I’ve always dreamed of writing my own music.
There’s a good chance you’ve thought the same thing, too.
Being able to compose your music (or put down any song, even if you didn’t write it) can change your playing forever.
In this Guitar Pro 7 review, we’ll learn exactly how you can write down and distribute your own music.
We’ll also look at the specific features it offers and how you can improve your playing, impress your friends, and even record your own music quickly and easily.
Let’s jump in!
Exclusive Bonus: Right now Guitar Pro 7 has a trial offer available. Check out the official website: Guitar-Pro.com and download your very own free trial.
What You Need to Ask Before Buying a Composition Program
If you want to become a serious guitarist, you need a way to write and edit music.
While there are a handful of programs out there that can do this, Guitar Pro 7 is one of the few that's designed specifically for guitarists.
If you're looking for a program that you can use to write for any instrument, Guitar Pro 7 isn't going to be ideal. Yes, you can write with a few other instruments (including bass, ukulele, piano, and drums) but the program is engineered with guitar playing in mind.
You should also have a solid understanding of music. If you're still learning how to read notation or tab, you're going to struggle. The entire interface is designed around writing music, and there's no workaround for this.
All types of users will benefit from GP7 - beginning, intermediate, and expert. While there are a lot of sophisticated features only advanced guitarists will understand, beginning guitarists will learn a lot and grow into the software.
Now, we have to ask:
Is this the right program for you? Let's find out.
Introducing: Guitar Pro 7
Guitar Pro 7 is the most recent in a series of versions of the Guitar Pro software. It's a quick download and is available for both Windows and Mac.
Guitarists the world over have been anticipating this version for years. It's a relatively recent addition, released in April 2017.
The previous version—Guitar Pro 6—was released in 2010. It's been a long wait, and there are lots of new features to show for it.
This version of Guitar Pro includes better import/export features, including compatibility with MIDI and MP3.
The interface has been completely redesigned in high-resolution, so it looks great on larger screens that weren't even available when Guitar Pro 6 was released.
Plus, it has a new set of instrument banks and a better connection to your guitar. This means the built-in instrumentation is much better than the previous release, and it sounds better if you play along.
Opening the program makes one thing obvious:
This isn't designed for someone new to reading music.
There are tons of features, and the layout isn't afraid to show its complexity.
If you're just now memorizing "Every Good Boy Does Fine," this will probably be intimidating and overwhelming.
But for someone who already knows how to read music, the features are pretty manageable.
Even better, it isn't just a notation editor. Guitar Pro 7 is packed with a whole lot more. Let's see exactly what it has to offer.
What Guitar Pro 7 Has to Offer
Guitar Pro 7 has a lot of great features that are suitable for any guitar player.
While it has powerful music writing capabilities, some excellent features can enhance practicing as well.
Full-Featured Notation and Tab
First and foremost, the musical notation and tablature you can produce with Guitar Pro 7 are unparalleled.
Not only do you have all the basic music notation options—time signatures, clefs, repeats, notes, rests, and coda notes—GP7 is packed with guitar-centric features, like fingering, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and bends.
No matter what style of guitar music you're trying to write, you'll find it here. Oh, and did I mention? You can write it all in tab, too.
If you're more into songwriting, you can quickly add lyrics and comments to the score. One of my favorite features is the ability to add chord charts directly into the score itself so that other musicians can copy your hand positions for unusual shapes.
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Composition Help So You Can Write Your Best Music
If you're writing music in Guitar Pro 7, you aren't alone. A host of features are built in to support you as you write.
The two most relevant to composition are the chord and scale helpers.
The chord helper will guide you to find the most appropriate shape for any chord, no matter how complicated. You'll be able to choose from multiple alternative fingerings in its database.
The other useful feature is the scale helper.
Using this, you can easily find every scale—from the familiar to the obscure.
Even better, the finger positions are available on virtual instruments (more on this later).
Listen to an Entire Band Jamming to Your Tune
Guitar Pro 7 includes a huge bank of musical instruments, which gives you tremendous power over the final sound of your composition.
Using just the built-in features, you'll be able to get an excellent idea of what your piece will sound like when performed. Sure, it won't feel like a live studio recording, but its realism is impressive.
Having digital playback like this allows you to change the mix between multiple instruments before you perform it. You can also adjust BPM on the spot, tweaking the speed of the piece until you find a tempo that's just right.
The playback display allows you to follow along with your composition note-by-note. You can also click on each measure during playback to skip ahead or review a section.
Download and Share with Friends, Family, and Bandmates
Your composition is worthless if you can't show it to others. That's why Guitar Pro 7 comes with a massive set of options to export and share your work.
