Importing Guitar Midi from Reaper for Tab

• Jan 11, 2018 - 15:39


Love this software and I'm totally at the beginning of the learning curve so please forgive my ignorance. Your help is very much appreciated.

I'm a drummer by trade (so I clearly need help, right?). I've been songwriting with soft-synth guitars, bass, drums, etc... I'm falling on my face creating tabs for our guitarists, and I'd love to get him going so we can bring these digital creations to life our practice room. Also, it's importing what looks like a mess, but this maybe irrelevant once I figure out how to get it into tab form (I hope).

Attached is a photo of where I seem to get stuck every time. I manage to import my file from Reaper (excellent), it sounds overall correct when I playback on the piano (sweet). But look how ugly it is in the key of G-flat with 6 flats (no guitars and especially no bass player understands this) and the double-flats it's producing on the sheet music! And for the life of me I can't get the notes into the tab portion (like copy paste or something?).

In summary:

How do I clean up what key it's in and all those double-flats without changing the pitch of the notes?
How do I bring the import into the tab section and kill off the piano notes (so it's strictly tab)?

Eternally grateful for your help!


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Indeed, seeing the actual file (the MIDI you started from in this case) would help.

But I guess one question is this: is your piece actually in Gb? If not, perhaps you can tell Reaper what key it really is in,so it can put that info in the MIDI file?

Even if the key is wrong in the MIDI file, you can just change it in MsueScore - drag the correct key signature from the palette. Then select all (Ctrl+A) and press Up followed by down or vice versa to respell everything with flats or sharps respectively.

But if your piece really is in Gb, then I'm not sure what you're asking. I mean, you could change it to F#, which is enharmonically the same, but at least as hard to read for most people. Depends on their background - blues / rock / folk guys tend to be more accustomed to sharps, jazz / funk guys more accustomed to flats.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That's a great idea - check the source...

Upon inspection, it appears that Reaper doesn't have a way to set the key of a song/project. That seems weird, but I can't find it and forums seem to support this.

Regarding what I'm asking, I have zero interest in standard notation or what key a song is in. It is performed on a 8-string guitar soft synth used as a 7-string guitar (which result in b being the lowest note and otherwise standard tuning of a typical guitar). I just want clean tabs from MuseScore that I can print and hand over to my guitarists to learn the parts I originally created with midi.

Above is the midi file from Reaper. It would be wonderful if you could have a look!



In reply to by nfinholt

If your only goal is tab, then no need to worry about the standard notation or key. Just right click a staff, Staff Properties, Change Instrument, select Eelectric Guitar (Tablature), then go to Edit / Instruments and select one of the tablature styles. Or, as you suggested, add another instrument (also Edit / Instruments) and copy the music over to it. At that point you can get on with the job of actually prettying up your tab.

But if you do intend to also produce standard notation, then you do need to have a non-zero interest in the subject :-)

In reply to by nfinholt

Copy and paste is indeed super easy - works just like pretty much any other program. Eg, to select a region to copy, click the start point then shift+click the end point (or use keyboard shortcuts like shift+end to select to the end of line, shift+ctrl+end to select to end of score, etc),. Then Ctrl+C to copy. To paste, click the destination and press Ctrl+V. For more info, see the Handbook under "Copy and paste".

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

One would assume, but not for this noob.

So close, thank for your patience with me and super fast responses!

I'm having some success. I'm copying and pasting (CMND A > CMND C > move the cursor to tab portion > CMND V).

As you can see in the photo, I've created chords but am only getting single notes in the tab bar when I paste. And when I select all, it highlights all - interestingly in different colors (blue, green, orange)

Looking at the handbook and not seeing what I'm missing.

In reply to by nfinholt

Looks like you correctly copied the contents of the top staff, which does indeed contain single notes only for that passage. If you wanted the bottom staff included, you should have copied that instead. If you want both staves combined, then when you first import the MIDI file, deselect "Split staff" in the import panel.

The different colors are the different "voices" - see that section of the Handbook. It's how music represents multiple rhythms happening at once on the same staff. Perfectly normal.

BTW, you probably you should quantize your MIDI file before importing it - the rhythms are kind of all over the place and won't make for very readable music, whether standard notation or tablature.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sounded like the fix when I read this...

I'm confused with selecting all with "cmnd A" didn't select all. Could you elaborate?

I'd love to have both staves combined. It appears that MuseScore doesn't have an "Import > Midi" option, just "Import PDF...".

I'm reading the handbook on the different voices and I think I get it conceptually but confused why this is how the file was exported. I'm going back to reaper to try some different "Export Midi" options.

In reply to by nfinholt

Alright, almost there! The final hangup is getting a 7-string Tab Layout. I'm reading the forums and have seen other people with the same issue. They add a string (Edit String Data...) and like me add a B1 string for a standard tuned 7-string. I do this and the Tab layout stays with 6 lines. I'm guessing that the issue is in (Instruments). In the drop down I get a list (i.e. Tab. 6-str. common) but no 7-string option. How does one achieve this?


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