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Review: TabToolkit

March 22, 2010


If, like me, you're a guitarist, you know how many items beyond the guitar need to be carried at any one time; cables, picks, tuner, spare strings, sheet music, the list goes on. With TabToolkit, you never need to carry sheet music or tabs you've printed, or scribbled down, ever again. TabToolkit allows you load as many guitar tabs and music sheets as you want, as well as view the notation and tabs through the excellent playback engine. But can TabToolkit really replace physical sheet music and tabs? Lets find out...


- Supports Guitar Pro and Power Tab formats for playback - Basic support for PDF and text files as well - View music notation and tablature notation - Adjust tempo - Metronome with choice of sounds - Display guitar, bass or keyboard with finger positions - Upload files from any browser or download with the built-in browser - Landscape or portrait view - Left or right hand mode When you first open TabToolkit, you are presented with a selection of pre-installed songs to choose from ranging from classical to national anthems. Select a song from the list and the notation will be shown on the screen. From here you can play the track (as long as it is in Power Tab or Guitar Pro format), choose to turn the metronome on or off, choose left or right handed and choose which instrument you want to see (guitar, bass or keyboard). As a bass player, the last option is excellent for me. When playing a track, the music notation, tablature and fretboard are all shown in real time so it's easier to follow along with the music. You can skip to specific section using the progress bar at the top of the screen. Meta data for the track such as name and title can be edited through the 'i' symbol at the bottom. This is all well and good, but what if you want to learn some more popular guitar rifts? This is where the uploader comes in. Firstly, make sure you're connected to a wireless network then launch the uploader with the '+' button on the home page. In your web browser, enter the address you are given (e.g. and the web uploader will load. From here you can upload files from your computer, download tracks already on your iPhone and submit text only tabs. Upload/download is amazingly fast even on a slow internet connection so you won't spend your entire time waiting to download tabs. TabToolkit also includes a browser so you can browse the internet and download tabs from within the app, a great feature for anyone who needs to grab tabs on the go.

The Breakdown

The Good: If you're always learning new songs then TabToolkit is a must-have. TabToolkit is packed full of features that set it above any other tablature app in the app store. Speed adjusting, metronome sound choices and the uploader are just a few of the features that make it worth the $9.99 price tag. The ability to download tabs directly from within the app through the browser is excellent and alleviates the need to be near a computer to grab new tabs. The Bad: TabToolkit has pretty much everything covered. The only thing I can think of that it's missing is the ability to create your own tabs from within the app which would be pretty sweet.

The Verdict

TabToolkit is simple enough for anyone to be able to use but still fulfils the needs of more advanced users. And although it may be on the high end of app pricing at $9.99, you really do get what you pay for with TabToolkit.

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