Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation

Guitar Tablature and Guitar Notation Tools

When it comes to Guitar Tablature. let’s face it, the way notes are written on a 5 line staff is not natural when compared to the finger positions on the guitar strings. So, guitarist’s got smart and developed a specific notation system for the guitar. This notation system is called TAB for short.

Instead of a five line staff, guitar tablature uses a six line staff.  One staff line for each string of the guitar. On this staff the lowest line corresponds to the lowest string in pitch.


Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Staff

Pizzicato takes full advantage of this type of notation. You can prepare, write, print and listen to guitar scores entirely using TAB or using both standard and TAB simultaneously.

In Pizzicato Guitar, Beginner and Professional, you can find guitar tablature templates, like the following:

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation

For those of you new to guitar tablature or TAB, you can write notes on TAB just like on a normal staff.  However, unlike normal notation, the note heads are replaced by a number that shows which fret must be used to play that note. Here is an example:

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation with fingerings

The Guitar Fretboard Window


In another window, Pizzicato displays the fretboard of a guitar.  You may be use this display to play the notes just like on a real guitar fretboard. Additionally in this view, you can see the note names appear as the score or the tablature is played. This feature can help considerably as you learn to play a score or experiment with the various note positions on the fretboard.

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Fretboard

Pizzicato Has A Specific Tool Palette For The Guitar


We have tried very hard to make guitar notation easy to write.  Using the guitar tools palette, it’s easy to add the standard guitar notation symbols to your tablature or notation.  The Guitar palette is a grouping of the most standard symbols that you find in guitar notation.

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Symbols



Displaying The Tablature And The Staff


For the music composer who want to show both TAB and standard notation, you can associate a normal staff with a tablature staff. Any note you write on one of the staves automatically displays correctly on the other staff.  See the figure below:


Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation


Additionally, you can open a MIDI file (This feature is not included in the Light version), then associate TAB’s to one or more staves of the imported MIDI file. With a simple copy/paste you can then view the score as a tablature or TAB.  A midi file for Piano is now easy to learn on the Guitar.  The result is an exhaustive and clear staff..

Chord Diagrams


In combination with a tablature or normal staff, you can also use the guitar chord diagrams. These diagrams display the physical position of the fingers on the fretboard. Thus it is easy to add a guitar part to a hymn, for instance:

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Chord Diagram


Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Alternative Chord Diagram

A Chord Progression window is used to choose a chord and a diagram is suggested:

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation Chord Diagram Window



Frequently, several diagrams are possible.  When this happens, you can select the one you want by clicking on the desired diagram.

Once a diagram is chosen, it will then appear on the score, associated with the chord name like this:

Guitar TAB and Fretted Instrument Notation

The Tablature and Diagrams Libraries


The principles of tablature or TAB, chord diagrams and the guitar fretboard also apply to any fretted instruments such as: the banjo, the electric bass, etc.  Pizzicato Guitar, Pizzicato Beginner and Pizzicato Professional all have a library of 240 fretted instruments for you to use.

Additionally, you can customize the way an instrument is tuned by specifying the open string notes and you can create custom chord diagrams which is especially useful if you have custom tunings.

Basically, a dialog window lets you create a chord diagram library by taking into account the specific attributes such as: the number of strings, the number of frets that can be used, the mean position on the fret board, etc. Therefore, you can create a chord library according to your needs.

And…you can easily recreate the full library by specifying your preferences, for any fretted instrument.

All these tools make it possible to create stunning and flexible scores for almost any fretted instrument.


==> Order Pizzicato now and write your Guitar Tablature!

©2015 Blair Ashby
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Pizzicato text, photos and manual used courtesy of Arpege Music sprl.
All Arpege Music information used with permission.
All information subject to change at any time without prior notice.