Guitar TAB and Chord diagrams


Welcome to the forum!
Did you read this thread from the beginning?
The guitarists among us are all more or less impatiently waiting for the guitar features to be released, and it has been made clear in several posts that this won’t happen in 2018, but is likely to happen in the next major release. Concerning alternate tunings and “other fretted instruments tab”, this has been mentioned in one of Daniel’s posts above in this thread and is in the making. As for the “idea functionality”, several users simply create an “ideas flow” and deactivate it so it’s not displayed in the layout(s).

What I would like to add to the wishlist are capo chords in addition to sounding chords. One lane or mark up would be showing the chord position symbol, the other one shows the chord symbol of the chord that is actually sounding, e.g. capo 5 E position corresponds to A major chord. To differentiate, allow each “chord type” to be adjusted to taste: color, typeface, mark up etc
Let the user decide how he wants them to be displayed, e.g. one above the other or one behind the other.

Further, I’d love to have a configurable fretboard graphic!
Following some suggestions how to configure the graphic itself:
– Number of strings
– Entire fretboard to the soundhole/the end of the neck with configurable number of frets/partial frets (when frets reach round the sound hole)
– Number of frets when displaying only a fraction of the neck; “open neck” graphics
– Several heads from electric (Stratocaster type) via classical to acoustic – or without any head, just the saddle

  • beginning of body shape, depending on guitar type: 12th fret on classical, 14th fret on acoustic etc. Not the entire outline, just a part of the guitar body shoulders. Or maybe a slider enables the user to define how much of the guitar body is visible.
    – Orientation dots yes/no and where: (3rd), 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th [double dots], 15th etc.
    – Ability to save as template for repeated use; allow several templates for several instruments
    – Orientation: From vertical to horizontal and anything in between
    – Provide necessary parameters so users can import their own graphics and use as follows:

Once the graphic itself is configured, it can be used to show
– scales
– roots depending on the scale family
– comparative positions
– chords
– exercises

Each of them is configurable and would probably come predefined as round, filled dots for notes of a scale and rectangles for the roots, e.g., but remain modifiable by the user.

I’m not planning to create an iBook with the help of Dorico, so I don’t need them to be interactive and play actual notes when you click a dot (but hey – why not! Give it a thought). I’m interested to be able to not have to use Illustrator and the likes to create educational graphics.

@Daniel, out of sheer curiosity:

Do I perceive a hint that you are planning to realize saz, oud (well, no frets) – say: oriental instruments and makamat??

Still learning to use the software. The time is well invested. I prefer to know the software before being stunned by another myriad of new functions and possibilities. It’s like growing with the software…

This is my first post on the Dorico/Steinberg forum.

I’m looking forward to trying Dorico and providing feedback to the development team.

Tablature notation is essential to my teaching and publishing so I won’t be able to seriously use Dorico until tablature features are in reasonably full bloom. Nevertheless, with development on the horizon or just starting, I suppose it’s a good time to voice my needs and hopes.

Tab staff entry

For simple tablature projects I generally I record in real-time onto a treble clef … and generate tablature from that notation.

• For complex tablature projects (and up-the-neck material) I like the option of entering tablature numbers directly on the tablature staff—as we can in Sibelius, and Guitar Pro—and generate standard clef notation from the tablature.
Main reason: One can always accurately generate clef notation from tablature. But going the other way round one must engage the tedious task of setting the correct string assignments. Subsequently, if edits are not synchronized (between tab and clef) and if changes must be made in clef notation only, then new tablature must be generated after every edit. At such a juncture there are two options: again hand edit the string assignments, or rely on software that intelligently looks at strings assignments before generating tablature and tries to preserve them. Otherwise, regarding string assignements, it’s like starting the measure or phrase anew.

Rhythmic notation

• I need the option of flat beams outside the staff, above or below.
• Independent beaming rules and the option to manually make beaming differ from the clef notation.

Scordatura playback

• Scordatura is “standard” notation that depicts the finger placement on a retuned instrument. Thus tablature from scordatua will display correctly, but playback from the scordatura staff will be off pitch for notes that pertain to retuned strings. There should be some mechanism to account for this descrepancy and playback the tablature with the correct pitches. I haven’t seen this feature anywhere.

