How to write guitar TAB
This guitar TAB editor is an adaptation of my image creation app, LightBox with a few extra features, symbols and tools to help you easily create nice looking guitar TABs.
This how to is a work in progress that I try to work on daily (you can contact me if your really need help). But don't worry, it's easy to get started. Just add some staves, draw, add text, symbols and style things just the way you like. Press the generate or print buttons to generate your TAB.
Working with the tools
There are lots of tools to help your accomplish your goals. I\ll try to cover the basics here but poking around and seeing what things do is a good way to learn.
- Add symbols and other elements - Add a symbol to the stage (work area) by clicking it. Drag on a symbol to activate it. All the tools operate on the active symbol. Stop a symbol from being dragged by clicking the disable button.
- Upload your own images - You can upload your own content by clicking the "Upload Library" button. When uploading, try to upload images that are already scaled/sized to the approximate dimensions of the stage. Images scaled too large are harder to work with.
- Add clip art and symbols - use the clip art and symbols to spice up your TAB by clicking the "Symbols" button to explore all the symbols.
- Text and some symbols can be cloned to SVG graphics. - Want colored fret numbers? Cloning to SVG lets you customize the fill and border colors of a symbol. SVG graphics maintain quality when scaled too. The symbol button will glow red when an active symbol can be cloned. Regular Text can always be cloned.
- Draw Lines - Click the Sketch link to open the drawing app. Select the Line tool to draw lines. Then use the "Select Region" tool to select drawn portions. After selecting a region an option appears that you can click to send the selected region to the stage. Once a selected region appears on the stage, you can position it, resize and scale it to your liking. It is also possible to send the entire sketch to the stage by clicking the "To Stage" option.
- The stage is movable - Click the "stage drag on" link then press and hold down on a blank area of stage then drag to reposition it where you like (you may have to move objects out of the way or resize in order to access a blank area). Most box elements are movable so you can arrange the work area in a way that suits you best. Elements with a "Dock" option should be docked first then moved.
- Need more symbols? - Contact me to request a symbol and I'll add it!
- Need more help? - Read more instructions on the LightBox app page (both apps work the same).
How to build chord diagrams
Adding a blank chord diagram by clicking a chord diagram symbol in the symbols library. Drag it into position on the stage. Do the same thing with the chord dots and drag them to the frets of the chord diagram. Dots can be cloned to different colors!
How to read guitar TAB symbols
The diagram below shows you the basics of how to read guitar TAB.
I try to implement as many TAB symbols as I can. But there are so many that I may have missed some. You can use the drawing app to draw your own. When writing your own TAB it's helpful to provide a legend for the symbols you use. Pictured below is a TAB symbol legend that may be useful to you while you write TAB:
How to save your work
There are a few ways to save your work.
- Generate a a final image by pressing the green Generate button.
- Save the entire project for later use by clicking the Save project button.
- Print your work by pressing the Print button. If your computer is set up correctly you can also print directly to PDF.
More to come soon....