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BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hey everyone,

 

Just wanted to toss this out here for discussion...

 

Do you think there was any progress in regards to agreeing on a standard HG tablature/notation? 

 

I'm thinking about taking everyones ideas and coming up with my own solution that I think would make everyone happy, including Mr. Bennett. In the end, there will have to be some compromise...

 

-Brad


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Frank

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Reply with quote  #2 

Hey Brad,

 

I actually happen to have my notes from this "workshop" with me.  The final outcome was that everyone was supposedly going to submit their options for all to vote on by the end of the year.

 

One problem that people did seem to have with creating a standard is the limitations of whatever software they may be using.  There were questions about how to notate muted notes, string stopping, harmonics, and use of sharping levers.

 

My guess is that the best way to satisfy everyone would be to have standard notation and tab together.  If you can't read the notation you can at least get the proper rhythms and note values from it.  The only real issue then, aside from specifics mentioned in the previous paragraph, is how to show use of sub-basses, and probably super-trebles, in tab without making things too difficult to read.  I believe it was agreed that the use of the letter name above the tab was confusing as that is more commonly used to indicate a chord.  A letter name below the tab could work but wouldn't show the sub-bass tuning and which string used.  Of course, the tuning could be listed separately.  The other way to go is to have a tab line for each harp string (bass and/or treble), but would that be too much work to read?

 

I know John Stropes was attempting to create the ultimate tab/notation when putting together the transcription of Hedges' Because It's There.  I wonder how those who have the transcription feel about its usefulness.

 

Good luck Brad!

 

--Frank

BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #3 

No problem Frank,

 

At this point, I am thinking that the best way to go regarding sub-basses and/or super-trebles is to have their own tab line. and to address the question "Would that mean too much work to read?" I would reply, "New Flash: You're playing a harp guitar!" Given how much work it takes to play a harp guitar, It would make sense for the Tab to at least correspond with the instrument. Just my opinion though!

 

One second thought, maybe the best way to solve the sub-bass/super treble lines would be to add a traditional bass clef staff for the basses and a treble clef staff or the super trebles. Using standard notation may  fit best with open strings.

 

The main reason why Tab is important is because, on a fretboard, you can play the same note in multiple places, hence a difference in sound. The reader needs to know what string to play the note on, so Tab makes the most sense. But.... with open harp strings, each note is different. Since this is the case, standard notation I think could be the best solution. With the harp strings, one note is played on one string. Therefore, is there a need for Tab when it comes to the open strings?

 

ideas anyone?

 

-Brad


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #4 
TablEdit will allow you to show tunings at the left side of the *staff* lines, and have mutiple lines of tab as well. There is another program I use to have called MuseEdit that does all sorts of stuff. But all I can find are the old floppy discs from the Windows 3.1 and DOS 6 days. I would think the biggest obstacles to overcome are how the strings are to be played and muted, along with use of harmonics. What note and when should be the easy stuff. Sharping levers??? Add a sharp symbol on the tab line just as in standard notation maybe? Or simply change the tuning displayed on the tab line for the subs.

Ok....that gets close to pegging out my theory skills, it's late, and I have to get up for work at 4:30am.


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Dennis Mitchell
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nate

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Reply with quote  #5 

Dennis:  contact the guy at musedit because you get a free upgrade (once a member, always a member).. Not to mention a free reader is available at the site for those who would like to read more of my transcriptions for harp dadgad.

 

I couldn't make the workshop but I contributed three tabs which highlight various points including use of supertrebles, use of standard and tab, and subbasses.

 

I agree my choice of location for subbass notes are not ideal, it is a habit I got used to.

 

Brad, I agree that the same note can be played in different locations causing variations in fingering and sound.  With the harp guitar and different number of strings in different locations this problem is magnified.  Don't forget people like Eric Loy and Pat Metheny have midrange treble strings so theoretically notes intended for the neck can be played on harp strings and vice-versa.

 

I think that a combination of Standard notation with Tab is definately the way to go.  It is redundant to a certain point but both provide information adding to the composition.

 

Sor notated on his compositions which neck to use on the harpolyre.  I am interested in seeing how he went about this.

 

Subbass notation.  I really had trouble with how Andy Mckee notated his harp guitar tunes.  Those large subbass tabs with a simple 0 were a tough adjustment.  I like nancy's idea of using the string number on the harp string tabs (bass or treble) as I did for one of my examples (I forget which one).

