TabToolKit 2 Adds Tab Store, iPad Retina Display Improvements

| Product News

Agile Partners released TabTolKit 2 this week for iPad and iPhone. The new version of the tablature app for bassists and guitarists adds a Tab Store where customers can buy (fully licensed) tabs for more than 500 songs, and other new features.

Tab Store in TabToolKit

Tab Store in TabToolKit

For those unfamiliar with the concept, tablature is a way to read and write music for musicians who can’t read or write music. Rather than expressing the notes on a staff with traditionally notation (as seen at the top of the image below), notes are expressed as a number (for the fret) and one of six lines (or four for bass) representing the string (as seen on the second line in the image below).

TabToolKit will display the tabs, and it adds a virtual representation of a guitar neck with the notes in the tabs shown as red dots (as shown at the bottom of the image below). All three options can be turned off as needed.

She's a Soul Shaker

Tabs for The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine”

Other new features in TabToolKit 2

TAB STORE

  • Tab Store is now open, featuring hundreds of popular songs in a wide range of genres, with more songs added weekly.
  • Tab Store songs are affordable, officially licensed, and accurately transcribed.
  • All songs are “full-score” with complete notation for each guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard track, as well as vocal tracks with lyrics.
  • Browse songs by artist, genre or instrument.
  • Search by artist name, song title, album title, or genre.
  • Request a song if your favorite song isn’t currently in Tab Store.

NEW FEATURES

  • Gorgeous, full-resolution rendering on the new iPad Retina display.

  • A/B looping, perfect for learning and jam-along.
  • Guitar tracks include rhythm notation.

  • Combine and simultaneously display right and left hand fingering on the keyboard display.
  • Drum tracks include a drum kit visualizations that shows drum hits as they happen.

  • Volume mixer to easily change the volume of multiple instrument tracks.
  • Vastly improved instrument audio (iPhone 4 / 4S, iPad 2 / 3rd generation), based on high-fidelity audio samples for over 190 different instruments.
  • Innovative vocal engine based on actual male and female voice samples for use on vocal tracks.
  • New metronome sounds for a total of 27 pairs of samples ranging from old favorites to new analog and digital clicks, percussion instruments, drum kit sounds and more.
  • Dozens of other music notation and playback improvements.

TabToolKit is free for a limited time to promote the new release. Users can still add their own tabs (there are tens of thousands available on the Internet), or they can be purchased from the Tab Store as in-app purchases for US$0.99 each. The app is a hybrid app for iPhone and iPad.

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2 Comments

Ross Edwards

I am extremely intrigued and I will have to check this out.

For those new to this whole thing, the reason this might be significant is because right now tablature comes from two places: dead tree tab books sold online or through your local music store, or fan-transcribed tabs on sites like ultimate-guitar.com.  Accuracy is a huge variable, even from the official dead tree books.  I’ve performed in wedding reception cover bands, and one of the things you end up having to do is go to ultimate-guitar and look at the ratings and comments for every tab entry and figure out which of the Livin’ on a Prayer or More Than a Feeling tabs really IS the best—and the one with the most accurate guitar might not have the most accurate bass line!  And so on.

Fortunately, Apple technology has helped the equation a lot in terms of the rest of the workflow.  Once you’ve downloaded a Guitar Pro tab file, you can select in Guitar Pro for it to only display one instrument’s lines, or perhaps one instrument plus vocals, or bass and backing vocals, you get the idea—and then you can print it to PDF and the tab for just the selected parts gets PDFed, and you can import that into iTunes and use it in iBooks on your iPad on stage!  Turning pages is just a tap and that’s easy to manage.  MUCH easier than the old way of having a binder full of tab paper.  Yes, you try to memorize it all, but when you’re a cover band that plays three-hour shows with three one-hour sets and you have eight hours of music in your catalog, having a cheat sheet handy isn’t laziness, it’s being a professional.

Looking at an app like this, my main concerns would be how accurate the transcriptions are and how easy it is to use on stage versus the iBooks workflow.  Because it looks like it might cut the whole Guitar Pro tab formatting task out of the equation, and that saves on money AND time.  It looks like this app might already be good for learning/recreational purposes, but you don’t need a whole lot of functionality for that.

Great article!

bradley_ny

Great commentary Ross!  To ease your concerns, all of the tabs in TabToolkit’s Tab Store are produced by our in-house team, and go through a painstaking quality control process.  They are full-score tabs where applicable, and are produced in full cooperation with the copyright holders.

You can still add/download tabs from your computer or the web, of course, but we can never vouch for the quality of authorship from the sites out there smile

Bradley
(from Agile)

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