GUITAR PRO 4.0
by Gary Hartman
Among the myriad features of Guitar Pro 4.0 (GP4), there
is one feature alone that makes this product worth purchasing. This
particular feature, although it would seem to be an obvious one to include,
is not present in some other products out there (nope...the powerful - and
free - Power Tab Editor doesn't have it). I'll tell you what I'm talking
about in just a moment. First, let me go over the features of the new
Guitar Pro 4.0.
Guitar Pro 4.0 is a multitrack tablature editor. This means
that you can create tablature scores for several different guitar parts,
while also allowing you to score the other parts (i.e., bass, drums, vocals,
etc.). The tablature editor is designed to handle tablature for instruments
with 4, 5, 6, or 7 strings. If you prefer editing and printing in standard
notation rather than tablature, GP4 will do that also. The multitrack score
will accomodate up to 256 tracks (instruments and percussion). You can also
import and export MIDI and ASCII formats, which opens an almost unlimited
choice of songs available over the Internet. For beginning, intermediate,
and advanced guitarists, Guitar Pro 4.0 is an extremely powerful tool to
help improve skills or for the creation of new compositions.
GP4 has so many features that I can't pretend to do them all justice here.
I can say that it offers everything you want and need for creating, editing,
playing back, and printing tablature scores. Some of the more notable features
include: importing and exporting MIDI and ASCII formats; exporting
in WAV and BMP formats; complete support for chord diagrams (including an
extensive library for all tunings); ability to independently tune each string;
support for user-created tunings; support for triplets; support for lyrics;
ability to select each instrument and control volume, pan, chorus, and reberb
for each track; tempo selection; metronome; and digital guitar tuner. A
couple of nice features are the inclusion of both a fretboard and a keyboard
which work both in the input/editing and playback mode. The fretboard is
especially useful in observing positioning on the guitar.
For an example of just how this product works in playback mode,
I downloaded a user-created tablature version in GP4-format of Fleetwood
Mac's "The Chain" which contains vocals (3 tracks), organ,
bass, drums, and three separate guitar parts [two acoustic (steel and nylon
string), and distortion guitar]. Playback sounds remarkably close to the
original song. You can choose to print the entire score with all parts, or
you can choose only the track that you want to print. I decided to print
only the acoustic steel string part of the score, since I'm sort of partial
to that instrument... :-) It printed beautifully with both tablature
and standard notation shown. I looked at the propeties of this track, and
found that it was scored in "Drop-D tuning"; you can change the properties
to standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E), and GP4 will automatically adjust the tablature
to correct for the change in tuning...pretty slick.
Now...about that one feature that I am so fired-up about.
GP4 has a button built right into the program that allows you to control
the speed of the playback real-time while you are listening to the song.
What this means is that you are easily able to S-L-O-W--D-O-W-N the playback
for practicing along with the song. This is an amazingly useful tool that
many other products don't have. Trust me...this feature alone is worth the
price of this product. I've tried a lot of other tablature creation/playback
products, but have yet to find a product that is more powerful or useful
One of the great features of GP4 is the ability to download
literally THOUSANDS of guitar tab songs that are already available. Because
these tabs are created by folks like you and me, the quality varies from
tab to tab. However, many songs have multiple versions of tabs available
for download, and usually you'll find a version that sounds pretty close
to the recorded version. You can consider multiple versions as alternate
lessons explaining different ways of playing the same thing, some of which
may be easier than others depending on your skill level and individual playing
style. There is a link to the download site (http://www.mysongbook.com/)
from the Official Guitar Pro website.
Bottom Line: Guitar Pro 4.0 is an amazing tool
for creating, viewing, listening to, and studying tablature created by others.
The vast library of guitar tablature already created and available online
means that you will never be at a loss for something new to try. There are
several other similar products available, but I have not seen another one
so easy to use or with this many features. Learning guitar has never been
so easy! Guitar Pro 4.0 WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER GUITARIST and will
provide opportunities for learning almost anything you can imagine. Highly
System Tested On: IBM-compatible PC with an
Intel Pentium-4 2.2 Ghz CPU; MS-Windows XP; Nvidia Geforce 4 graphics accelerator;
1,024 MB RAM; 40x CD-ROM drive; Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum sound card;
Minimum System: MS-Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP;
Guitar Pro 4 can be ordered online ($59) from the Official Guitar Pro website.
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Last Revised: April 18, 2004
Copyright © 2004 by Gary S. Hartman. All rights