 

Bottom line:  John and I had a long discussion on the topic of conforming (standardizing) vs individuality (bet you can't guess my view...).  Some of us play rather unique instruments and each of us have different backgrounds and approaches to music.  I would like to see Bennett play a Doan piece, or Doan play a Bennett piece (structural guitar differences set aside).  Nate played Andy's tune using trebles.  I think we are all here due to our desire to not conform to the standard six string world of music and this will need to be reflected in our musical notation/documentation.

 

 

Bored yet?

 


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Pierre_Lamour

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Reply with quote  #6 
just a thought,

For the sub-bass/treble notation why not using a single line like this :

Bass are almost rythm and treble too !

Ok guys, it just was my tought

Pierre


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BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #7 

Nate said, "I agree that the same note can be played in different locations causing variations in fingering and sound.  With the harp guitar and different number of strings in different locations this problem is magnified.  Don't forget people like Eric Loy and Pat Metheny have midrange treble strings so theoretically notes intended for the neck can be played on harp strings and vice-versa."

 

This wouldn't be an issue because each treble bank would have it's own stave and the guitar neck would have it's own tab line so there would be no confusion on where to play a note.

 

What does everyone think of this layout?:

 

Stave 1: Super treble notation

 

(insert staves here for additional treble banks)

 

Stave 2, 3: Fretboard notation

 

Stave 4: Fretboard tablature

 

Stave 5: Sub-bass notation

 

Regarding the super-treble and sub-bass notation, there could be an option to put numbers next to the notes indicating which string is being played (similar to putting numbers next to a note on piano music indicating what finger should play that note). If someone has a problem reading the notation, they can number the notes. In the end, I think standard notation for the sub-basses in particular would be practical; especially for someone like Doolin who has 11 sub-basses. Using tab for 11 open strings may actually be more confusing...

 

-Brad 

 


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nate

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Reply with quote  #8 

Brad: Using a letter for the subbasses "tab" instead of a full staff (in Doolin's case 11 lines) would help for notation and most subbass and treble notes can be notated formally on the treble clef (along with all the other notes).

 

I do like idea of staff placement.  I would consider switching Staff one and two to put the "formal" notation on top and all the tab together.  Theoretically one could use the formal nontab notation alone to play a song.  Others who would use tab might find the formal notation between treble and six string tab a distraction especially in Doan's case where he pedals frequently on his high E

 

nate


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Norm

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Reply with quote  #9 

I set up my music notation pretty much as Brad has suggested.  I'm going to set up a MySpace account, so that I can download examples and use links here, to save on disk space.  I've been using an older version of GuitarPro, and it does most of what I would like to do (this is NOT an endorsement!).  It already will notate natural harmonics, slurs, taps, etc.  I haven't found artificial harmonics, but I haven't really looked either. I set up one track for my supertrebles, one for my six-string, and one for my subbasses.  I usually display both tab and standard notation.  I haven't quite set up the subbasses correctly, since I have sharping levers.  What I should have done was to set the tuning as the natural tuning for the subbasses, then mark everything on the first fret when a sharping lever is used (instead of just setting up the tuning as it comes out).  This technique (along with deadening the string) would also work for Andy W's walking bass lines. 

Anyway, one thought that I did have (sorry for my business side coming out again) is to have some person that likes to negotiate to work with one or more of these software companies and set up a deal for members of Harguitars.net.  Gregg (or someone else) can set up the ordering from these companies from the members-only page.  We may be able to use our numbers (small though they be right now) to have the software developers make what we want, and in the process get us a purchasing discount. or  ?


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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks Nate, I had forgotten that they keep you *on file*. Other problem I had is my new PC and lap top don't have a floppy drive. So the latest and greatest on CD would sure help me get that program up and running again.

I like Pierre's idea for the subs also! Reading the notes actually registers with my brain faster than a number on a line. And...the same symbols for muting and such can still apply. This might also be another way around the problem of various instruments having a different number of subs in different tunings, sharping levers, etc.

I can see standard notation being more functional for those that can read it, and it certainly helps with timing. But for the self taught like me that play mostly by ear, notation just doesn't bring much to the table. So in Brad's "give and take" department, there may have to be room for information redundency. From my own personal experience, I find that sometimes we become so focused in our search that we miss the painfully obvious sitting right under our noses!

