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Power Tab Editor in editing mode running in Windows XP
|Original author(s)||Brad Larsen|
188.8.131.52 / August 26, 2006
Power Tab Editor is a free tablature authoring tool created by Brad Larsen for Windows. It is used to create guitar, bass and ukulele tablature scores, among many others. The current version uses the *.ptb file format.
The program allows for tablature scores to be created alongside standard musical notation. The software achieves this through the input of tablature.
Each Power Tab file contains two scores: guitar and bass. Only one score needs to be used for a Power Tab file. For proper playback, it is required that the time signatures and tempo markers be consistent between the two scores.
The latest version was released in 2000. In 2006, the author released an open-source wxWidgets based program named the PT Parser. This code contains useful information for developers who want to write software that can convert, view, play, or edit Power Tab (.ptb) files. The PT Parser project is hosted at Google Code .
There is a project on GitHub since July 2014 to develop a new version of Power Tab from the scratch, called PowerTab 2.0. It's a cross-platform (Windows, Linux, OS X) open-source solution. This new version can read the old PowerTab 1.7 files as well as GuitarPro files. A main change is that guitar and bass score are now in the same window. Currently (January 2015) the Alpha 6 version is published  resp. .
The software primarily uses tablature notation entry. This is very useful for guitarists who are not familiar with standard notation and for instructing proper positioning on the neck. Other than the expected buttons for normal notation (i.e. time signature, tempo markers, etc.), there are many others that are directed more at the guitarist. These include:
Power Tab also features several tools to enhance appearance, accuracy and playback for the transcribed music;
Some limitations of the software include:
Detailed bugs are listed in the Power Tab Knowledge Base.
Based on allegations of copyright violations, the Music Publishers' Association has encouraged its members to seek legal action against those sites which distribute Power Tab files of commercial artists. The creator of the Power Tab Editor, Brad Larsen, has stated on his website that the program is not directly affiliated with these sites.
However, the MPA working with the founders of powertabs.net opened a legal powertabs site called Tab Library.