In Japan, so called バンドスコア (Band Scores) are widely available, showing multiple parts for vocals, guitar, bass and drums. An example can be found in the image on this question or see below:

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As you can see in this image, repeated strumming of chords is indicated with only the note tails / beams and not repeated numbers as is common in ASCII tabs or Guitar Pro / TuxGuitar, for example. In some other band scores, they are indicated with slashes in place of numbers with crosses (X) to indicate fret-hand mutes during strumming.

I would like to create guitar tabs for original songs, and would greatly prefer to use this notation instead of the repeated number notation of most tablature software. What software, if possible, should I use for this?

  • Note that this is not unique to Japanese music publications. I have some Led Zeppelin scores published by a publisher in the UK and purchased in the USA that have the same notation style. Feb 2, 2016 at 20:45
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    Product searches are off topic here but there is an entire Stack for this: softwarerecs.stackexchange.com Feb 2, 2016 at 20:46
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    I'd be surprised if SoftwareRecs.SE had a better audience for a question such as this, as it's highly specific to notation. Anyway, I would expect to be able to accomplish this with any full-featured professional notation software.
    – NReilingh
    Feb 2, 2016 at 22:17
  • I'd be supprized if you couldn't do this with any engraving program. Finale can do it hands down and I bet so can LilyPond and sileabus.
    – Dom
    Feb 3, 2016 at 1:23
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    Software like GuitarPro can do notation similiar to this/like this. The Freeware TuxGuitar probably offers similiar features but I'm only familiar with GuitarPro and usually use this for notation for my band. Mar 14, 2017 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


You can do this using the free notation software Musescore by notating the chords fully, selecting their noteheads (only), and toggling their invisibility (press v). If you don't care about the music playing back correctly in the software, you could just put any arbitrary note on the staff and do the same. There is also a selection filter that lets you pick out a block of music and select only the noteheads.

If there is a notation program you already use, chances are it has a similar feature, and you may have better luck by looking on a forum dedicated to that program.


In the program I use, the method is the same as any other notation, with the added step of altering the note heads (to rhythm slashes, or invisible, or X, or whatever note head you desire).

  1. create notes with correct rhythms
  2. alter note head to desired shape/style

I have no idea how other programs do it, but I do know that it's possible and fairly standard. If your program doesn't offer this feature, get another program. No doubt your work product will be improved in other areas, too.

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