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Thread: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

  1. #1

    Default There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    IMO, Tabledit is an awful program. It is a nerd program and is not intuitive. I am far from computer illiterate, but have spent many hours just learning to tab out simple songs, and as soon as I need to input something a little more advanced like triplets or a repeat it just frustrates the Hell out of me. I do not have time to learn all the bells and whistles just to tab out a song. It should be easier. This is 2021, not 1990. Isn't there a better program with a more intuitive graphic format interface? One that does not require a PH.D. in music or computer programming to use?

  2. #2
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Yes. There is something far better than tablature. It is standard notation. Difficulty level is extremely low, no Ph. D. required. Understood it when learning to read and write at six years old. Can read tablature, but standard notation has been a much more rewarding approach. Just saying...

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    I'll second Jacob's post above. I used Tab notation exclusively when I played guitar, because especially with fingerstyle playing there is more than one place to play the same note, and it helps figure out how someone is playing a certain tune.

    That still applies to a certain extent on mandolin. I remember when I was first learning mandolin it helped to see Tab notation of a tune, but I very quickly moved on to standard notation because I was playing "fiddle tunes" -- OldTime and Irish -- that were linear melodies, mainly in first position, and there is no ambiguity about where the notes are on the fingerboard.

    If you can read standard notation it opens up a gigantic trove of tunes you can find online, like the database on thesession.org for Irish, Scottish, and related traditional tunes. There is no Tab there, only standard notation (and ABC notation, a kind of shorthand ASCII version). Of course this also opens up the world of Classical music and other "World music." Any standard notation for violin can be played on mandolin.

    I use the free MuseScore program to import tunes in ABC or standard notation, where I can edit notes to match local versions of the tune. MuseScore also has a Tab function but I've never messed with it. Maybe someone else can comment on that if you still want to stick with Tab notation.

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacob View Post
    Yes. There is something far better than tablature. It is standard notation... Just saying...





    [When I want a tune, to call my own I do this:

    Go to
    - http://www.rudemex.co.uk/library/ABC/01tunelib_abc.php
    - or thesession.org
    - or abcnotation. com
    - + five other sites

    I copy the so, so, simple text-based .abc file and then paste it into mandolintab.net

    Then I print out the notation-with-TAB at the local post office.
    Then I paste the the same so, so, simple text-based .abc file into a free reader, TunebookSD for iPhone.
    Now I can hear the tune like hearing a midi file, and see a copy of notation and TAB.

    The printout goes into one of my numbered pre-repertoire folders, with pencilled notes for chords/status/like/danceability/difficult right hand melodic phrases circled.


    Now I listen to a couple of YouTube vids for rhythmic inspiration.

    And a very short time later (15 minutes) I get my pick and my octave mandolin and practice the hell out of the tune. ]
    Last edited by Simon DS; Oct-20-2021 at 8:49am.

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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    I am with Jacob and foldedpath on this one. I actually used Musescore a few days ago to create mandolin TAB for a tune I had written and posted over on the SAW Group - The Eachaig Jig. I had a couple of requests for the notation in TAB or abc. I have not used abc in a long time and only use TAB if someone asks for it. It was easy to create the TAB stave on Musescore, foldedpath, as I just added a new stave formatted as Mandolin TAB (it is an option in the Instruments selection) then copied and pasted the standard notation into the new TAB stave and up it popped! I believe it can also be done by linking two staves at the start of note insertion, making one standard and the other TAB and then as you input the notation it also creates the TAB. This tip was given to me by JL277z in the SAW Group. Standard notation is just what it says: it is a standard which is transferable across instruments.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  9. #6

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerchap2 View Post
    IMO, Tabledit is an awful program. It is a nerd program and is not intuitive. I am far from computer illiterate, but have spent many hours just learning to tab out simple songs, and as soon as I need to input something a little more advanced like triplets or a repeat it just frustrates the Hell out of me. I do not have time to learn all the bells and whistles just to tab out a song. It should be easier. This is 2021, not 1990. Isn't there a better program with a more intuitive graphic format interface? One that does not require a PH.D. in music or computer programming to use?
    I don’t mean to be flip here but get a piece of staff paper and write it out yourself. Even better start working on your ear, the time you are spending on the computer can be spent on the fretboard. There are programs that are more powerful like Sibelius but I think they have a pretty steep learning curve and again anytime you spend getting the paper right is time you could’ve spent playing the instrument.

    Or pay someone to do it.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

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    Registered User Pete Braccio's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    I personally write out what I want in ABC format into a text file. Then, I import that into TablEdit to get tabs.
    Pete Braccio

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    Registered User Willi Bahrenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Personally, I use TuxGuitar. Its free and relatively uncomplicated (triplets? Piece of cake). It's got its quirks and you won't be able to compose an opera with it, but for mapping out a fiddle tune it's perfectly adequate.

