Guitar Pro started out as a small tab editor but, as time went by, it soon became an indispensable software for guitar and bass players alike. Now, with the sixth version out, Guitar Pro could actually create a new category of its own.
Installation on a Mac is a breeze: unpack the DMG, drag and drop the app into the Applications folder, authorize the software online, and while you’re at it, get the latest update available, as well as the sound bank: 1,860 MB of sounds, including 791 electric guitars, 194 acoustic guitars and 119 bass guitars. You have enough time to drink a coffee… or read the very comprehensive documentation accessible via the Help menu. A few minutes later, with the guitar already on your lap and the mouse in your hand, you are ready to go: double-click!
Serious Facelift for a Serious Look
The first thing that catches your eye is the thorough revision of the GUI: instead of the basic Windows XP/Mac OS X look of the previous version, it features a much more classy user interface, combining black and anthracite with tiny blue spots for selected items. It looks beautiful and invites you to play, especially after listening to that nice acoustic guitar lick that plays as the program starts, sort of like Sibelius. It has undergone some major aesthetic changes, but even more important user interface and frontend design changes.
Although the software has the same overall structure as in the past, with the score taking up three quarters of the screen and the tracks grouped at the bottom. The overpacked tool bar of version 5 disappeared, and a new column on the left side allows you to switch between six panels called Universes: “Editing” manages notes/accidentals and score/tab editing tools, “Chords” provides all chord diagrams to be edited and added to the main window, “Lyrics” can be used to add lyrics to the music, “Instruments” for instrument selection, tuning and sound bank assignment, and finally “Effect” and “Master” that allow you to manage instrument and master effects. The tab system, which resembles Firefox strongly, allows you to open up to seven simultaneous scores.
Right under the score you’ll find a very convenient navigation bar that allows you to move within the song, as well as manage pages and control zoom rate, tempo, playback speed, the metronome, etc. Now that we have a general overview, let’s put the software to practice focusing on the score editing functions first.
Now let’s take a closer look…
Version 6 is definitely a major update for Guitar Pro. What used to be a small software tool has become the ultimate reference in its category thanks to its intuitive user interface, well thought-out features and an absurdly low price. Should you upgrade your previous Guitar Pro version for $29.95? Yes, a thousand times yes! You’ll benefit from a better design and a much better sounding and efficient audio engine than in previous versions. Should I buy the full version for $59.95 if I don’t own a guitar tab editor? Yes, a thousand times yes! If you are a guitar player and want to practice your instrument while having access to one of the largest score banks on the web. This is where Guitar Pro really kicks its competitors’ butts: you have tens of thousands of songs at your disposal on the web, either for free or on commercial websites…
To wrap it up, Guitar Pro is certainly not perfect and there is plenty of room for development (apart from MIDI playback improvement, we would love new features like an audio track that would allow you to record and make transcription easier). But the price is still pretty low (considering the improvements included in version 6, I expected a hefty price increase) and the software is very useful, so I don’t see any reason not to recommend it very strongly…
- New GUI design
- All necessary tools to create high-quality tabs and scores
- Ergonomic and well thought out
- New audio engine, samples and effects to provide a much better playback quality
- Ridiculously low price
- Tens of thousands of scores and tabs available
- No guitar-focused MIDI performance: strumming parts still sound somewhat fake
- Effect settings are sometimes too extreme
To read the full detailed article see: Guitar Pro6 Review