Guitar Pro: From Solos To Scoresby John Kiernan
Coming from a rock guitar upbringing, my father always had me listening to the greats, such as The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Led Zepplin…the list goes on. I was also cultured by him in many classical composers, such as Beethoven and Mozart. As I grew to study and comprehend these many great composers and bands, I wanted to start writing my own music. Staff paper is and was a good solution to getting the ideas onto paper quickly, but this process can be very time consuming in the age of technology, especially for many musicians who might not have the best eye for musical notation. However, Arobas Music has made a program that alleviates many of these stresses and has become a spark to many musicians, instructors, and genres: Guitar Pro.
Guitar Pro’s user friendly interface makes music writing (especially for guitarists, mind you) incredibly easy to write out and to work with. Using the keyboard and the numbers on the computer keyboard, the composer can write using both musical notation and/or tablature if they are writing for guitar. In order to write in GP using the tablature system, highlight the desired string and type in the fret number you wish. To use the notation system, highlight whichever space/line you desire and press any number key to register the pitch into the system! You can input almost anything through this method. Some people use midi keyboards to input their ideas, but MIDI synchronization to computers…that’s a tutorial for another time!
When one first opens Guitar Pro, the many different controls may seem a tad daunting at first, but when understood, the program is really user friendly. There are many different buttons and hot keys for Guitar Pro that can help you really bring your music alive. We’ll go over some of the many features of Guitar Pro here.
Starting with the writing aspect on Guitar Pro, in the upper left corner, there should be these options:
File & Edit
Your entire basic program functions for any program (Save, save as, exit, open, copy, paste etc). Guitar Pro has an awesome feature in FILE that allows you to save your music to a PDF file so you can view and print your music from other computers that don’t have GP installed on them. Also, edit has the insert measures option where you can choose to insert more measures wherever you are in your music. For more advanced forms of writing, you also have a multi voice editor, which allows multiple voice writing for one track instead of having to make another track strictly for the same instrument doing something different, which saves on real estate in your file.
In this menu, the user is given options such as repeat signs for repeating measures, changing time & key signatures, and different musical signs, such as codas.
This menu gives the user multiple options for an individual note, such as its time duration, its attack; it’s sustain effects (vibrato, etc) and much more.
The great thing about Guitar Pro is that it doesn’t only act as a music notation program, but it also has a built in tuner, metronome, a loop system that can be used to slow down and speed up difficult passages for practice, a scale finder that analyzes your piece to find what scales it lies in, a transpose option that allows for transposing a piece from one key to another with ease, and so much more.
Example: Creating a basic 4 piece rock band of two guitars, one bass, and one drum set:
When you bring up Guitar Pro, it automatically opens with one acoustic guitar track. So that’s one guitar track down! To create another guitar track, go to Track->Add. You should come to the option of choosing either instrument or percussion. After choosing instrument, you should come to a screen with many guitar options (tuning, number of strings, etc).
Repeat this step to get a bass track as well, but change the strings to four when making a bass track and change the instrument when the first screen comes up to percussion to make the four piece score. It should look something like this:
Now, I’m sure we would like to have some distortion guitars here! To change the acoustic guitars into distortion guitars, click once on where it says acoustic guitar and it will bring up different kinds of guitars to use. Click on either distortion or overdrive guitars to change what they are and there you have it! Let the creative juices flow!