I see a lot of good ideas, so boiling it down to a "standard" will certainly be quite an exercise!


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Dennis Mitchell
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BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #11 

I think that the harp guitar standard should be in line with all the other common instruments if we all truly want the harp guitar to become mainstream (Did I just say that?). Anyway, if this is the goal, I submit that standard notation be used for the open strings. I understand the use of tab for the fretboard since the same note can be played at multple places and with different character. Standard notation does not address this issue, hence the necessity for tab for the fretted portion of the harp guitar. But for the open strings, standard notation makes sense. Harp players read standard notation, right? It's a tried and true system that should not be dismissed becuase it's "too hard". It's not that I like standard notation! I don't enjoy reading music. I can't sight read at a moments notice. I have to figure it out. From my point of view, I'd rather figure out a system that's been used for a few hundred years rather than some new fangled 10 line sub-bass tab or a one liner with a bunch of letters! Does it make sense for the harp guitar notation "standard" to contain no standard elements?

 

Also, can anyone here truly "Sight Read" Tablature?? I would find that much more difficult than sight reading standard notation. (Doesn't really matter since I can't sight read very well anyway...)

 

Am I making sense?

 

-Brad


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #12 
Heheh...I'm not knocking standard notation, I'm just looking into something that works for most everybody. And being we're quite a diverse group with even more diverse abilities, we've not undertaken an easy task! Bass clef notation would work fine, and most of us could learn it. Especially me since my brain isn't locked into treble clef or tab. Which, BTW, I can't sight read either! But as said, it does tell you where on the fret board to play a given note. Something standard notation can't do. So I think we will all agree that tab for the guitar strings is the way to go. So that portion can be tossed onto the back burner for now. I think the general concensus is to have notation to compliment tab for the subs. Which another option that just hit me is, that there would be a number of lines equivelent to the number of subs, and marked as to tuning at the end of the stave. From there, dots would be placed on the lines (with style symbols) to indicate a particular string to be played. Now...place the bass clef right above this stave, and that would serve a a way to help folks learn to read notation if they so desired. Or, for those like me, get a general grasp of bass clef, then print the tab out, and write in the notes. I think SB has seen me do that once in a workshop in Irving! For all practical purposes, the super trebles offer up the same challenges and the subs, so what works well for one, *could* work for the other. Although with the usual number of super trebles, tab for them could REALLY create a mess!

When I was in high school stage band, I played strictly chords from rhythm sheets, so I can still read those to some degree. This is where having standard notation above tab helps me figure out timing better. Plus, the tab lines are less cluttered. Might or might not work for evrybody, but it's another idea to throw into the pot!

Brad, I'm not picking on your ideas at all. It's just that there really are many ways of accomplishing this, and I feel we all need to toss ideas out for consideration. And, look at what will work for the majority. I need to dig out my old theory books and relearn a few things. So something that pushes me into learning something new is not bad at all. If I was afraid of that, I wouldn't have this nice harp guitar sitting here to drive my brain and fingers nuts for the next few months!

So my twist on Brad's idea is:

Stave1: super treble notation
Stave2: guitar notation
Stave3: guitar tab
Stave4: bass notation
Stave5: bass tab





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Dennis Mitchell
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BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #13 

Hey Dennis,

 

We agree on staves 1-4!

 

I'm still wondering about #5.

 

What's the purpose of a bass tab line when you can write either the string number or the actual note name (if necessary) next to the note on a standard bass clef stave?

 

P.S. There may be a sense of urgency in my posts since I'm currently in the middle of writing some new harp guitar music. Just wanted to start off on the right foot!


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Dennis_Mitchell

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Reply with quote  #14 
Stave5 is where that information redundencey kicks in, like guitar tab, but even more so. For me, and perhaps others, having a sub bass tab line below the notation line would help in learning bass clef. In whatever form it might be, it should help to have a visual comparison to notation right along with the tab. Or, being able to relate one to the other to speed up the learning curve? The key will be making it functional without adding confusion to the overall mix of things. I can see this as a potential problem for both sub bass and super treble lines.

But hey...4 out of 5 ain't bad for starts!


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Reply with quote  #15 
Nate,
  Thanks for the reminder about Musedit. I found all my old paperwork, manual, and even some floppy's. So I'm ordering the full upgrade package to get the new manual and CD. Man...have they added some cool stuff since I originally bought it back in '99!


