Plugin to colour guitar TAB strings

• Jan 4, 2018 - 17:05


I see there is a plugin that lets you colour music notation so I'm guessing a plugin could also be capable of doing this too. What I would like to do is be able to colour the 'strings' of guitar tab to match the colours used in the learning tool/game Rocksmith 2014 (or a user set colour).

My theory is that anyone who starts playing guitar using Rocksmith will be able to transition over to regular tab and be able to read it more easily with a little splash of colour, especially if those colours match what they are used to. Colour is well known to help in the learning process and I've always wondered why music is so black and white...

Anyway, I'm teaching myself and my 5 year old daughter to play guitar. I mix Rocksmith in with regular learning methods such as tab, chord practice, etc so it would certainly help me to memorise songs. My daughter on the other hand is still too young and just not ready yet to start sight reading Rocksmith. However, I've produced a single tab of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for her and used Paint to add the Rocksmith colours to it. Using Paint is a time consuming process though so I'm looking for a better solution. I reckon if she gets used to the colours by reading and playing some simple tabs that I can print off, given enough practice it well help her when she gets started on Rocksmith too.

I've attached my coloured tab so you can get an idea of what I'm trying to create.

Attachment Size
Twinkle_Twinkle_Little_Star-1.png 77.42 KB


AFAIK coloring lines is not possible via a plugin at the moment.
For the time being you can export your score to SVG and do the coloring in e.g. Inkscape.
As a Fun-Project I once wrote a LibreOffice-Document that could process the exported SVG's from Musescore 2.0.2. automatically (Doesn't work with newer Musescore's SVGs)
(I never adapted it for newer MS-Versions because nobody needed it)

BTW: Your attached Example has quite an unusual Layout with the lowest string being on top. (= "Italian Tablature")

In reply to by musikai

Thank you for the reply. That's a shame but good to know. I will have a look at Inkscape in a moment, I've not heard of that before so no idea what it is yet. I may also check out that LibreOffice document, I don't mind using an older version of MuseScore if I need to so thanks for that.

Yes the tab I attached is inverted using the invert tab checkbox somewhere within MuseScore, I did that purposefully as it then displays the strings the same way Rocksmith does eg. a players perspective of the fret-board.

Edit: Have been playing with Inkscape a bit. Much, much quicker and cleaner results than Paint! I've coloured a whole page with 16 bars in just a few minutes. The same job would have taken probably a couple of hours in Paint. And that tab has semiquaver notes all the way through which means lots little lines between the fret numbers, so I wouldn't have even attempted that with Paint.

So I guess if this never becomes a feature in MuseScore itself, as long as it can always export to an Inkscape friendly format I will be happy. Thank you very much musikai, you've saved me a lot of time!

In reply to by Paul Kipling

Glad it works for you!
Inkscape can also open PDFs (1 page at a time) so even when Musescore's SVG-Export wouldn't work there is a way. A minor draw back with Musescore's SVGs is a wrong page size, as they get exported measured in pixels instead of points. (If you open a SVG in a text-Editor you can see it in the 2nd line)
Meanwhile I added a new version of my "Musescore_Staffline_ColorSizer" to the SVG-Tools-Bundle that is for Musescore 2.1 and above. (It will also correct the wrong page size)

Hi, I came across your question because I'm also looking to use colour in music. I teach piano / keyboard with colour as I also find that colour helps in the learning process. Interested to learn more about how it could be used on guitar. Did you get a solution to your question?

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