  12. #9

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    I can't use or view tef files as I don't use MS-Windows (my O.S. is linux).
    I start with abc files (session.org, etc.), or a standard score (in which case
    I translate it to abc), then through a script file I wrote (that basically translate
    to lilypond format and change some of the defaults of lilypond) I can
    output tablatures for the guitar, the tenor guitar, the mandolin and the ukulele.
    And I do it all from the keyboard (I hate using the mouse).
    lilypond is open source and free
    https://lilypond.org/

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    During my life thus far as a mandolinner there has been whole revolutions in the technology of how we can do stuff. How we listen to music, how we learn about mandolin news, how we talk to each other about mandolins, how we get and learn new music, so many things.

    And yet, it often means a lot of stuff and trouble gets in the way of our pickin' time.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
    funny....

  14. #11
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    I understand OP’s question is about software, not tablature vs. standard notation. I agree OP should consider learning standard notation if he or she doesn’t know it already.

    More on point to OP’s question: I’ve used numerous music writing softwares, and Tabledit is still my go to, but that’s just a personal preference and weighted by my familiarity with the program. There are many other options available if you hate Tabledit, but be forewarned: All will have a learning curve, whether you’re writing in standard notation or tablature. The program cannot read your mind so you will have to click some buttons or something to tell it you want a triplet, or a grace note, a slide, a hammer-on, a key or tempo change, etc.

    I find that doing such things in Tabledit is relatively easy by clicking buttons on the toolbars.

    I may be wrong, but I think the best you can hope for with a post like this are opinions from folk who have a personal preference for one software or another (aside from non sequiturs about ham sandwiches or the virtues of standard notation), and, in the end, you’ll find that all the music writing softwares will have a nice learning curve for making note value distinctions such as dots, triplets, trills, etc.
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  16. #12

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. Yes, standard notation is best, and I am working on learning it as I have time, but at this time I am playing with a band that does old time music and can read TAB readily. So it is an interim measure. I have tried a couple of the other programs suggested, and find that as some have said, they all have their issues. MuseScore seems the most intuitive to me, but I am still having some issues with it.

    So thanks to all for the responses. I certainly came to the right place.

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    Registered User Willi Bahrenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    So, all's well that ends well, then! I was fearing some of the comments might have come across as a little patronizing, I'm glad you took it so well

    Here's a solo for Little Georgia Rose I just finished with TuxGuitar. I'm throwing this in for everyone to do as they please with it.

    And it has standard notation, too!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Little_Georgia_Rose.pdf  

  19. #14
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Mandolin Cafe has a large number of tunes already available on TablEdit. That might make things a bit simpler:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/te/sear...rder=A&submit=

  20. #15

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerchap2 View Post
    IMO, Tabledit is an awful program. It is a nerd program and is not intuitive. I am far from computer illiterate, but have spent many hours just learning to tab out simple songs, and as soon as I need to input something a little more advanced like triplets or a repeat it just frustrates the Hell out of me. I do not have time to learn all the bells and whistles just to tab out a song. It should be easier. This is 2021, not 1990. Isn't there a better program with a more intuitive graphic format interface? One that does not require a PH.D. in music or computer programming to use?
    Do you have all of these items solidly under your fingers so you can use them on the fly to improvise on the mandolin: major scale for every key in the first position (ALL intervals across all 4 strings), chord scales, double stops (and inverted double stops) across the entire fret board, modal scales, minor blues scale, minor chords, minor 7 chords, passing chords, scale patterns such as broken 3rds.

    If not, do not spend another second wasted on tabbing out songs! You need to focus on learning how to play the mandolin. I wasted so many years on mandolin activities that did nothing to improve my musicianship. BTW, I have GuitarPro software and it's awesome for tabbing out songs (but it was a waste of my time). There is so much other mandolin/music knowledge that I did not list and so much more to learn!

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  22. #16
    Registered User mmuussiiccaall's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Download a tab that has a lot of the things that baffle you and then work backwards by studying how the author accomplished the programming.

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Relio View Post

    ...If not, do not spend another second wasted on tabbing out songs! ...
    I agree, you can waste a lot of time replicating work that other mandolinists are also doing tabbing out tunes, but then you hear this vid below and you think,

    ahhh, I really need to TAB this tune out, like right now!


    https://youtu.be/_UFREO0qF3U

  24. #18
    Registered User Rickker's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Whether there is something better is a matter of opinion. There is a learning curve with all of them. What I really like in TablEdit is the audio playback, so you can hear exactly how it is supposed to sound. Great for learning unknown tunes or arrangements with tricky timing. Anyway, I would encourage the OP to hang in. I have found learning TablEdit was well worth it. …..Rickker

  25. #19
    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    As the saying goes: "Everyone to his taste!" Or her taste. In Latin: "De gustibus non est disputandum." Look: not all software is for all people, and some folks just have a hard time grasping certain types of computer interfaces, or certain ways of inputting data. In my opinion -- and believe me, it is an opinion shared by many! -- TablEdit is a fine program for writing tablature, and I write here in defense of it.