Partial capo

Partial capoing techniques have become quite popular over the last 20 years or so. They provide a way of emulating open tunings … but without returning! There’s no consensus on how to address open uncapoed strings and open partial capoed strings, so that’s a big issue. And with partial capo notation there’s a playback concern roughly parallel to that of scordatura.

I’ve written an in depth article on partial capo here

Here’s a recording in Partial DADGAD

And I’ve created Sound Thinking, an interactive fingerboard encyclopedia that supports partial capo. (Note that it requires that you have FlashPlayer installed and allow it to run.) Clicking this link will open Sound Thinking to a “scene” that compares Partial DADGAD (355533) to true DADGAD capoed 555555

More info on Sound Thinking scenes here.

Looking forward to developments!



Thanks for your list of requirements, scorster. We’re not yet working on guitar notation, but it’s definitely something we expect to be working on soon, so this is helpful. You’ll be glad to know that things like partial capo and handling of instruments with non-chromatic fingerboards are already in our plans.

Hallo zusammen.

Beg your pardon for writing in German.

Zu meiner Enttäuschung über das fortdauernde Fehlen von Tablatur, Akkorddiagrammen kam zuletzt das ungläubige Staunen über das Produkt-, Upgrademanagement des Steinberg Teams.
Wie so vielen anderen Käufern der ersten Stunde war mir das Team um Daniel, ihr Ansatz sehr sympathisch.
Alle hatten letztlich die Hoffnung, dass es im Laufe der Zeit nach und nach Verbesserungen geben würde.
Und dies ist ja auch eindrucksvoll geschehen.
Es wurde dem Nutzer/ Käufer mit Dorico ein vollwertiges Notenschreibprogramm mit allen zukünftigen Updates versprochen.
Nun wird ein neues kostenpflichtiges Produkt platziert, das die Arbeitskraft der Entwickler derart in Beschlag nehmen musste, dass die Wünsche und Bedürfnisse der ersten Nutzer( ua Tabulatur Griffdiagramme) bis in das Jahr 2019 hinein , beiseite geschoben wurden.

Mit Verlaub, das geht mir gegen den Strich, um nicht ausfallend zu werden.
Neue Kunden gewinnt man so nicht, von den Heerscharen professioneller Filmmusikschaffenden einmal abgesehen.
Den Lehrer, der Unterrichtsmaterial für seine Schüler kreieren will, schreckt man damit ab, und nimmt billigend in Kauf,
dass er zu den alteingesessenen Platzhirschen finnischer Herkunft wechselt.

So , das musste ich mal loswerden.

Viele Grüße,

I need guitar chord diagrams now. I am trying to make a clean break from Sibelius to Dorico. Together with my associates André van Haren and Anthony Moran, we are publishing original hymns and psalms at and We are using both standard guitar chords and solfege (do-re-mi) chords. Please make guitar chord diagrams a top “numero uno” priority. You have many praise and worship musicians out here in the world awaiting.

Would like to see a supirior tab-notation solution in Dorico in the near future. This is the last feature left I need to completly switch to Dorico :slight_smile:


Dorico 3 / 2019

To be clear: we have not announced anything about the timescale for a Dorico “3” or what features it might contain, so this is just Eddo’s own speculation.

We know how important guitar notation is, but we are also committed to doing it properly, and so at this stage we cannot provide a specific estimate for when you will see it.

I’m so pleased now with Dorico, after a year of semi-frustration, and my annoying complaining, now I’m in love. Making beautiful scores in it. Well done to the team. Thank you.

I as well still need to have Sibelius on my desk, and cant switch fully to Dorico because of the chord diagram option ( I think it’s the final holdout!).
For educational purposes, which I write alot of, it is essential. Also, when the chord diagram boxes come in, it would be great if they wouldn’t be limited to one finger per string, as I think Sibelius did in an early release. These boxes are used by us guitarists not only for chords, but for scale positions as well. It is essential that we can put multiple fingerings in these boxes, on the same string.
Another, less essential feature, but one that would surely grab a small but dedicated slice of the market, is the option for different symbols on the strings. The late, great guitarist and teacher, Ted Greene, used to use different symbols in his chord charts to indicate a possible different fingering, or a melodic move inside a harmonic context. Usually it was ‘o’ and ‘x’ that he would add in, to indicate the next place to put your finger.
He usually wrote it out by hand, but here is someone’s transcription of it in notation software:
Doesn’t necessarily need to be Xs and Os, but some symbols of showing where to put the finger next. numbers would also be great, but might get confusing as it might get mixed up with fingering and/or scale degree or chord tone.

