Learning how to do on-screen tabs with a (mostly) DSX solo

Anyone who knows me here knows that I like to play a little guitar and then do a lot of blah blah :grin:

So here’s the playing: a solo for a new song I’m writing that uses mostly DSX for the fast parts. I captured a couple of reasonably raw takes (solo is double tracked) that I managed just after I was finished writing it. What I like about these takes is that I just started filming as a test without much expectation, so I ended up being quite relaxed while playing, and I’m happy I captured that moment/process/attitude.

I think it sounds cool even though slow motion reveals that the takes are not that clean. So yeah, rock’n’roll :grimacing:

And here is the blah blah (which I will edit to add more details:

I was inspired by some great recent transcriptions by @LeviClay88 to try and do some videos of my playing with on-screen tabs.

I did a bit of googling on how to do this, and in the end I used the methods in this tutorial pretty much verbatim:

I have to say that I am mot too satisfied by this solution (it involves screen capturing guitar pro as it plays the tab, which feels sub optimal and inefficient), but I could not find anything more streamlined. I am a bit surprised that we still don’t have the option to export a scrolling video tab directly from guitar pro.

In any case, I will ask Chat GPT if it can make a script for me to achieve this, or if it has better advice :grinning:

Finally I’d like to ask you (The People) if you’d be interested in a video compilation of some of my favourite solos of the last couple years, with on screen tabs like in this one:

Interested in a compilation + transcription of tommo’s recent solos?

  • Yes please!
  • No thanks, we already know them!
  • Who TF is tommo

0 voters

Cheers :sunglasses:


When you record video are you capturing the Audi with a mic or DI into a DAW and syncing it? If the latter I’m curious if you’ve found any easy ways to sync video with audio.

I’ve seen a lot of YouTube guitarists have their DAW on their laptop in frame so you can see when the recording starts with a visual cue.

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Edit: I record the DIs via interface, then use amp simulators. I throw away the camera audio after syncing.

I sync it by hand in Reaper, then check in slow motion (x0.25 or so) if the timing of the pickstrokes “looks right”.

There’s also software that can do this automatically, like Final Cut Pro


back when i was trying to tab out a very hard solo to a video i almost just made every note an 8th note and stitched it at every note to the sync in soundslice. :laughing:

but i never did as seeing notated rhythmical flow is a very important process that it skips so i tossed the idea, although you still will learn to feel the rhythm by playing along with the video/recording aurally/visually you won’t see the rhythm which is somewhat important to an extent. and then you will deal with the rev up rev down of the ticker scroll. :sweat_smile:

maybe you might could lessen the rev up rev down by using 8ths and triplets.

Like I want to add to your workload??? Would be cool though! You’ve got lots of tasty licks.


I’m confused why you wouldn’t just use soundslice + screen grab??? Definitely the fewest steps imo. If you already have it notated it’s just

1.create new slice via importing guitar pro and video file
2.create “syncpoints” for slice
3.play around with visual aspects of layout to get the look/proportions you want
4.screen record either on phone or comp

there are a lot of these on my instagram channel


they’re formatted for mobile, but if I were making them for a YouTube video I would just adjust the proportions a bit.

If it’s something fancier I might combine different videos, but for most things I can just screen grab from my phone.

this one was fun to put together as it involved mixing two different soundslice videos:



I love soundslice and use it a lot. Have you checked with them that they are ok for us to screen grab their website? They seem a pretty relaxed bunch but I’d double check just in case.

For “serious “ transcription work /study I think using the Soundlice platform directly is still superior (particularly when you want to have more than one instrument). I will defo keep using that.

For this application (making a self-contained YT video with tabs) I prefer the flexibility of having a “tab video” that I can combine with my playing video in a video editing software. For example, I really like having the tab in inverted colours and not 100% opacity, like in my video example above.

