7 Free Transcribing Tools For Guitarists

free transcribing tools for guitarists

Transcribing is the art of being able to hear a song, then write the song/lick/idea down in a form that any musician can read and play. Instead of covering “how to”, here are several free transcribing tools that will enable any guitarist to progress.


These are tools I use all the time. Of course, I’m not rewarded for recommending the following products!


So if you’re just getting started transcribing or looking to speed up the process, these tools will be invaluable!



General Guitar Resources

Firstly, some blatant self-promotion!


There’s a ton of free stuff on this website in the Musical Resources section. You can find sheets of blank chord boxes, blank notation, blank notation with TAB, and more!


Power Tab Editor

screenshot by Power Tab



Guitar Software

Power Tab Editor

I’ve used Power Tab Editor for over 10 years (yes, that long!), and it’s one of the best free transcribing tools for guitarists available.


While it can be a bit buggy (remember to save the file before you start working – it has a habit of closing as you’re looking for the right folder to save it!), it’s really useful for writing songs out.


Power Tab Editor is also great for trying out rhythms, especially if you’re stuck while transcribing.


I use it to write songs/licks/parts for teaching, personal transcriptions, and other things.


It’s also great for figuring out chord names, especially when the guitar is in an open tuning as it displays the notes in notation, making it easy to name the chord.


The best part is it’s easy to use and FREE – check it out: Power Tab Editor




TuxGuitar does pretty much the same as Power Tab, just it’s newer (last released in 2009 v.s. 2006 for power tab).


Again it’s just an easy way to write your ideas out and be able to play them back to check if you’re right or not. You can get TuxGuitar




screenshot by Audacity




So that’s writing ideas out. How do we get the song slow enough to work it out?


Over time you’ll get good at hearing the chord changes. However, single notes could still be a problem – especially if they’re super fast.



This is a nice bit of software. You can use it to slow the song down (without pitch change), select and loop bars (even at a slower tempo).


In addition, you can record into it (although it has time issue for those who want to track more than one part on top of each other).


It’s easy to use and could be the simplest way for you to get transcribing today! You can download it: Audacity®


PreSonus Studio One Free

This is a complete recording studio in one easy to use software package. If you’ve used Cubase, Garage Band, or Pro Tools, then you’ll probably be able to get to work with this straight away.


If you’ve not used one of these studio packages, then it could take you some time to work on how to use this software – it might well be confusing at the start.


However, once you’ve got the hang, you will be recording ideas and guitar solos down in next to no time!


Like Audacity®, PreSonus Studio One can be used amongst other things, to slow music down, find the tempo and then select and loop bars so that you can work them out.


The beauty of PreSonus Studio One is you can start with the Free version which is actually amazing for what it is.


A professional version is available and costs around $250. I’ll do a proper review sometime soon.


You can find all the details: PreSonus Studio One


Sibelius First

Sibelius is a fantastic bit of kit if you want to write out scores or arrangements. It’s also great for writing TAB and notation.


If you haven’t tried it for yourself, then you can download a free version. Sibelius First will enable you to compose simple scores with up to 4 instrument parts.


You can find all of the details: Sibelius First



Sibelius First

screenshot by Avid/Sibelius



Start Using These Free Transcribing Tools Today!

So there you have it, a range of free transcribing tools to enable you to start today. What are your favorite free transcribing tools for guitarists to use?

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