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Old 04-12-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
ThTylrBllmn
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Tab Pro review?

I currently own Guitar Pro 6, would it be worth it to get Tab Pro as well in order to have access to tabs that might not be available for Guitar Pro?

What are the pros and cons of Tab Pro versus Guitar Pro?
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:00 PM   #2
fanapathy
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Tab pro tabs, are to my knowledge or in >99% of the cases, actually GP/ptb tabs. The tab pro tab listed when you browse tab are usually, if not always, duplicate of the one of the tabs you get with GP (likely the highest rated one). I think I just said the same thing twice.
Important to mention, the ratings for the tab pro is currently fake, as you can see they all have 5 stars.

I don't see why you would want Tab Pro if you have GP6, as GP6 can read powertab and have superior features

I think I got a free subscription in my PMs somewhere, might activate it and actually review it - though since it's a UG product they probably don't like negative comments on it on the site
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:46 AM   #3
zappp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanapathy
Tab pro tabs, are to my knowledge or in >99% of the cases, actually GP/ptb tabs. The tab pro tab listed when you browse tab are usually, if not always, duplicate of the one of the tabs you get with GP (likely the highest rated one). I think I just said the same thing twice.
Important to mention, the ratings for the tab pro is currently fake, as you can see they all have 5 stars.

I don't see why you would want Tab Pro if you have GP6, as GP6 can read powertab and have superior features

I think I got a free subscription in my PMs somewhere, might activate it and actually review it - though since it's a UG product they probably don't like negative comments on it on the site

we would actually love to get your feedback, good bad or neutral doesn't matter but we need a honest opinion.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:43 AM   #4
fanapathy
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^Feedback it is, then.

I have been checking out Tab Pro for a few days. As someone with good experience from various tabbbing and tab playback software, I will go over its functionality and usefulness.
This will be the review of the web app/flash player as well as a quick overview of the Tap Pro site in general, used on a regular laptop/computer - as I do not own a compatible phone or iPad/other device.


First impression

Initially, the design and layout of the site is stylish and modern. The search/browse feature is similar to the regular UG site.
You can choose from stuff like Top 100 tabs, genres, difficulty level and the most recent tabs. It's very user-friendly and easy to understand.

When you find the tab/song you want to play, you just click on it and it will bring up the Tab Pro player in your browser - which itself is very similar in to the tab playback software Go Playalong (as they are partnered with this product).


Tab player - functionality, limitations and issues

This is a tab player, not an editor. Its primary function is reading and playing back Guitar Pro files (.gp, .gp3-gp4-gp5-gpx), and probably PowerTab (.ptb) - however as the player does not state the original format, I cannot confirm if PowerTab versions are compatible.
This means you cannot edit the tab, fix errors, or re-arrange the tracks like you would in a tab editor. This is obviously very important to be aware of before signing up.

Tabs load at a fine speed (2-5 seconds on my average hardware) and playback is smooth. I haven't had any crashes except few listed .gpx based tabs do not load at all.

Interface is intuitive and simple. It will list all tracks, and you can choose which one you want to play along with. You have the typical play, pause, rewind and loop. You can mark a shorter section to loop, if you are practicing a riff.
You can of course adjust the volume, mute tracks and tweak the sounds of the tracks at a basic level.
There's a knob where you can change the pitch, limited to +-4 semitones. This is quite useful as for example if a tab is written in D standard, you can just change the pitch +2 and play along in standard tuning.
Next we have a zoom option, which is useful for enlarging or zooming out. The "knobs" themselves are a bit buggy and could use re-programming as they don't always go where you click.

Next we have the tempo function. Its range is unfortunately limited to a 50%-200% range, in my opinion 50% is often too fast if starting to learn a tricky riff/solo or otherwise new technique - and think that in a future version it should be capable of 25% or lower. On the high end, playing a song at double speed is typically not useful at all for most users.

Transpose function: You can transpose the tracks +- 11 semitones. This transposes the tab itself and not just the pitch. It will have typical problems for those who are familiar with such functions, and you'll often end up with ridiculous tabbing like this



Nothing new really, this happens in all tab players so the programming is probably tricky.


"Gimmicks"
-Visual fretboard. It's similar to fretboards in other software. It will highlight tab positioning on the fretboard. This might be useful to complete beginners if they don't understand how to read TAB and have trouble visualizing it. I have never found this useful, even less here as it won't say which actual note(s) you're playing and you it doesn't identify notes on the fretboard if you hover/click them.
-Game mode. Fundamental design is similar to Rocksmith/Guitar Hero etc and aims to make it more fun to play and possibly an easier transition for new guitarists who have played the games. It's hard to read the numbers on the strings in an average-speed song. I can't play along to this unless I already know the song.
I've called these features gimmicks as they look appealing but aren't very useful in practice.

Other than this, there's a countdown option and a settings button where you can enable a metronome and change some of the layout. Unless I overlooked something, there's not more functionality to speak of.

