XSTab - The Idea

Everything starts with a song import of a WAV-File from the file systems. XSTab scans the Guitar tabulature from the WAV file and stores it as a new album with one song both named with the file name.

From that on all available filters and functions can be applied to the new song. Each filter and function create a new song in the album, which can be filtered or changed as well. Choose the filters and functions depending on the quality of the imported WAV-File and, especially, depending on what you want to do.

Version Information

Platform: Mac OS X
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XSTab - Getting Started

Where To Find What

The entire screen is split into three parts:
  1. The application tree on the left including the [Albums] and [Tunings]
  2. The content on the right showing the [Tabulature] and this documentation ([Help])
  3. The working panel on the lower right.
All functions are launched from the application tree via context menues or from the application menues [Album] and [Song] with corresponsing menu items. Once a song is selected in the application tree the content part shows the [Tabulature] of this song. [Tabulature] shows the entire song or the currently relevant chords around the playback position during playback.

Import Your First Song

XSTab can import WAV-Files, only. It is not possible to import any compressed file formats. To import a song choose [Import WAV File] in the application menu [Album] or right click [Albums] in the application tree and choose [Import WAV File] . Select your file and press [Open]. A new album is inserted in the tree with the name of the song and a new subnode is added below the album representing the song. In the working panel [Output] the current import state is printed out. Once the import is finished the scanned tabulature contents are shown on [Tabulature].

MIDI Playback 

Every song can be played by MIDI. The Playback speed can be set between 10% to 100% of the original speed. To start playback open [Playback] in the working panel and press [Play]. Once running, the current playback cursor is shown on [Tabulature] in the content panel.

Using Loops 

Focusing on a subset of the tabulature "Loops" can be defined in XSTab. To define a loop simply click on a hold on tab [Tabulature]. This hold will be used as the begin of the loop. Second, scroll down and click the hold which shall end the loop. If begin and end holds already exist a click will move the begin to the clicked hold if it is next to the existing begin. Otherwise the end will be moved. All holds of the loop are highlighted with XX below the tabulature.

When starting playback only the holds of the loop are played. If no loop is defined the entire song will be played. Press [Reset Loop] on the [Playback] panel to delete the loop for the currently selected song. Press [>< To Song] to extract all holds of the loop to a new song in the same album.

Guitar Tunings 

XSTab provides the [Standard] and the [Drop D] Tunings. Choose the desired tuning in the application menu [Tunings] to make XSTab use this tuning during file imports.

Export to the File System 

To export a song to the file system right click on the song in the application tree and choose [Export to Textfile] or choose the corresponding item in the application menu [Song]. XSTab suggests a file name build by the song title and the ending ".txt". If this is suitable for you select a directory and press [Save].

Song Filters

XSTab provides the following song filters which are accessible from the application menu [Song] or from the contextual menu of a song in the application tree.
  1. Apply Standard Filters
  2. Apply Plectrum Filters
  3. Apply Rhythmn Filters
  4. Extract Voices
  5. Extract Loudest Voices
  6. Remove Options
  7. Remove Voices
  8. Transposing Up and Down

1. Apply Standard Filters

All Standard Filters
This filter removes overtones from a song and simplifies the left and right hands. In doing so, the following filters are applied:
Simply Left and Right Hands
The menu "Apply Standard Filters" provides filters for optimizing the left and the right hand by predefined patterns. All left hand patterns base on standard holds like the Amaj-patterns starting from the second fret including Barres in higher positions.

All right hand patterns have an order number and during optimizing the matching pattern with the highest order is used. Use these filters once scanned tabulature is very complicated and can be simplified.

Detecting Voicings
Use this filter to extract the most frequently used voicings of a song.

This might be useful to invent new ideas and to adjust the song to your needs. Everybody plays a song differently.

Push Down Strings
All tones are pushed down by one string.

Use this filter to move the holds to a higher position on the fretboard. E.g. an "A" on the high E-string on the fifth fret will be moved to the B-string on the nineth fret. The entire sound will not be changed.

2. Apply Plectrum Filters

The plectrum filters start with a voice e.g. the melody and extract additional tones on adjacent strings which can then be played using a plectrum.

Use these filters if you want to play voices of a song using a plectrum.

3. Apply Rhythmn Filters

First, all lingering tones are deleted by the Rhythmn filters. Second, all gaps are added to the duration of the previous hold. Third, the gathered holds are applied to the selected rhythmn.

Use these filters to extract pickings from a song and to set the song's rhythmn.

4. Extract Voices

XSTab includes some filters to extract voices from a song. The most interesting filter should be the filter to extract the melody and brass line. Additionally, it is possible to extract intermediate voices as well.

The filter group "Extract Leading Voices" can be used to extract the melody and brass line and the loudest n - 2 intermediate voices. Doing so, the filter "Extract Leading Four Voices" will extract the melody and brass plus the two loudest intermediate voices.

In my experience the "Leading"-filters are best to extract the "really played" tones except overtones.

5. Extract Loudest Voices

XSTab does not apply volume filters by default. Use these filters to extract the n loudest voices from the song and to waste overtones. In contrast to the "Extract Voices" filters above the melody and brass lines are not taken over by default.

6. Remove Options

XSTab determines the harmony of every hold including sevens nines elevens and so on. The menu "Remove Non Harmony Tones" can be used to remove mistones which do not fit into the harmony and might disturb the entire sound.

Second, the seven nine or eleven can be explicitly removed from all holds of a song.

If you want to reduce a song to simple harmonies without options like the seven use the "All From"-filters to remove all or a subset of the options, instead.

7. Remove Voices

Use these filters to remove the melody, the brass voice or both or any intermediate voices.

8. Transposing Up and Down

Use these filters to transpose a song up or down by an arbitrary interval.

This is useful once a song is played in a none guitar friendly key - Jimmy and Stevie always play in Eb :-).