About a year ago, I started taking guitar lessons. It was actually just on a whim, because my daughter was taking piano lessons, and I wanted something to do while I was waiting for her. Since it was a husband and wife business, while the wife taught my daughter piano, the husband taught me how to play guitar.
I took lessons for about 5 or 6 months I think, and then schedules changed and I had to quit, but I never lost my affection for playing the guitar. The instructor said that I was a natural – but I’m sure he tells that to all of his students. I did pick up all of the most common chords pretty fast, and I learned a bunch of really cool songs that I could play, so long as the chords were printed on the song sheets.
I’m not the only one either. We’ve got lots of guitar fans at MUO, like Tim and his list of documentaries for guitar fans, or Laurence’s free tools to learn guitar playing from a few years back. The web has lots of resources for guitar players.
TuxGuitar Has Everything Guitar Players Need
So, let me just say that taking guitar lessons and learning chords was nice, because I learned the “correct” way to read the music and play along. The problem is that so many guitar players learned on their own, and make use of this “tablature” method of printing sheet music for guitar. I’ve honestly never understood how it works, because I just didn’t learn guitar that way – but apparently many, many guitar players out there make use of guitar tabs.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it just makes it very hard for me to make use of music that these people have created and published online. It also makes it hard for them to play regular music written without guitar tabs. Luckily, TuxGuitar has a little bit for everyone.
All it takes is a single look at that list of menu icons and you can see just how functional this software is. As a quick rundown of the main window, the very top is where you will select whatever function you want, like selecting note type, inserting a chord, setting tempo, etc. Next down is where the musical score is displayed. This area will contain all of the notes and the guitar chords right above it.
Underneath the notes, is an area that will contain the tablature. The cool part is that you have the option of replacing the tablature display with a graphical display of actual guitar frets with dots over the string and fret.
When you click on the chord editor icon, the chord editor tool pops up. This tool lets you select every single thing about the chord that you want to insert into your song.
Whether you’re writing your own song or trying to recreate the notes from an existing song, this is a very cool little tool that can help you do it. When you select a chord you want to use, you’ll see all of the variation sin tablature format at the bottom of the tool. Click on those and you’ll hear a sample “strum” with that chord. This lets you choose the best chord for you purposes by selecting the perfect one by ear.
This is what it looks like when you add a chord to your song sheet. Depending on which note type you have selected in your menu, that note will be placed on the appropriate lines, and of course the tablature representation of that chord will be displayed just below. Best of all (for me anyway), the name of the chord itself appears just above that point in the song sheet.
And of course, you can include the guitar fret graphic on the bottom and see exactly where you need to place your fingers to play the song. That is a feature that I haven’t seen in any other guitar-playing software that I’ve ever seen. It’s very cool.
Here’s what one of my finished songs looks like. I started off with a chord and then a fairly slow and boring tune at just a single tempo. Not very exciting. Kind of goofy actually. You can see the 4-count in red numbers at the top.
If you’re writing your own song, then of course you’ll probably want to include lyrics. TuxGuitar lets you do that too! Just click on the Lyrics icon and type in whatever poem you’ve written that you want to apply to the song notes. The software does a pretty good job of laying out the lyrics with the beat and tempo in mind.
When you’re done with your musical creation, and want to share your new song with all of your friends that are also guitar fans, all you have to do is click on the file menu, click Export, and then choose from the list of output formats. Those include Ascii, Midi and even PDF.
As though all of the above wasn’t enough to make guitar players excited, the software also includes a neat little tool that helps you tune your guitar. How it works is it displays a line with the chords laid out. When you pluck your guitar string (make sure your microphone is turned on and set high), you’ll see the blue line glide over to that area of the chord graph. If it isn’t on the chord that you expected, then your guitar is out of tune.
Keep plucking and adjusting the string until the blue indicator lines up perfectly with the correct chord. It couldn’t be any simpler, and it saves you from having to buy an electronic guitar tuner.
Are you a guitar fan? Does TuxGuitar do everything that you’ve always wanted in a guitar software? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit:Playing Guitar Via Shutterstock
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