Developer: Arobas Music
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.3

Design Rating: ★★★★☆
Features Rating: ★★★★☆
Integration Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Guitar Pro is an established name when it comes to tablature, the music notation format commonly used by guitarists and bassists. Most tablature websites will either offer ASCII tabs (txt), PowerTab files (ptb) or Guitar Pro (gp1 through to gp6) files for its users, and now you can get all the benefits of reading Guitar Pro files on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, with Arobas Music’s latest creation.

The opening screen of the application resembles a cross between the iPod app and a page viewer, with a list of artists on the left and a preview of the selected piece on the right. You can sort all your music by artists, scores and albums, with links to favourites, recently added and recently opened close at hand. Tabs can be added over local Wi-Fi, from iTunes through sharing or Mail / Safari.

The beauty of Guitar Pro shines through when you’re actually viewing a piece. A live fretboard at the bottom of the screen shows you where to play if you’re relatively new to tablature, updating as the piece progresses. The staff type isn’t just limited to tablature, but offers three additional options: standard, slash and tablature & standard. You can follow a piece visually with a blue progress line, and also audibly through an in-built metronome which has the ability to accent the first beat should you wish to. If you’re left-handed, don’t fret, Guitar Pro has included a reverse fretboard to satisfy your southpaw status.

I’ll expand on this blue progress line, as it contains a feature that will save much time and energy whenever you’re learning parts of a piece, and is lacking in Guitar Pro’s rival TabToolkit. You can not only select any part of the piece to start playing from, but also select sections (limited to lines presently) that can then loop continuously, meaning you can play a certain part over and over again until you’ve got it mastered. The speed of the piece can be adjusted on-the-fly, from 0.2x (20%) to 2.0x (200%). These features make it much easier to learn and play along.

If the piece you’re playing with has multiple instruments, Guitar Pro differentiates and offers music notations for each, and you can adjust the volume of each also, allowing you minimize or completely silence any part that doesn’t suit your needs or tastes.

The application features an embedded browser, meaning you can navigate yourself to any guitar tablature website and download files in either GuitarPro or PowerTab format. For text tabs, you’ll have to stay in the browser (something that TabToolkit automatically detects).

Overall, Guitar Pro is a great addition to have for tablature readers and iPad owners, and at $4.99 is half the price of its main rival, TabToolkit (a 148Apps Editor’s Choice recipient). In my opinion, TabToolkit is worth the extra $5 for its interface and integration, as it feels much nicer to use. Guitar Pro is an established name, however, with an established record. Its file format is used across the world and the continuous-loop playback feature is something that I appreciate greatly.

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