Today I’m going to be reviewing an online-based tablature creation software called Acousterr Tab Maker. I never heard of this tab maker until just recently but regardless of that, I always love checking out new products that can potentially make the process of learning how to play guitar easier. In this review, I’ll go over what Acousterr is, how it works, as well as outline some of the pros and cons of the product.
What Is Acousterr Tab Maker?
Acousterr’s tab maker is a tablature-making application that can be used to write down and compose music. Users can create tabs, play them out, and explore tabs created by other users. They can choose any instrument like guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and more. The sounds are mathematically modeled to be generated at runtime for any combination of notes and effects like hammer-ons, pull-offs, etc for different types of instruments.
If you’ve ever heard of Guitar Pro, this online-based software is similar to that but with a few differentiators, which we’ll get into further below.
How to Use Acousterr?
There are a variety of features that are available through the Acousterr Tab Maker interface. Although the options for instrument embellishments are still fairly limited, the interface is pretty simple to use. If you’ve never used Tab Maker before, I would recommend checking out and clicking through the “How to…” section in the sidebar.
Clicking each section shows additional details and instructions for how to use Tab Maker. For example, if I want to learn how to apply a capo to my tablature, I can click the Apply capo(s) link and I will be presented with further instructions on how to do so.
Currently, Acousterr offers six different instruments to choose from when creating and playing back your tabs, these include:
There is no doubt, still lots of room to support different instruments and even percussive instruments although I’m sure this is on the roadmap and will be added as the project progresses.
There are several features available within the Acousterr Tab Maker. The ones that caught my eye the most are highlighted below:
- Copy/paste any regular guitar tab from the internet and instantly make it playable
- Create multiple tracks so that you can tab out a rhythm and solo section, for example
- Add lyrics above the track so that you can follow along with the instrument
- Instantly insert chords, effects, and capo placements within the tabs
- Keyboard shortcuts to find notes, select multiple notes from the fretboard, insert space, etc
- Map out multiple popular scales on the virtual fretboard so that you can easily create solos, licks, etc.
Circling back to the first point mentioned above, this feature is pretty cool. If you find a guitar tab on Ultimate-Guitar for instance and want a quick way to convert that static guitar tab into something playable, you can simply just copy/paste the tab into theAcousterr Tab Maker. I tried this out and it works pretty well. To show an example of this, simply find a tab and copy the selection you want.
Then, paste that selection as a newline in Tab Maker, like so:
You’ll then instantly be able to listen to how the tab sounds via computer-generated instruments. This makes the learning process much simpler for beginner guitarists. The only thing that needs to be done at this point is to play around with the tempo slider to identify what BPM the tab should be in.
These are a few of the main features of Tab Maker but personally, one of the things I like the best is that it’s setting itself up to be a community-driven platform. You just need to create a profile on the website and then you are part of the community and can begin writing tablature. Your tabs can then be seen by others, upvoted, and commented on. This can really help new members identify which tabs are accurate, as well as help tab writers fix any mistakes with the help of the community.
Acousterr Tabs / Chords Library
Acousterr already has a pretty nice collection of guitar tabs and chords in its system. By visiting the Tabs page you can search by song name or artist to find the tab you are looking for. Morever, once the search page returns results, it breaks them down into three sections:
- Most Upvoted
- All (recent first)
You can also see the popularity of a tab by checking the number of upvotes it has. Moreover, a green checkmark is added to all tabs that have been verified for accuracy.
Areas for Improvement
With any new product or service, there’s always room for improvement. Although I’m sure the creator of Acousterr will continue advancing the capabilities of Tab Maker, here are a few areas for improvement I came across:
- The is no BPM option. This is a pretty big one as it’s important to know the BPM of a song so that when you play it through you can instantly recognize the tune. Tab Maker does have a tempo slider however you can’t precisely set that nor does it save its setting for a particular song.
- The options on the right-hand side of the Tab Maker could provide a little more clarity in terms of what they do. I’d like to see some additional explanation appear when you hover over each option with your mouse.
- The selection/quality of virtual instruments could be improved upon, however, I’m sure that the creator will work on this with time.
Overall, I think Acousterr has potential. As previously mentioned, it’s still fairly new and there are some areas that need improvement but the creator is actively working on it to make it a better guitar learning tool for the community. If you want to give Acousterr Tab Maker a try, check them out let us know how it goes!