    For those who suggest switching to standard notation, and one of the MANY programs that support standard notation (e.g. Sibelius, MuseScore, Finale, Forte, etc.), I can only say that both tab and standard notation have their place in the music world. If you choose to abandon tab in favor of notation (I don't), then fine: do so. But don't blame TablEdit for being a tab-centric program, and don't try to compare it with notation-centric programs. That confuses apples with oranges!

    No, TablEdit is not "an awful program." Among the tab-centric programs, Tabledit is one of the very best, so far as I'm concerned. I have no problems with the user interface. But then, I've been using it for many years, and am accustomed to all its idiosyncracies. Those of you who routinely use word processors, or spreadsheets, or databases, or other common-but-complicated software know that all of these powerful programs have various idiosyncrasies to master, and there is usually a learning curve before you can use them fluidly. Just because you find data entry awkward, at least at first, is not a very good reason to blame the program, per se. In the case of tablature, it can range from pretty simple to highly complex (a characteristic shared with std. notation, I might add). A program that supports all the complexities of tab, like TablEdit, needs a great many features and supporting menus and special keys. TablEdit has all those. If you find it hard to learn as a novice 'tabber,' that might be the reason. I'd urge you to stick with it, and practice tabbing a number of familiar tunes. And look at the tunes others have tabbed, and all the fancier features they may have used. You can pick up lot that way. And don't ever forget to read the manual. TablEdit has a large Help file, with tutorials and a searchable index. Be sure to install and use the Help file!

    Someone already mentioned TablEdit's ability to play the tab at various speeds, and in sections, and in different instrument voices, all of which makes for a great learning tool. More complicated tabs can also have backup tracks (e.g., bass and guitar played behind the mandolin). Again, lots of featiures means lots of power, but also more to learn. There's always a trade-off.

    TablEdit also has another huge advantage: it currently has the largest available repertoire of tab online (for, say, tunes played on the mandolin or banjo). Just look at the size of the library of TablEdit tunes currently available on the Mandolin Cafe (and formerly, on Mandozine). No tab libraries in other program formats surpass it.

    Anyway, if anyone can identify another tab-centric program that's better (in your opinion) or more powerful than TablEdit, I'd love to hear about it here. The world can always use better software, regardless of the application. But until something better comes along, I am pretty happy with Tabledit myself, despite its occasional idiosyncacy.
    Last edited by sblock; Nov-03-2021 at 5:53pm.

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  27. #20
    Registered User rnjl's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Relio, the program you describe is a wonderful goal. But some people just want to buy a guitar and learn how to play a few favorite songs, or a banjo so they can play along with records at home (this example is a former doctor of mine) or a mandolin so they can play Red Haired Boy or Big Sciota at the local jam.

    Tabledit is great for what it does- it helps me figure out some melodies and breaks that it would take me MUCH longer to figure out by ear. But ironically I can't really read tab at all- doesn't make sense to me- but I read notation enough that the Tabledit files are a good resource.

    Different goals for different folks.



    Quote Originally Posted by Relio View Post
    Do you have all of these items solidly under your fingers so you can use them on the fly to improvise on the mandolin: major scale for every key in the first position (ALL intervals across all 4 strings), chord scales, double stops (and inverted double stops) across the entire fret board, modal scales, minor blues scale, minor chords, minor 7 chords, passing chords, scale patterns such as broken 3rds.

    If not, do not spend another second wasted on tabbing out songs! You need to focus on learning how to play the mandolin. I wasted so many years on mandolin activities that did nothing to improve my musicianship. BTW, I have GuitarPro software and it's awesome for tabbing out songs (but it was a waste of my time). There is so much other mandolin/music knowledge that I did not list and so much more to learn!

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  29. #21

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    I'll second Jacob's post above. I used Tab notation exclusively when I played guitar, because especially with fingerstyle playing there is more than one place to play the same note, and it helps figure out how someone is playing a certain tune.

    That still applies to a certain extent on mandolin. I remember when I was first learning mandolin it helped to see Tab notation of a tune, but I very quickly moved on to standard notation because I was playing "fiddle tunes" -- OldTime and Irish -- that were linear melodies, mainly in first position, and there is no ambiguity about where the notes are on the fingerboard.

    If you can read standard notation it opens up a gigantic trove of tunes you can find online, like the database on thesession.org for Irish, Scottish, and related traditional tunes. There is no Tab there, only standard notation (and ABC notation, a kind of shorthand ASCII version). Of course this also opens up the world of Classical music and other "World music." Any standard notation for violin can be played on mandolin.

    I use the free MuseScore program to import tunes in ABC or standard notation, where I can edit notes to match local versions of the tune. MuseScore also has a Tab function but I've never messed with it. Maybe someone else can comment on that if you still want to stick with Tab notation.
    https://musescore.com/user/10431581/...hare=copy_link

  30. #22
    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    Perhaps I'm undemanding, but I think Tabledit is as good as it gets for that kind of software.

    I use the midi function. Better than practising with a metronome.
    Bren

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  32. #23

    Default Re: There has got to be something better than Tabledit, right?

    To paraphrase Ben Franklin or Winston Churchill or somebody..

    Tabledit is the worst tablature software, except for all the others.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

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