I am still unsatisfied that all these options rely on screen grab. I think it’s very inelegant and not worthy of 2022 tech. We need an option to instantly export a tab video with desired proportions and frame rate. It should take only a few secs, so that of we find a problem we can just re export the corrected tab real quick.
I’ll report back when I find a solution:)

PS your soundslice work is killer, I’ve been following you for a while. Now I followed your IG too :slight_smile:

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There is a Python GuitarPro library: https://github.com/Perlence/PyGuitarPro

However, just thinking about it coding-wise. You would need to re-code the rendering of every single musical element that is already available on GuitarPro on the video tab and every single interaction between every one of them. You are basically re-coding a good chunk of GuitarPro itself by doing this.

If you can get through that, you can then simply create a video from all of the frames that get rendered as the tab plays using something like OpenCV

Note: GuitarPro exports into MusicXML format which has a bunch of libraries online to render it so you could look into that. You could also export to PDF and use a PDF library to basically parse the nodes of the PDF file.

Edit: This looks really promising, https://github.com/opensheetmusicdisplay/opensheetmusicdisplay

Edit2: Sounds like a cool project to have under my belt, I’ll give it a stab and let you know of any progress.

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Sounds awesome thank you!!!

PS: and thanks for the other suggestions too, the XML route seems promising too!

I think if it is your stuff wouldn’t you be better off just showing how to play it a phrase, and section at a time? To me the tab thing would be fine if it was for someone else’s work. You already have a very firm grasp of the concepts that you are doing, and it would be a better route for your fans who follow your social media if you show them more of why you do this, and proper technique to the phrases, fragments, and arpeggios that you have crafted. Kind of like a let your viewers get to know you a bit better than just following a tab, and blocking out your presence.

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@bradejensen I think when posting on YT or social media, there are different kinds of posts that can serve different purposes. For me, performance posts are simply sharing music or demonstrating playing. Lessons are lessons, where there’s a clear thing I’m trying to communicate and I’ll likely talk it out or have slides. Performance posts with on-screen notation can be a nice mix of performance with a teeny bit of ‘education’ - basically some information about what is played, for those curious.

There are absolutely ways to be more educational, more helpful, and more entertaining, but a lot of posting is trying to find things that are at least a bit of all of those adjectives but ideally not incredibly time consuming for the ‘creator.’

Yeah even to just do something easy like soundslice depending on the person if their schedule is crowded they might have to hire editors to tackle even simple stuff. I was just suggesting it, as it might help create a better bond with your subscribers, and could boost views from word of mouth. I notice it is hard for creators these days to get views, so maybe switching it up to try a different approach to see if it spikes any more foot traffic.

You could definitely check with Adrian, his response time to emails is usually very good, but I believe they definitely would want people using SS for this purpose as long as it’s tagged/linked. Interacting with a YT vid that has SS on it pales in comparison to actually interacting with the SS website, but is probably great for introducing SS to new people. So I would wager they’d see it as a net gain. I used to post SS vids on instagram much more frequently, and would be in contact with someone who used to work there about best ways to screen grab and speed up work flow and such.

I get that - I have not looked into what programs give different visual displays, although since ‘dark mode’ in general seems to be becoming more and more common, I am seeing these inverted color notation videos a lot more these days, and they do look cool. If somebody else figures out a very fast way of producing them, I’ll probably jump on board, but for now I’m not too picky about aesthetics.

That being said, this guy Robbie Barnby makes videos that look very good https://www.youtube.com/@RobbieBarnby - there’s a lot of notation on screen but I’m not positive if there’s any notation video runing while playing, but if anything some cool layout ideas. (though TBH I get kind of exhausted watching them because I can’t help but think about all the time it takes make everything look so clean!)

You’re right that screen grab can be annoying. I think it was only a few years ago that the iPhone had a video screen recorder (that captured audio) as part of the basic OS, so that change made making SS vids much easier. I used to have to fiddle w aspect ratios and window sizes a lot to make things look the way I wanted them to.

It would be cool to be able to plug in options for visual display and have it just dump out a video. Maybe with the emergence of so much new education guitar content post/during covid, programs like GP or SS will start having this option.

Even screen grab options on my devices have improved over the past few years, but I definitely remember having to do a lot of annoying things with trying out different aspect ratios and proportions of the video to notation, sending them from my comp to my phone, seeing how they looked on mobile, then trying again,

Thank you!

