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.

Guitar Pro 4 - Main Editing Screen

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 than GP4.

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 recommended.

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; mouse

Minimum System:  MS-Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP; sound card

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 reserved.