have four times in it, not five, not 3 and a half. For the person like myself who never bothered learning to read music, this is great as it does teach you all the important skills of writing times. Guitar Pro also indicates the length of a note onscreen and in print.

It allows you to change time signatures anywhere and as many times as you wish. You can also change the tempo anywhere you want. Although this particular function is a little bit difficult to find, it is there and it does work.

It also has all the nuances you expect in a guitar: bending, hammer-on, pull, sliding, vibrato, muting, and so much more.

It also has a fantastic chord finder. You can select a chord, and it will give you a diagram of the way it’s played, as well as over a dozen alternative ways of playing it! You can also do the reverse, indicate, through the convenient diagram, where you’re putting your fingers and which strings are played open and which aren’t played and it will tell you the name of the chord and offer a dozen or so alternative ways of playing it.

Guitar Pro lets you add silences, insert markers, repetitions and text comments. It also lets you choose which language you want to work in. I had the demo set in English for a while and that worked fine. I have been using this version in French and have not found anything wrong. It also works in German and Spanish with available language modules going from Chinese to Thai!

Guitar Pro works using MIDI files. So, of course, you won’t be fooled into thinking you’re hearing actual guitars, but that’s a MIDI thing and it’s good enough to learn a song. Or to write one. Because, as a writing tool, Guitar Pro is the best thing to ever hit the market.

I’ve tabbed in ideas and unfinished songs and ended up finishing more songs and using more ideas than I ever have in my life. This mainly thanks to the fact that Guitar Pro lets you write up to 256 tracks. And they don’t all have to be guitar tracks. It lets you write bass tracks and Drum tracks in simple ways. I always thought drums had to be invented by some strange race of aliens. With Guitar Pro, I’m writing my own drum tracks!

You can also write keyboard tracks using your guitar, apply the appropriate instrument (anything your soundcard can produce), and voilà!

This gives you the opportunity to hear what your song will (approximately as this is MIDI) sound like when other instruments are added to it, which in turn brings many new ideas.

Printing is also great. Just click on print and it all comes out the way you see it on screen. You can only print one track at a time, but myself I find this a blessing as you’re not printing all the tracks when you want just one, or printing the wrong track.

You can’t print in standard musical notation (something I was told which will probably be available in the next version), but you can export your tracks (all of them in one simple operation) as MIDI tracks and open them in something like Cakewalk, then print them in standard notation.

Great for creating charts of your songs for the rest of your band.

Oh, and you can also import standard text tabs you pick up here at GuitarNoise or at other websites.

If you’re learning the guitar, or playing for fun you should use Guitar Pro to learn other people’s songs. If you’re a songwriter, you need this; Guitar Pro will fast become your best friend.