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After giving it two days, this is not the worth the hassle. The OpenSheetMusicDisplay library crashes for a bunch of GuitarPro exported XML files (not stable) and the PDF format is a complete mess to parse and has no semblance of order. You would need to parse the MusicXML format yourself (feasible), render the tabs (just cut out the PDF output) and figure out how to move the cursor based on the current note duration and the next note duration (this is where I gave up :smiley:). I also tried making a script that runs a headless (as in doesn’t render the UI) Firefox browser that automatically imports the gpt3 file into SoundSlice and then records the video of the tab being played but there are no easy ways of recording headless video on Windows. You can save screenshots and then feed them into an FFMPEG stream but the frame rate is abysmal (maxes out at 10 fps on my beefy PC).

This feels like one of those cases where you could spend 10 minutes doing the task vs. 30 hours automating the task :laughing: I give


@CyborgCutie the fact that you even tried makes you a legend in my book :slight_smile: :+1:

That sounds like every single automation project I embark on :rofl:

We don’t usually do on-screen tablature but this can be done relatively trivially inside Final Cut if you can export the tab as an image in a single strip:

In this case I just did that manually by exporting the GP file as a PNG (single click) and lining up the staves up side by side in FCP. Tab and Sierra Hull video are unrelated, just a mockup.

So if you want to script something, all you need to do is script the slicing of the PNGs by a known set of pixel dimensions, lining them up side by side, and exporting as a really long image. That’s probably a lot easier than writing something to read tablature files. Note that you want to enable Bar → System Layout → Fixed in GP so all the bars are the same size and the inter-staff spacing is the same.


Instant export / no video capture. Playhead design of your choosing — in this case a square at .5% scale with a glow effect applied, all in FCP. Scrolling with two keyframes — one at the beginning, one at the end.


This only works if you have a constant moving cursor, if you have mixes of eighths, sixteenths and thirty-seconds notes, then you would have to account for that for your cursor and animate it in your video editor of choice to match what GTP does.

By the way, Troy, you don’t need to do the lining up yourself, if you select “Views > Screen - Horizontal” in GTP, and then export to PNG, it does all of the lining up for you and produces a single image.

Edit: thank you for sharing the fixed system layout tip, I did not know about that and varying sized bars was something I struggled with.


Well, duh, that makes things easier! Then I think you’re done here. Just export and drop it into your video editor.

As far as the scrolling, there should be no issue there. You set all the bars to the same size with the fixed layout, and set a constant scroll speed with your keyframes. The playhead just represents the current instant in time, so it should always be lined up with the note that is playing at that moment. Unless I’m missing something.

Only asterisk I can think of is if the clip is not quite “metronomic” in its consistency of tempo. Then there would have to be some futzing w the scroll speed. (And I think that’s basically the best part about the “creator” end/interface for soundslice; the syncing tools handle these scenarios very easily)

The new Guitar Pro has the “sync” feature to allow the user to inport an audio file and then sync the score to that track, but it doesn’t work at an A+ level yet. It allows the score’s tempos to change as the tempos of the performance change.

Works ok for recordings that were done with a click track, or stay very consistent otherwise. Kind of crappy interface/tool for when the tempo is not straight forward.

I know 99% of anything we’d be talking about would be recorded with a click or super consistent tempo, making what I’m saying here irrelevant in those circumstances, but there’s probably the most relevance in things like rubato intros: Eric Johnson - Cliffs of Dover - ANIMATED TAB by Cortlan GK - YouTube


Adding a keyframe in Final Cut is the same thing as adding a sync point in SoundSlice. So in that respect uneven tempos should be just as hard or easy as they would be in SoundSlice. Move to the note you want in the audio track, add a keyframe on your scrolling tab image, and drag the X value left or right until the same note lines up exactly with the on-screen playhead.

The bigger issue is the “View - Screen Horizontal” setting does not translate to export — I just tried it and GP still exports a typical multi-staff page view. So the method remains super manually intensive without a way to slice the GP image exports into a continuous linear staff.