I’ve been playing a long, long time and I too painfully recall what it was like trying to find transcribed music back in the early 80s. There was nothing, nothing in the UK, I once paid £20 (in 1982) for a US book of transcribed solos that arrived and contained nothing but gibberish. The only way you learned is someone sat down and played through a lick or a song with you. It was a simpler time. Then came tab and then came Guitarpro with tabs you could actually hear on your PC (so that was what Albert Lee played on Country Boy!). All this, on a simple home PD, amazing!
Now I have Tabtoolkit in front of me on my Iphone. This is a simple, pretty stripped down tab player made by those fine people at Agile – makers of the excellent (if slightly creaky) Ampkit.
Opening it up gives you a list of all the guitar-pro format tabs you’ve already downloaded. Tapping on the screen opens up the tab page. On default this shows the score and the tab but an options screen gives you the option of only showing tab or score. Options also allow you to show notes on a fretboard or a keyboard at the same time. I preferred to turn these off to give as much screen space as possible to the tab. You can also change the speed of the playback – which is hugely useful of course and there is also a simple but effective metronome.
Tap back into the tab screen and you can volume mix, mute or solo any instrument track.
And that is it, no transposing, no alternative tunings, nothing else but playback.
So its good that it works really well as a simple tab player. It’s stable, sounds pretty good and there are very few legal pleasures to match having Jamup on in the background while going through Eugenes Trick Bag on Tab Toolkit (one day I will get the speed up to 100%, oh yes!).
The tab has a link to a tabstore selling a range of individual tabs for about 69p a shot. These are legal, high-quality tabs and are good value (I honestly, honestly lost 9 months of my life trying to get Alex Lifeson’s part in Freewill back in 1981, believe me, I don’t mind paying 69p for a decent version of the song.)
But the app also has a built in browser linking you to the guitarpro site of your choice, where you can directly download the free tab of your choice (be warned, some sites have their own tab app, and will not allow a direct download into Tab Toolkit). You can also wirelessly download tabs from your own PC into Tab toolkit – it took me very little time to transfer my entire collection into Tab Toolkit.
There are more sophisticated alternatives, but Tab Toolkit is simple, stable, sounds pretty good and works totally without fuss. If it is any recommendation, I’ve used it pretty much every day for the last year and I still love it.
It’s also pretty good value at £2.49 with no IAP. you can find it here….