Thanks for everything!

Thanks for these examples of chord diagrams with additional symbols to show alternative fingerings. We’ll bear this in mind!

Hello folks!

Is there an update on exactly when tablature will be available in Dorico? I give private music lessons, and about half of my students play guitar and bass. I’m currently using Noteflight, Guitar Pro and Overture 5 (which feels like a beta test). With tablature and chord diagrams, I’d switch to Dorico without a second thought!

Thank you!

It won’t be before v3, and there’s no specific release date for v3 (2.2.10 only came out 48 hours ago). Even then, no promises have been made re: v3.0.

I’m only a hobbyist guitarist but I’d like to add, whether it will be considered to provide support for import of native Guitar Pro project files, like MuseScore does…? Just curious…

The Guitar Pro file format is published. On the basis of a quick look, it’s organized in a similar way to MusicXML.

But apparently Guitar Pro 5 has MusicXML output as well, which makes writing a converter app rather pointless (unless the Guitar Pro XML export is buggy - I don’t know anything about the software)

In any case, apparently there already is a free converter from Guitar Pro to MusicXML - it’s called MuseScore!

In the longer term, when the Dorico plugin capability gets up and running, this sort of file importer would probably be a good non-trivial use for it. If you put this sort of function directly into an application, you could get “locked in” to keeping Dorico updates in step with Guitar Pro updates or losing the functionality when the two get out of sync with each other, whereas plugins can be updated on their own separate release schedule.

Ok - thanks Rob. Interesting; hadn’t thought of it like that (Dorico getting ‘locked in’ etc…).

Will keep an occasional eye on how things progress here.


As we’ve said on a number of occasions, guitar notation is one of our top development priorities right at the moment, and we are actively working on it. I can’t make promises about future versions of the software because software development is hard™ and it’s best not to make public statements about things until they’re basically implemented. However, in as much as we can be sure about what the next major version of Dorico will contain, we can be sure that it will contain guitar tab, guitar chord diagrams, and more features for classical guitar notation. I don’t anticipate that we will be able to write a Guitar Pro file importer for the next version, but if there’s sufficient demand for it (and certainly there are plenty of GP files out there) then I wouldn’t rule it out for the future.

Since guitar TAB has bubbled up again, I have a request:

I am not a guitar player and have had to do my first translation of a note-based guitar part to TAB notation. I used Finale to more or less “automate” this and noticed a feature Finale did not have that I thought I’d request if the Dorico Team can include it when you implement TAB notation in Dorico.

I find for some techniques (if I am not mistaken) such as hammer-on’s both notes need to be on the same string. When these notes are translated to TAB in Finale they may end up on different strings. So would it be possible in Dorico to have a means to “flip” a note from one string to another and have the program correctly translate the fret number to produce the original pitch?

I hope I have made myself clear. Many thanks for whatever you can do.

Hey Derrek,

In addition to your suggestion, hammer-ons and pull-offs are ascending and descending slurs respectively. It is generally applicable and technically comfortable to perform a slur of a P4 in the first position (a bit of a stretch) and larger intervals in higher positions. Large slurs are less common but they are achievable…

Having said all of that, if the notation is inputted correctly, the Dorico team could write a law that ‘notes marked with a slur remain on the same string when transcribed to TAB’.

This is simplifying things a bit as sometimes composers write slurred intervals that are impossible to play due to size or the demands of other voices in the passage.

Another challenge for transcribing to TAB is how intelligently the software can determine the position to play the music in. Guitar notation can provide string and finger indications, and I will be interested to see whether the Dorico TAB transcription will a). be able to take existing fingering indications into account and b). Assume logical position selections based on the range of a passage.

I guess that it is prudent to also add that it is uncommon to find fingering indications in the notation of rock music. This is where the transcription to TAB engine intelligence can really save a lot of time…

Yes, Derrek, you need not worry: you will be able to move a note from one string to another, and Dorico will recalculate a valid fret number for you. However, because moving one note to another string will not automatically adjust the string for other notes sounding at the same time, you’ll still have to take responsibility for making sure that the overall shape of the chord or texture is playable by a guitarist.