The Best Guitar Tab Makers
Welcome to our review of the best guitar tab makers.
Having EVERYTHING you play instantly tabbed out automatically is the easiest way to get unstuck and break through your playing plateaus. Plus you’ll never ask yourself “man, how did that cool riff I made up last night go”?
We’ve tried all the latest apps, and these 5 were head and shoulders above the rest.
First, a Bit About Our Process
Guitar tab software is a godsend for musicians.
How many times have you heard an awesome riff and wish you had the tab ready right there so you could bust it out immediately?
Or how many times have you been in the middle of a wicked jam session and made the next successor to Smoke on the Water, Iron Man, or Enter Sandman only to forget how it went the next morning?
But notation software is actually so much more valuable than “just” instantly writing out tabs for future reference. It’s the fastest way to learn complex guitar parts and experiment with new chord shapes you’d never have learned otherwise.
Learning a new riff, chord, or progression is the best way to push your comfort zone and push other, played-out riffs out of your mind.
That’s why we’ve focused on these 3 criteria the most:
- Ease of Use/UX: Chances are you aren’t Steve Vai or Jimmy Page. So you probably just want something that’s quick and simple enough for an amateur musician to use but powerful enough for a pro. UX was top on our list.
- Editing: Some tab makers are basically supercomputers disguised as tab software. Others, you just edit using the numbers on your keyboard. The more editing power the better in our eyes.
- Auto Tabbing: Auto tabbing is the talk-to-text of the music world. You literally just play and the software tabs it out for you. Then you edit if the algorithm makes a gaff.
The Top 5 Best Guitar Tab Makers of 2020
The Best Guitar Tab Software – Guitar Pro 7.5
Guitar Pro is the Coca Cola of guitar tab creation space. Sure, other names might taste good – great even. But nothing compares to the brand name dominance.
Guitar Pro isn’t even really a tab maker. Yes, you can create a tab or download a popular song tab and jam along with it.
But it’s really a music creation superstation with multiple notation styles, drum and piano backing tracks, more instrument flexibility than any other program (Tab for 9 and 10 string guitars!), and a library of 2,000 classic songs that every guitarist has to learn (Yes, even Stairway).
And even with all the features, Guitar Pro is super easy and intuitive. Most editing only takes only 1 click, and everything is divided into either simple menus or interfaces.
Our favorite feature: Effects! – Guitar Pro has over 700 “Signature Sounds” that instantly add flavor to your music. It’s like having a pedal board with every effect imaginable right at your fingertips. The sound is unbeatable.
The only downsides to this beast are the learning curve and price.
If you just need a simple tab tool for fun or to store your creative juices, look elsewhere.
The Best Guitar Tab App – Tabify
Tabify is a tablicious app for iPhone and Android that automatically transcribes your tabs by ear as you play them. Just turn it on, start playing, and watch the black magic work as numbers appear by some miracle of modern science we don’t quite understand.
Once you’re done playing, edit and share with your friends or guitar students. Now that we think of it, Tabify is perfect for guitar teachers. No more sketching in notebooks or students claiming they “lost their music”.
That’s really all there is to say. The only caveat is that Tabify can be a bit inaccurate. During our tests, we noticed a few notes were off here and there. Not a big deal, since it’s ridiculously easy to edit.
And unlike Guitar Pro, it doesn’t cost you half the price of a new Fender amp. It’s FREE (With in-app purchases).
The Best Free Guitar Tab Maker – Musescore
Musescore is the world’s most popular music notation software, and is our favorite FREE guitar tab maker.
It’s got every notation style and markup you can imagine (Bends, slides, vibrato, etc), plus instruments like:
- Oud (Yes we had to Google that too)
If you’re a pro ramen noodle and cheap beer connoisseur who moonlights as a professional musician, this is 100% the software for you.
It’s basically the exact same thing as Guitar Pro (Minus the library and signature sounds) except it’s free with absolutely 0 limitations or upsells (Though you’re free to donate).
TIP: Musescore comes with a midi input feature, giving you even more creativity and flexibility.
The Easiest Guitar Tab Maker – TuxGuitar
As far as free guitar notation software goes, nothing’s more bare bones than Tux – and that’s a good thing.
Whereas most other tab writing programs take hours or even days to get the hang of, Tux is pretty powerful WITHOUT making guitar tab creation harder than learning Eruption.
It looks like a 60’s Strat, but that doesn’t stop from being a great program.
And don’t worry, you can still add multiple instruments, and it even supports bass and percussion too.
The Best In-Browser Tab Maker – Acousterr
Acousterr is a simple yet powerful tab maker that works right from your browser. No purchase. No download. No nothing.
Now you can make tabs, edit, jam along, and share with your friends without taking up space on your computer.
It doesn’t get easier than this:
Create the tab using your number keys on your keyboard:
If you want to get fancy, add effects, chords, or different timing from the on-screen menu.
Choose the chord you want from the drop down list.
Then just hit space or delete from the menu on the right.
Eventually you’ll get something that looks like this:
Is it the Voodoo Child of tab makers? No. Is it enough to get the job done quickly and easily without taking up space on your laptop or wasting an hour of time? YES.
Obviously, the downside is you can’t do much else but create simple guitar tabs. But that’s the point, isn’t it?
Guitar Tab Makers and PDFs Are Like PB&J
And we aren’t just saying it because we happen to have the best PDF software in the business.
What better way to store your tabs for easy access than in an editor that saves them as incorruptible files and gives you access to every tab anywhere at any time?
Guitar teachers, musicians, open mic nights, random guys that think they’re romantic but actually just trying too hard_ANYONE who loves guitar can benefit.
And once it’s in Soda PDF, you can leave notes in the margins (I Luv U, Becky. Give up already, dude). You can highlight any rough patches or leave a note for collaborating musicians. You can even create little chord diagrams for students on the side of the tab and share them instantly.
Like we said, it’s basically a match made in heaven. Just like PB & J.
Q: What is the best guitar tab site?
A: The best guitar tab sites are ultimate-guitar, guitartabs.co, Songsterr, and guitartab.com. They each have tens of thousands of free tabs. Some even have audio to help you play along and get a better feel.
Q: How do you make guitar tabs on a computer?
A: You make guitar tabs on a computer by going to a guitar tab creation website and using their software to create tabs. It’s pretty simple. Most present you with a staff and you fill in the tabs using the number on your keyboard. Most software will have features such as plug-and-place chords, musical accents, and guitar markup like bends, slides, and vibrato. It’s actually really easy!
Q: Where can I get free guitar tabs?
A: You can get free guitar tabs at most guitar tab sites. We prefer ultimate-guitar and 911 tabs.
Q: What is the best free guitar tab app?
A: The best free guitar tab app is tabify by far. It automatically writes out your tab while you play!
Q: Is Guitar Pro free?
A: No, Guitar Pro is not free. There is a free version, but it’s very limited. It currently costs about $70, but there is a free trial.
Q: How much is Guitar Pro 7?
A: Guitar Pro 7 costs $69.95 for a one-time payment.