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Dennis Mitchell
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Reply with quote  #16 
I would like to chime-in on this...

Fred just finished the New Dream, which has frets under the sub-bass strings, but only for a short distance. These frets add another dimension to the "5th stave" and, as the harp guitar is an ever-evolving instrument, unlike some others... it seems best in my mind to remain more flexible about the inclusion of tab or not.

With regard to notation, the standard that I know is that we add "Guitar 1" or "Guitar 2" labelings for ensembles, so why not "String Set 1" and "String Set 2" or some such defining label where a staff must be inserted. This way, I can adapt a piece for my particular instrument, adding the string sets which I use to perform the arrangement.

Another thing I'd like to mention is that there can be a very solid need for open string tab beyond the fact that there are frets or not. I would need some room to describe string stopping technique, harmonics, etc.

So far, I prefer a combination of staffs "as needed".

I submitted a notated piece long ago (on the old forum here) called "Sunset, New Moon". I was wondering if that was easy to play or not, but didn't get a solid return of feedback. Nate gave me the feedback that I had used the same tuning for an open string on the sub-bass as I had for the 6th string of the main course. At first, I thought, like him, that perhaps I had composed this on 6-string and didn't really have a viable reason... then I realized that the open sub-bass tuning in that pitch allows the long pedaling notes required for effect throughout the piece.

Anyway, I'd still love feedback on that, even though the arrangement has been adjusted since I published this from Sibelius.

Lastly, Sibelius is my software of choice. It's easy to use in general as an interface, allows for creating and configuration of custom instruments quickly and has the depth to combine our harp guitar pieces with full symphony scores all in one place if we so choose to do so. It auto-creates a fairly decent starting point in tab from your notation, making it a very rapid edit process to adjust those strings played for the real world.

My technique in building a score for harp guitar is always the same...

1. Author the basic notation for note integrity, meter and rythym
2. Add embellishments and play back for quality assurance in midi voicings
3. Author complimentary tablature
4. Submit to other guitarists for feedback with red face and lip bitten

I think a great thing to do would be to share more scores HERE. That would really help us communicate about what works and what doesn't, guitarist to guitarist.

To see, print and playback my tune "Sunset, New Moon", you'll need Internet Explorer and the Sibelius active-x control installed (you'll be prompted to install the Scorch control when you go there if you don't have it). Please enjoy, but don't deploy. I'd LOVE anyone to actually play this one into a mic and let me see how accurate my sheets are coming across to others.

Thanks!

http://webadrenaline.com/oracle/sheet/Sunset_NewMoon.htm



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Carlson Oracle 24-string Harp Sympitar
Carlson Taproot 18-string Baritone Harp Sympitar

Discography:
Wood Dragon (debut solo album)
Harp Guitar Dreams - compilation (track 8 - Mahjabeen)
Together Alone - B. Hoyt (track 2 - Martyr's Last Crossing)
What We Don't Know (digital single) - w/ Michael Manring
BradHoyt

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Reply with quote  #17 

Hey Jeff,

 

You said, "So far, I prefer a combination of staffs "as needed"."

 

I think that this is the most accurate statement when it comes to a harp guitar "standard".

 

Also, regarding tab for open strings, would it be possible to add additional marks on standard notation to deal with string stopping or harmonics? Soon I'll be faced with possiblity doing tab for 11 sub-basses and was looking to avoid an 11 line tab. But if it's unavoidable, then so be it!

 

Thanks for sharing your arrangement!


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jmtitus

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Reply with quote  #18 
I do add accents and specifics to the notation (when I have time... which I usually don't) primarily for string stopping, accents, fingerings, etc. What I was inferring, sort of, by saying that the tab marks are necessary... I like to have my tab match my notation as much as possible. With the Hedges/Stropes book "Rythym, Sonority and Silence" I have found the tab markings extremely helpful on their own at times. There's something complimentary for me about having both notation AND tab. Perhaps it's the way I learned to read or something, but having both sides in front of me sometimes speaks to me in a different way than if I just had one or the other. I mean, it's almost a physical space in the rythym isolated with tab whereas the notation tends to be more like a meticulous roadmap. The tab almost jumps off the page like a drum part for me and so I find my eyes darting up to the notation ahead in the next measure and then back down to the tab for occasional reference on a more simple pattern that reflects the actual striking of the strings more primitively than the intricate markings of the upper staff. Anyway, I hope that makes sense... having both just seems more complete, so I like the detailed indicators in both places for technique, where it makes sense and doesn't "dirty" the staff.

