Liner Notes
Red Guitar Pick
The FATpick Blog

FATpick already includes hundreds of songs - and thousands of individual tabs - shared by other users and available for you to discover and play almost instantly. And that libary is growing - new songs are added almost every day. (For a preview of the songs available, you can search an up-to-date list of shared songs online here.) But if you can't find the song you're looking for - or want to add custom songs or exercises of your own creation - you can easily add new songs to FATpick by importing tabs from Guitar Pro files.

The Guitar Pro format - files with a .gpx, .gp5, .gp4 or .gp3 file-extension, typically - is an extremely popular way to share "machine-readable" songs (i.e., to be read by composition, typesetting and other musical-score-processing software, including FATpick) in general, and for sharing guitar tabs in particular. Virtually any music composition software can be used to create or modify Guitar Pro files, and literally millions of these files are available in song-transcription archives and online tab-sharing sites.

6 Dependable Sources for High-Quality Guitar Pro Tabs

Musicians and hobbyists have been sharing song transcriptions online since before most people had even heard the expression "online community". Prior to the invention of the World Wide Web (in the mid-90s) dozens of well-established tab-sharing communities already existed on newsgroups, BBSs and FTP archives. This tradition doesn't just "live on" today, it's actively thriving. Now you'll find the transcription community on popular Facebook groups, subreddits and other forums, actively sharing not only guitar and bass tabs, but ukulele, banjo, even mandolin transcriptions through peer-to-peer archives and tab-sharing web sites.

CAUTION: While members of the FATpick team - as individuals - have found these resources useful based on their limited, personal experience, we can't vouch for their security or integrity. We have NOT thoroughly vetted ANY of these sources, and we don't have the bandwidth to commit to any sort of regular audit or review going forward. If you visit any of these sites, please use your own judgement and exercise caution. They are completely outside of our control and we bear no responsibility for their contents.

Here are a few places we've found to be a dependable source of high-quality tabs. Tab-sharing sites like these are an easy and convenient source for Guitar Pro transcriptions that you can import into FATpick and other music-processing software. Simply search for the songs you're interested in, download the corresponding gpx, gp5, gp4 or gp3 file, and open it in FATpick using the "Add Song" button at the top of the song search/browse screen.

  1. GProTab - a large database of mostly .gp5, .gp4 and .gp3 files, with a slightly buried feature to preview the songs in an online (web-based) player. While the design looks refreshingly clean the user interface is little clunky in practice. For example, make sure to set the search type to the right field when you perform a search: you can search either "By Artist" or "By Song", but not both at the same time. If you enter a song title without selecting "by song", or an artist name without selecting "by artist", you won't find what you're looking for. But once you've drilled down to an individual song, there is a handy summary of the relevant stats (file type, size, etc.) and a link to download the file that's obvious and direct.

  2. Ultimate Guitar - online (web-based) tab player with a large and well regarded collection of song transcriptions in several formats (GuitarPro, plain-text ASCII tabs and chords, some PowerTab files, etc.). Specify the "Pro" tab type to limit your results to Guitar Pro files. Most files are available for download, but the link is a little bit hidden. Scroll to the bottom of the page (below the tab preview viewer) and look for the button labelled "DOWNLOAD GUITAR PRO TAB".

  3. Ultimate-Tabs.com - Includes both GuitarPro and plain-text (ASCII-tab and chord+lyrics) transcriptions. The GuitarProd files are download-only - there's no preview or online viewer - but you can see a list of tracks and other basic stats. Be sure to use the Guitar-Pro category to limit your results to Guitar Pro files.

  4. GuitarProTabs.net - Large database of Guitar Pro tabs in the gp5, gp4 and gp3 format - incidentally a much larger proportion in the .gp4 format than most sites - available for direct download. A plain-text (ASCII tab) preview is provided for each tab. It's not clear if this collection is actively maintained, but it's a large repository of high quality, if slightly older, tabs.

  5. GtpTabs.com - seems to be exclusively GuitarPro files, largely in the .gp5, .gp4 and .gp3 format, that you can download directly. There is no preview or online viewer available, but some of the songs are linked to YouTube performances of the song that you may find instructive. It's possible this site is a mirror or copy of the tabs found on GProtab.net (mentioned above), and it includes prominent affiliate links for the Guitar Pro software itself, but not in a shady or spammy way.

  6. Tab files are discussed on many guitar-related subreddits, but there are a few that were explicitly created to share tabs, notably r/Tabs, its bass equivalent r/BassTabs and the incentivized variant r/PaidTabs, where you can offer a bounty for transcriptions of a specific song.

This list barely scratches the surface of what's available. There are hundreds if not thousands other sources for GuitarPro tabs, including other tab-sharing sites, massive archives on file-sharing services, and smaller, one-off personal collections. If you can't find the song you're looking for one of the sites above, try adding keywords like "gp5" or "gp3" to a general internet search on the artist's name or song title.

It's impossible for our team to monitor even a fraction of what's available, so please let us know if you have a favorite source you'd like to recommend, or care to comment on any of the sources listed above. We'd be happy to incorporate your feedback or recommendations.

What are Guitar Pro Files?

Guitar Pro is a sophisticated application for editing and typesetting musical compositions. Guitar Pro is used to create, preview and publish multi-track musical scores in much the same way that Microsoft Word or Google Docs is used to create and publish formatted text documents.

Songs created in Guitar Pro can be shared with others by saving the composition to a file - either in the application's native format or (via export) any of several alternative formats. A "Guitar Pro File" is simply a musical score written in Guitar Pro's native file format. The modern version of this format uses the .gpx file extension, but older versions of the format - files with a .gp5, .gp4 or .gp3 file extension - are very common.

Since it is such a popular tool, Guitar Pro files have become the conventional way to share musical compositions in a "machine readable" format. Much like most word processing software can read and write files in .docx/.doc format used by Microsoft Word. Virtually all music composition or typesetting software will both read songs from and write songs to .gpx, .gp5, and .gp3 files.

FATpick
Also see more posts tagged , or .
Or, go to the latest posts from the Liner Notes blog.