Produce professional-looking sheet music with Guitar Pro ! In this tutorial, you will learn how to edit bends and vibrato in your sheet music.
Accounting for bends and vibrato in a text-based tab sheet is tricky. Particularly since bends are so subtle and nuanced, it’s difficult to properly express them in a TXT file, as there’s no way to account for their many variances.
For example, a bend can be any of the following:
- Bend + Vibrato
Moreover, there’s the question of how far you might bend a note:
- Half step
- Whole step
- One and a half steps
- Two steps
The combinations thereof simply cannot be expressed in Courier font, where the only way to identify a bend is by using the b symbol, usually in the following manner:
In this tab we’re bending a full step then releasing back to our original note. It works, but it’s not the easiest thing to read.
This is where the Guitar Pro 6 bend editing tool is extremely helpful. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use it to make your tab sheets clearer and easier to read, allowing you to express the more subtle aspects of bends and vibrato.
Using the Bends Tool in Guitar Pro 6
To open the bends tool in Guitar Pro 6, you need to have at least one note selected in your tab sheet. For this lesson, I’m going to remove the standard notation (press F6 then uncheck the “Standard” box) so we’re only working with tabs.
It’s a simple quarter note pattern in one bar, where we’ll use the last two notes at the seventh fret to add our bends.
Opening the Bends Tool in Guitar Pro 6
On the left side of your Guitar Pro 6 window, make sure the notation tab is selected. It’s the one with the musical note and is usually selected by default.
From there you can select the note (simply click a note in the tab sheet) you want to apply a bend to and either press B on the keyboard or click the bends icon in the notation menu:
Once you select the bends tool, the following window appears:
From this screen you can choose the type of bend you want and how far you want it to extend.
I want a Bend/Release that extends one semitone. This means I’ll select the Bend/Release options (obviously) from the menu, then drag the second blue dot to the ½ mark on the bend chart, as in the following diagram:
When you click OK the bend is applied to your tab sheet, indicating both the type and extent of the bend:
If you’re not certain you’ve set it up correctly, you can use the player at the bottom of Guitar Pro 6 to play the measure back and listen to how it sounds. Adding more or changing existing bends can be done in exactly the same manner.
Adding Vibrato in Guitar Pro 6
While adding bends in Guitar Pro 6 is hardly difficult, adding vibrato is yet simpler.
In the example from before, I’ll add vibrato to the note at the seventh fret after the initial bend. To do this, simply select the note and then click one of the vibrato options located near the bends button.
You have two kinds of vibrato to choose from:
- Left hand vibrato
- Trem bar vibrato
Since that last note is a ghost note, I’ll use the trem bar vibrato.
Once again, this will be reflected in the tab playback, should you choose to listen to it.
Additionally, if you use the other tremolo option, the waves added to the tab sheet will look slightly different, allowing you to distinguish between the left hand and trem bar vibrato technique.
Here’s a closer look at the two vibrato buttons:
You can use either (or both) on any one note.
Easy stuff, right?
As far as bends and vibrato are concerned, that’s all there is to it. Guitar Pro 6 makes it really easy, resulting in a far more detailed and readable tab sheet that doesn’t force the reader to rely on guesswork when it comes to bends and vibrato.
This makes for a particularly useful teaching tool, where you can show students the subtle differences between these techniques on a tab sheet.
If you have questions, give me a shout via the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.
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