Liner Notes
Red Guitar Pick
The FATpick Blog

Deployed Friday 15 April 2022 for macOS, Linux, and Windows PCs, release 2.5.6 includes both a handful of medium-sized new features (some in direct response to end-user requests) and some bug fixes (in at least one case, a fairly significant one) and other minor enhancements.

As always, the most recent version of FATpick can be downloaded directly from fatpick.com/get.

See below for a detailed description of changes introduced in this release.

New Features

Shuffle Songs

To help users explore the growing catalog of shared songs, the song search interface now includes the option to "Shuffle Songs".

Shuffle Songs to randomize song list
Shuffle Songs: When this button is active, FATpick's song search will list the matching songs in a random order.

When Shuffle Songs is enabled matching songs will be listed in a random order to allow serendipity to guide users to new or undiscovered songs.

See this post for details.

Flip Strings

FATpick users now have the option to reverse the order in which strings appear on the tablature. When flipped, strings on the tab will be listed in the opposite of their regular order. For example, the standard 6-string guitar tuning of EADGBe normally appears as (reading top to bottom on the tab) e, B, G, D, A, E. When "Flip Strings" is active, strings will appear in the order E, A, D, G, B, e (again reading top to bottom).

Bass tablature in FATpick's tab player - normal modeBass tablature in FATpick's tab player - strings flipped
Flip Strings: The same tab, in normal mode (first) and with strings flipped (second).

Left-handed guitarists that play Jimi-Hendrix-style - with a right-handed guitar flipped over - and mandolin players looking to expand their repertoire with similar (but upside-down) bass guitar transcriptions are two use cases that might benefit from this new capability.

See this post for details.

Duplicate Import Detection

As the number of shared songs has grown, we've seen an increase in the frequency with which users attempt to add a custom song that's already been shared by another user.

To reduce the number of duplicate songs, whenever a custom song is imported, FATpick will now check to see if an identical transcription has already been added and shared. If an identical score is found, users will be prompted to skip the import and immediately open the existing copy of the song.

Duplicate Song Detected
Duplicate Song Warning: When a duplicate song is found on import, users are given the option to immediately open the previously-shared song.

Note that this is an option but not a requirement. If a redundant import is detected you will be given the option to abort the import process and open the previously shared version of the song, but you may also choose to import a duplicate copy of the song anyway.

Notes Ahead / Notes Behind Hints

Some tracks in FATpick's catalog are "sparsely populated" with notes. That is, for a given song, an individual track may be silent for a bit at the beginning, at the end, or in the middle of the song. Sometimes this means that no notes are visible on the tablature at a given resolution (zoom level) for that track at a given time, but will only appear later on in the song.

The "progress bar" - the zoomed-out view of the full song tablature that appears at the bottom of FATpick's song player - is one way to recognize this scenario, but this condition might not be obvious, especially to new users.

Notes Ahead/Notes Behind Warnings
Notes Ahead/Behind Hints: When the current tablature view is empty, hints are displayed for earlier or later notes.

FATpick will now automatically display a hint reading "Notes Ahead" or "Notes Behind" (or both) to help users recognize this "tab is currently empty but more notes are coming" case. That is, if the main tablature view does not currently include any note bubbles (at the current resolution), but more notes are pending (later in the song), a warning will appear just below that tab to remind you that more notes will be coming later in the song. Similarly, if the current tab is empty but there were notes for this track earlier in the song, as "Notes Behind" message will appear. If both statements are true (you're viewing a blank period within the track but there are both earlier and later notes) then both messages will appear.

Bug Fixes and Minor Enhancements

Fix for Unplayable Tracks

Previously the uncommon case in which a playable (instrument-based) track appears after an unplayable (percussion) track in the originally imported song file could lead to the last-listed playable to track being unselectable. I.e., in these cases even if the final track was of a normally-playable type (e.g., a 6-string guitar transcription), it may not have been possible to select that track to view and (subsequently play) in FATpick's main "gameplay" tab player.

This issue has been fixed. All "playable" (instrument-based) tabs are now selectable, no matter where they appear in the track listing relative to non-playable (typically percussion) tracks.

Accurate String Weights

The horizontal lines representing the strings on your guitar visible in the tab player (as well as the fretboard reference, scale explorer and other related views) have always included various "hints" to help you recognize and orient yourself to the relationship between the tablature (or tool) view and positions on your actual guitar. For example, the tablature displayed when playing a song uses a thicker line at the bottom of the tab and a thinner line at the top of the tap to represent the relative gauge (thickness) of the actual strings on your guitar.

Historically these variations in line-weight were "hard-coded" to the most common case (by far) in which your instrument is tuned (reading bottom to top) from low to high. For guitar, bass and related instruments, this assumption is true almost all of the time. E.g., it's true for the standard tuning (EADGBe for guitar, EADG for bass) as well as Drop D (DADGBe for guitar, DAGB for bass) and most other tunings you'll encounter.

However, this assumption is not universally true. For example "re-entrant tunings" in which some strings are tuned to a higher pitch that the following strings are common for ukulele and mandolin. E.g., the standard "Concert Tuning" for ukulele sets the first string to a higher pitch than the others - G4, C4, E4, A4. Previously this tuning would still have been displayed with the first string (G4) thicker than the rest (C4,E4,A4), despite having a higher pitch.

Starting with release 2.5.6, FATpick will now accurately scale string weights to the open tuning of the corresponding string on your instrument. E.g., for the gCEA ukulele concert tuning the first strings (high-G) will be thinner than the second, since G4 has a higher pitch than C4.

New Auto-Discovery Chord Types

Four new chord families - sub(b2), 6sus, M7sus, and 13sus - have been added to the automatic chord discovery. Annotations for these chords will now appear on song transcriptions when appropriate.

Better Support for Inverted Chords

The specific inversion (base note) is now displayed when chord annotations are active.

For example, the C major chord on guitar might be played as:

  • X32010 - "standard" C Major, with C in the bass (-CEGCE)
  • 032010 - C Major with E in the bass, a.k.a., C/E (ECEGCE)
  • 332010 - C Major with G in the bass, a.k.a., C/G (GCEGCE)

Historically (while the correct fingering would have been displayed) FATpick would have annotated all 3 of these chords as just "C Major".

FATpick's chord annotations now identify the specific inversion (bass note) being used. For example 032010 is now annotated as "C/E" (C with bass E).

UI Updates

  • The logic that renders the "progress bar" - the full-song-duration mini-tablature view that appears at the bottom of the main game play screen - has been tweaked slightly to improve visibility and readability when the app window is vertically-constrained (i.e., shorter than usual).

  • Various image buttons and other icons have been redesigned for greater consistency and in anticipation of an upcoming design overhaul. You may notice small design variations between this and subsequent releases and the screenshots found in older documentation.

  • Tooltip copy and display logic were modified for a couple of screens, notably Gameplay Settings and Song Search.

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