Sound

Sound is MIDI based for the most part. Distortion guitar sounds are alright, better than MIDI. Drums are very weak. For other instruments - unless the tab is written in MIDI, they will get a default tone of a weak clean guitar. The player can't read information from GP6 soundbanks, which can make .gpx tabs sound very bad.

I've checked out some of my own tabs on Tab Pro for reference, as I've written them I know exactly what they're supposed to be like.
Less common percussion instruments in modern music like Bongos/Congas, Tambourine, etc are not read properly and will not sound right.
Automations/variations like pan, volume or sound changes are completely ignored from what I've seen so far. Lyrics written in the vocal track aren't read/displayed.
I will not be surprised to get a low rating or a bad comment from a user coming from Tab Pro, as my efforts in effects and sound quality now sounds like a complete joke; sometimes far from the original song. If I could choose, I wouldn't want them available in the archive - that's how bad it is compared to the original tab - however I might just be spoiled from RSE2.

As GP6 is the leading tab editor at this point and the more advanced GPX format is growing in popularity, incompatibility and poor sound translation is likely to become a growing issue with Tab Pro.
The verdict on sound, therefore, is that it's not going to be great to use as a backing track for practice, at least not for Rock or Metal - particularly with the very weak drum kits.


Archive/Catalog

When browsing tabs, it will not display different versions nor ratings. The low/non-existing quality control results in that as a user you will eventually come across very poor and random tabs.

Also, a tab will not differentiate "Intro" or "Solo" as it is on the regular UG site. They're all attributed as full versions.

As a test, I went ahead and checked if the infamous tab "****in Richys" by Amon Amarth was there. Indeed it is, both Ver 1 and Ver 2. This is something that was joked around with in some threads on the site. It's not a real song by the band, it's actually a user who has uploaded some of his own random guitar riffs and horrible drum loops under the well known band name.



Search result on UG. The "5 star" TP tab is the same as the 1 stars. The tab itself can't really be explained with words.


Having the "World's largest tab catalog" is a quite nice sales pitch. This is in my opinion just not good enough for a product you pay for. Tab Pro archive should have high quality tabs and high quality tabs only.
The service needs way more moderation and quality control. I would greatly prefer an archive of 20,000 awesome tabs than 250,000+ tabs of random quality.


Summary

Tap Pro is an easily accessible product. It's suitable for people who want access to tabs from different locations and sources, as you could just log into your UG from any computer/device and use tab pro right away. That is convenient for people who travel a lot or don't want to have to bring their computer with them to use tabs.

It's generally beginner-friendly and has enough features to be way more preferable than ASCII tabs, however, a "Print tab" feature could be useful for some.
Tab pro suits the casual guitarist and the beginner. It's not for composing and probably has little value to advanced players mainly because you cannot edit tabs.
As people who are experienced in learning songs from tabs know, we often want to re-arrange fretting, correct wrong notes or compile a cover track - none of which you can do in Tab Pro.

Tab Pro uses tabs that are user-submitted and are already available on UG, therefore if you already have a tab editor/player compatible with most formats, you probably don't need this unless you strongly dislike downloading and opening tabs.
Personally, I wouldn't mind having this available on a smartphone or similar so that I could pull out a tab wherever I am - that would be pretty cool. Having GP6 and usually wanting to change tabs, transcribe or make my own tabs - I personally don't have a use for this.

Try the trial if interested in the product or if you're not interested in learning editing. I could see this being useful to a quite large group of users, as simplicity of apps and mobile devices are so popular these days and still growing in popularity. However, if you're a tab artist yourself or otherwise have good experience with using GP, PT, Tux - this most likely isn't for you.

Suggestions:

I understand that since you're playing back tabs on a web-interface, it cannot have advanced/large soundbanks as it would demand massive resources and bandwidth both ways. Sounds still need to be greatly improved in order to be able compete with other software's standard and for the tabs to be useful as decent backing tracks.

- Reading/understanding original format needs to be improved.

-"Speed trainer" function that gradually increases speed by a given % per loop is very useful.

- Basic editing options would be nice.

- "Tuner". Just something that plays the notes of the given tuning in the track so that the user can adjust their tuning to proper pitch.

- Printing option.

-"Save (Download) File" option.

- Moderate and get rid of awful tabs. A clumsy 1 bar intro doesn't give a good impression of a product that advertises "200,000+ high quality tabs"


That was a way longer write-up than intended. If I were to rate, I'd currently give this about 4.5/10.
I hope some users or developers found this review/feedback useful.

Cheers

Last edited by fanapathy : 04-18-2013 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:28 AM   #5
fanapathy
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I wanted to put an audio comparison clip in there but the post was already too long

This is a sample I made from one of my tabs - playing back the same tab-section first in Tab Pro, then in the original.



Now this is by no means a horrible example, but a general demonstration of difference and how TP fails to recognize/play backing instruments.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:53 PM   #6
sebsmoot
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fanapathy: great review. I was surprised that there are not many unbiased reviews of Tab Pro on the internet.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:44 PM   #7
ParteeGarcia
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If I buy Guitar Pro, will the tab pro files open in that?
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