How to convert online guitar tabs to Midi to import into Guitar Pro/Tux Guitar

Friday, January 2, 2015

Not earlier than last night, I was confronted to the challenge of having to convert a guitar tab I found on the internet, to MIDI format, so it could be read by TuxGuitar

Indeed, I had just wanted to effortlessly check if the tab I was reading exactly sounded like I needed.

Effortlessly? well not quite so, but in the end I was able to come up with a reliable method which allows one to import a tab into TuxGuitar, play it and/or then export it to whatever format is available, gp5 for example, all legally and free of charge.

The operation is really easy, and to prove it, let's start with, say....something that looks like this:
E||------2--0-2---2-------2--0-2---2---|------3--2-3---3-------3--2-3---3---| B||------------------------------------|----0--------0---0---0--------0---0-| G||----2--------2---2---2--------2---2-|------------------------------------| D||-------------------0----------------|-------------------0----------------| A||------------------------------------|------------------------------------| D||--0---------------------------------|--0---------------------------------| ------3--2-3---3-------3--2-3---3---|------2--0-2---2-------2--0-2---2---| ----2--------2---2---2--------2---2-|----3--------3---3---3--------3---2-| ------------------------------------|------------------------------------| -------------------0----------------|-------------------0----------------| ------------------------------------|------------------------------------| --0---------------------------------|--0---------------------------------|

Tab junkies should have already recognized the piece, Bach's Cello Suite №1 Prelude. The simple trick I found after three hours playing with converters that never worked, was to use this free online tab converter . I did not even have to register and it's completely free.

Step 1

Just copy-paste the tab you have found in the second box. I would not recommend importing directly as a file, as you might get a parsing error. Click on upload.

Step 2

Now time to select an option or two. For my piece, Medium (default option) was too slow so choosing Medium fast did the trick. Also, I have had to select the option Ignore spacing and play notes equally so it rendered times normally. Once done then click on Go at the bottom right corner

Step 3

At this point, all you have to do is to click the blue arrow you can see on the top right corner, this will have you save your data into a .pl file.

Step 4

Assuming you are using TuxGuitar (should not be too different for Guitar Pro users), go to File->Import->Import Midi and select the .pl file you have just downloaded. 

By now, you should be able to play your tab, do any necessary modifications and re-import if necessary, and, you should be able to save or export your tab to any format you like, eg .gp3, .gp4, .gp5, .tg, you name it. 

Note: In case you have trouble playing the tab because you get an error that the Jack audio server cannot be started, don't go disabling pulseaudio or do anything that will impair sounds on your system. Just go to your settings menu (Tools->Settings->Sound), and select a difference audio server interface.

In TuxGuitar, it would look like this:

All you would have to do would be to choose the (default) TG Fuidsynth port and Tux Guitar Sequencer or anything else that's available on your system.

So now, you should be able to (legally, effortlessly and at no cost) import guitar tabs found online to your favorite Guitar tab program. Enjoy your tabs!