I guess the only other argument would be that there are certainly many that don't read the notation much at all, so the markings on the tab would simply be extending the accuracy of communication to a wider audience.


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Carlson Oracle 24-string Harp Sympitar
Carlson Taproot 18-string Baritone Harp Sympitar

Discography:
Wood Dragon (debut solo album)
Harp Guitar Dreams - compilation (track 8 - Mahjabeen)
Together Alone - B. Hoyt (track 2 - Martyr's Last Crossing)
What We Don't Know (digital single) - w/ Michael Manring
Norm

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Reply with quote  #19 

Jeff,

 

Will Sibelius allow 8 super trebles to be added easily?  I've been looking for software that will allow me to tab all 20 of my harp guitar strings.  GuitarPro is pretty good - it will show hammer-ons and pull-offs, slurs, natural harmonics (I haven't figured out artificial harmonics yet) and most other guitar-ry things.  I have added my six-subbasses, but I can only add 7 supertrebles per bank.  TablEdit will let me add 8 super-trebles, but I haven't figure out how to get them tuned properly in the software.  So, if Sibelius will do what do everything, I'll go with that.  I also like that Sibelius has the free Scorch download so that everyone can hear the piece as well as see it.  I'll post my tab of The Water Song tabbed in GuitarPro as a pdf, so folks can see it. 


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Reply with quote  #20 
The answer is yes. Sibelius allows custom instrument design and tuning.

I have been able to build scores with notation and tab to include all 12 of my sympathetic strings and what notes SHOULD ring-out where. It's a very versatile system which requires somewhat of a learning curve in some ways, but has incredibly intutive interface features and flow after you use it a bit.

I also enjoy the Scorch capabilities... especially the fact that you can elect to transpose your score immediately to any key you can imagine! Finale, just to be fair, also has this capability in sharing your work with midi playback and printing.

I first bought-in to Sibelius in the early days when it was over $1K for the software. It's gotten much better and is less than half that price. When it comes time to add other instruments, you'll thank yourself for getting a more robust solution than power tab.

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Carlson Oracle 24-string Harp Sympitar
Carlson Taproot 18-string Baritone Harp Sympitar

Discography:
Wood Dragon (debut solo album)
Harp Guitar Dreams - compilation (track 8 - Mahjabeen)
Together Alone - B. Hoyt (track 2 - Martyr's Last Crossing)
What We Don't Know (digital single) - w/ Michael Manring
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Reply with quote  #21 
After trying Finale Notepad, Sibelius, GuitarPro, and TablEdit for editing harp  guitar tablature, I've settled on TablEdit because it allows me to put text below the tablature, which is essential for showing the letter for the sub-bass string.

I use Finale Notepad for standard notation, but its tablature UI is clumsy.

Has anyone used a different tool with letter-below-the-tab support and that is easy to use?

Pete
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Reply with quote  #22 
Hmm... I have found the addition of text *anywhere* in the score VERY easy with Sibelius. Not only that, but you can change the settings to display letters instead of notes for any tab entries automatically if you like.

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Carlson Oracle 24-string Harp Sympitar
Carlson Taproot 18-string Baritone Harp Sympitar

Discography:
Wood Dragon (debut solo album)
Harp Guitar Dreams - compilation (track 8 - Mahjabeen)
Together Alone - B. Hoyt (track 2 - Martyr's Last Crossing)
What We Don't Know (digital single) - w/ Michael Manring
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Reply with quote  #23 
Hello Jeff,

OK. I'll take another look at Sibelius tonight.

Pete
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Reply with quote  #24 
Pete - I'll be curious to see your results and if you're happy with the sub note letter idea.
All - this is gaining more ground - Mike Doolin is working on notating his first piece (hurry, Mike!) with full double-stave notation and tab below with lettered basses.  Member Steve Sjuggerud also donated 3 of his arrangements with the same format (posted on the bottom of the TAB page).

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Pete_Bradshaw

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Reply with quote  #25 
Jeff,

I was using Sibelius-First, and it doesn't have all the support I need for custom instruments (i.e. custom guitar tab for altered tunings) as far as I could find.

Sibelius does support that, and it seems easy to use, but it does cost a lot more. I'll probably go ahead and buy it anyway. I'll sleep on it.

Pete
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