Getting Started on Guitar? Can’t figure out that riff? Cheat with Guitar Pro!
One of the best tools I’ve been introduced to in the last few years turned out to be one of the best self guitar lessons I’ve ever had, and one of the best ways to remember a cool riff as it develops. Teach yourself guitar by learning how to play your favorite songs. And there’s a world of downloads to keep you entertained.
Guitar Pro is essentially a program that will bring a guitar tab to life. It’s powered by a MIDI engine that will read and playback the notes while you follow along with the tab. For those of us who don’t always practice with a metronome, it breaks down the tough runs for us. Although the backup band isn’t that fantastic (come on, it’s a basic MIDI engine), it will still keep you in time and involved in the song. With multiple instruments and tracks playing simultaneously, you can just focus on the leads or solidify the rhythm track. It’s even pretty neat to go see the vocal or keyboard parts transcribed for guitar. Stare in amazement as you see your favorite Dragon Force song being shredded out by a computer.Once you’ve acquired the software, head over to a reputable guitar tab site. I recommend Ultimate-Guitar.com for its accurate tabs, constantly updated tab list and lack of “payment required” access. In other words, the guitar tabs are free as of this posting. Run a search for your favorite song (and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!) You’ll see Guitar Pro files listed with ratings on song accuracy. Download, rock.
Guitar Pro is also an excellent arrangement tool for songwriters. With a little to no knowledge of written music, you can quickly pick it up and compose that masterpiece that’s been begging to be unleashed upon the masses. Use Guitar Pro to mesh your riffs into songs rather than random thoughts, and add accompanying instruments behind it. You might be surprised at how well a part sounds on piano rather than electric guitar. Or a vocal line played on a trumpet. What ever it is, it’s worth the time spent experimenting and amusing yourself. You can even transpose your songs into different keys to see if down-tuning really is the way to go, or write a song out in an alternate guitar tuning a la Kashmir. It even has guitar tricks like whammy (take it 3 octaves up if you’d like), artificial harmonics, slides, hammer-on’s and even pick scrapes.
So stop making excuses not to practice, or take up that New Year’s resolution before it’s forgotten about. Either way, Guitar Pro is going to be the tool to get you to the next step.