Guitar tablature question

I have a query with the horizontal spacing of tablature fret numbers on the tablature stave. The numbers are currently left aligned which creates uneven spacing when I am using double and single digits on the same string. I would like them to be centred by default. I have included examples created in Finale which is what I wish to achieve and Dorico which is what I am getting currently. I am hoping that there is some global setting because quite frankly it looks a mess at the moment. Thanks.

Dorico Example.pdf (71.2 KB)
Finale Example.pdf (145.6 KB)

I’m afraid there’s no setting for this in Dorico at the moment, and it’s not something I can honestly say I’ve ever noticed when poring over published tablature. I will ask my more guitar-literate colleagues to pull a few scores down from their shelves and let me know what they find.

We probably can’t add an option for this imminently, but in principle it’s certainly something we could add in future.

Thanks Daniel. I can obviously use the voice column X offset to move individual notes, but it is fiddly and time consuming. It seems an oversight to me not to have the fret numbers centre aligned. Where this becomes most obvious is when single and double digit fret numbers are present next to each other (on the same string in particular) as shown in my example. It would make much more sense that they should be centre aligned by default.

Is there any news on centre alignment for tab numbers yet? It seems a real error having numbers left aligned for tablature and is not something I encountered with Finale where they were centred. When mixing lots of single and double digit numbers, particularly 16th notes, the lack of even spacing is unsightly and means a huge amount of editing with voice column X offset to get a visually appealing score.

I’m afraid it’s not something we’ve been able to look at yet, but I will try and bump it up our priority list.

I was just looking at the Finale example a little more closely, and actually I don’t think two digit fret numbers are actually centred, and indeed single-digit fret numbers are left-aligned as they are in Dorico:

So I’m a bit unsure as to what we should actually do here. Do you want single-digit numbers to be centred under noteheads? (Finale doesn’t do that.) And do you want two-digit numbers to be centred under noteheads? (Again, it doesn’t seem as if Finale actually does that.)

Hi Daniel, Now that you have cleverly deconstructed it I can see that Finale only gives that appearance. It makes sense for tab numbers to be centred though. This becomes most apparent when there are lots of single and double digit numbers in quick succession - endless bars of sixteenth notes! You can see that under the current regime left alignment creates very uneven spacing. It would be great if centre alignment could be a default or at the very least an option. And it would save me a lot of work! Thanks for getting back to me. Nick

Interesting… so what is Dorico currently doing that gives the (differing) output shown in the OP’s example PDF’s.?

For me, I like the Finale example with its clean and even spacing. Having all numbers left-align (is the assumption.?) to the note stem, seems to give a desirable appearance - the numbers look to be ‘centred’ under the notehead, with even spacing between two-digit and single digit numbers; something that Dorico ‘appears’ to not be handling well.

I think it might just be the size of the text that is making the difference here - in the Finale excerpt shown the text is narrower, relative to the notehead size, and that might be why there is less effect on the spacing. Perhaps changing the text size or font in Dorico might get closer to what you’re after?

The font is the same in both examples. Arial Bold 8pt. The issue is simply one of alignment. Using a smaller font makes the numbers illegible.

If they’re 8pt in both programs, the numbers in Dorico are almost definitely larger than in Finale. For a fuller explanation, see:
tl;dr Try reducing the size in Dorico to 6.6pt and you’ll likely find that the numbers now match.

It seems to me that Finale left-aligns the vertical line of the 1, ignoring the left-diagonal protrusion, whereas Dorico (for better or worse) considers the entire width of the 1 glyph.

I don’t know how Finale would choose that alignment, however. I’d need a bigger sample size (i.e. a wider range of different fret numbers with one and two digits) to try to infer what Finale is actually doing.

The numbers are the same size. I’ve compared hard copies. The music stave is slightly smaller in Finale but as it’s a pdf it doesn’t necessarily translate well in the example above. However, I don’t wish to reduce the point size further. Students have previously complained that the numbers are illegible at reduced point sizes and I arrived at this size after a lot of consultation with them. I have changed the point size to a smaller size and the issue remains the same when using lots of single and double digits.

And I have all but abandoned Finale - it was simply to show more even alignment. Centre alignment would eliminate much of this problem.