First, you can export the recording in a variety of formats. The most widely accessible is of course MP3, but you can also export as WAV or FLAC (lossless, with very high quality) or Ogg (lossy, with a loss of quality but smaller file size).
There's also MIDI, which can be used to exchange the sound data with other computers and digital instruments.
If you're planning on sending the composition to another musician to review or edit, you're best served exporting to PowerTab, Guitar Pro, or MusicXML file formats. This will allow someone else to review the notation and tablature.
Finally, you can export the composition as a PNG image or ASCII for tab. But the best option is exporting as a PDF to print.
Professional Tab and Notation Printing
When it's time to finish your music project, you can create gorgeous, professional tab and music with the click of a button.
Guitar Pro 7 is designed with 70 different parameters to configure the layout, which means you'll be able to match the look and feel of your favorite tab or music.
You can also include multiple instruments. While I don't recommend the software for scoring a symphony—it just isn't designed for that level of intricate complexity—you could. Guitar songs with additional instruments will be easy to produce and publish.
Enhance Your Practice Sessions to Become a Better Player
Some of the best surprises of Guitar Pro 7 are the added features they've included to make for an excellent practicing experience.
The first, and perhaps most unique, is the polyphonic tuner. This isn't your parents' guitar tuner. Unlike most of the tuners on the market which adjust a single note at a time, one strum will give you the details on each string. It's a great way to save a few minutes and make it even easier to start practicing.
Plus, you'll get tons of virtual instruments, including guitar, bass, banjo, and piano.
You can see the notes anywhere on the fretboard (or keyboard) just by clicking, which can make it much easier to find notes and chords—especially further up the neck. And when combined with the other tools (like the scale and chord helpers), your compositions and arrangements will be unstoppable.
Since Guitar Pro 7 is still new, reviews are scarce at the time of writing this.
Most of what's available to read online was written by reviewers with early access to the software. Most of the positive feedback has been regarding the design and layout improvements from Guitar Pro 6.
Another change was on the Realistic Sound Engine (RSE), which was improved in this version.
Most negative reviews focus on bugs in the initial beta version, but the developers have been hard at work on the software, and I didn't encounter any issues on the most recent update.
If you already have Guitar Pro 6, you get a discount, so there's no reason not to upgrade. If you don't have a composition or tablature program, most reviews suggest this is a great first program to get started on.
Alternative Software: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
When it comes to tabulation software, there are two brands of competitors: cheap, low-quality options and professional-grade precision instruments.
If Guitar Pro 7 were an attractive and reliable car, the alternatives would be a bicycle and a million-dollar Lamborghini.
In the "bicycle" category, you have two options.
Comparing PowerTab to Guitar Pro 7 isn't fair, but since it's one of the few competitors on the market, it must be done.
For starters, PowerTab hasn't been updated since 2006, and it only runs on Windows. This makes it a challengingly outdated piece of software for any serious guitarist—and impossible for any guitarist not on Windows.
The interface is outdated and clunky and lacks features any serious musician would be looking for, like multiple instruments and robust export functionality.
TuxGuitar is a bit more accessible than PowerTab. The most recent update as of this writing was in 2016, and that version is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
But TuxGuitar is far from standing on equal ground with Guitar Pro 7. The program's interface is simplistic and lacks the full features you'll find on Guitar Pro 7.
For starters, the instrumentation leaves lots of room for improvement. Whereas GP7 could pass for a real set of backup musicians, TuxGuitar resembles a ringtone more than anything.
It also lacks the professional export features of Guitar Pro 7, making it virtually useless for anything other than casual experimentation.
With the cheap alternatives out of the way, let's look at a real contender to Guitar Pro 7—one of the premier composition programs in the industry, Finale.
Finale includes just about everything in GP7, plus more. If you're looking to compose an entire symphony, you'll find the features in Finale.
You'll also get the professional composition features used by world-famous musicians, artists, and composers. There is little wanting with Finale.
However, such a premium product comes with one serious drawback—price. A basic license for Finale costs a whopping $600, which is out of the budget of most guitarists just looking to write down a few songs—not compose hour-long classical symphonies.
As you can see, GP7 is flanked by programs vastly different than itself.
If you're looking for a solid program with advanced features, Guitar Pro 7 is the way to go.
How to Start Composing the Music of Your Dreams
One of the best parts of GP7 is that you can try it absolutely risk-free.
That's right—you can try Guitar Pro 7 for 30 days without spending a penny. If the program doesn't meet your needs, uninstall it quickly and easily.
But if GP7 is what you've been looking for (and I believe that will be the case for anyone looking to become an advanced guitarist), you can keep the software for as long as you need.
In short, there's no reason to not try Guitar Pro 7 today.