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Logic X Converting piano staff style to one Tab

Discussion in 'Logic Pro X' started by Stevie F, May 1, 2016.

  1. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum and new to Logic Pro. I have the latest version of Logic Pro X and am still finding my way around. One thing I'm struggling with is staff styles.

    I have imported a midi file of a song into Logic which, unhelpfully for a guitarist, defaults all the guitar instruments to classic piano staff style with a bass and treble staff. The guitar notes are then split across the two. I have worked out how to change the staff style to Tab but if i change to one Tab staff I only get the treble clef notes and if I change to two Tab staffs I get a repeat of the treble clef notes.

    I found that I can combine two staffs into one by changing staff style to 'Treble -8' which is some progress but I would still prefer Tab. I copied the 'Treble -8' into a new staff style but in Tab rather that treble clef but agin, when applied, I only got the notes that were originally in the treble clef.

    I'm not bad at reading music but with so many guitarists out there who only read Tab I'm sure there must be an easy solution to this but I've spent hours trying to find it. Hence, I joined this site.

    Any help most welcome.
  3. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member


    Hopefully Doug Zangar will jump in as he's a Logic guru and guitar player.

    A general rule for staff styles is to make a duplicate of a given staff style if it's used in several different tracks. This is a lesson learned from Doug's Score Editor tutorial, and Asher's book. As an example, if you're using the Treble -8 for several different tracks, making changes to the staff style for one track, changes them for all. Having a duplicate per track means you can make changes to one without impacting the others.

    As you probably already know, the staff styles for guitar are: Treble -8, Guitar (tab), and Guitar Mix (notes and tab).

    If all you want is a tab guitar staff style per guitar track, then first duplicate the Guitar style as many times as is needed. You can name them what you like: Tab 1, Tab 2, Tab 3, etc.

    Next, assigned each track to a different Tab staff style.

    One puzzing point about your post, all notes should be present when you change staff styles. All treble and bass notes in a piano staff style will be present when you change to say Treble -8, or Guitar (tab). Are you saying this isn't occurring?
    Last edited: May 2, 2016
  4. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member


    Thanks for the response. The main issue I have is covered in your last comment. When I change to a guitar style staff notes do disappear. Below is the original in piano staff:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.51.51.png

    This is how it looks when I put it into 'Guitar' or Tab style:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.52.31.png

    But if I put it into Treble-8 I do get all the notes as follows:

    Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.53.06.png

    As you can see I have all the notes but not in tab. I created a copy of Treble-8 but made it in a tab style and when applied it went back to the 2nd image above.

    There must be a way?

    Attached Files:

  5. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    The notes disappear from the Guitar (tab) staff style because they are too low and beyond the range of the guitar.

    Set up your Main window showing tracks at the top, and the Score editor at the bottom.

    Select a track, making sure all regions are selected. Shift-option-up arrow to transpose by an octave. The missing notes should come into view.

    If the part doesn't sound within the correct range, than use the Track inspector transpose function to set the "playback" octave so that it sounds correct.

    Do this for each track.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  6. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    I must sound like a real novice but I couldn't get this to work. Shift-option-up arrow didn't much for me but I think it depends what is highlighted at the time or where the cursor is. I tried to transpose in the track editor but this just changed the tone without affecting the staff.

    I then managed by fluke to get the shift-option-up arrow to do something but I just heard a note get progressively higher by an octave each time I hit it but, again, nothing happened to the staff.

    When you say highlight a track do you mean in the track area or the staff area? I must be in the wrong area when I hit shift-option-up arrow. Can you be more specific please?

    Thanks for your persistence.
  7. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    It would be very helpful to see a screen shot of your project.

    For each track, make sure all the notes are visible in the score editor.
    Select all the notes, then use Shift-option-up arrow.

    Repeat for each track that you want in tab.

    Or do the above using the Piano Roll instead of the Score Editor. The Piano Roll local Edit menu has a Select All command, and a Transpose command.

    Spend time with the Logic Pro Help which is available under the Help menu.
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  8. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    Many thanks again. That worked for the acoustic guitar in the project. However, I did the same thing for one of the Rock Guitars and, as you can from the attached screen shot, I still lost some notes. It is clear that the first A note is within the guitar range as it is showing the C above it as fret 8 on the E string. So why not show A as fret 5 on the E string or 0 on the A string?

    I thought it may be excluding those notes that were originally in the bass clef when in piano tab but the acoustic guitar had some notes in the bass clef and they have come over ok.

    One step forward but not quite there. Any more ideas please? I tried to screenshot the whole project but the file was too large so include two separate screenshots.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 20.48.33.png Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 20.48.13.png
  9. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Look at the first attachment below. What is the name of the note in the blue circle?

    When in the Score Editor, a selected note will appear in the Event Inspector as in the second attachment.

    I'm guessing you need to select all notes on that track, and transpose up an octave so that all notes are within the guitar's note range and look correct. If so, then the next step may be using the Track Inspector Transpose to set the correct octave so it sounds right.

    Attached Files:

  10. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    Thanks but I've already moved the staff up an octave and transposed the sound down so it still sounds right. If I move it up another octave some of the high notes will probably go out of range.

    I'm convinced that the current range is correct because the C is shown in the tab correctly but the A, three semitones down isn't. To answer your question the pitch of that note is C3. However, I have just noticed that the A is actually A2 but the sound of it is only three semitones below the C i.e. it is A3.

    As I moved the whole region up one octave this would imply that the difference in these two notes was originally 15 semitones but it sounds as if 3 semitones. I reloaded the original midi file (Liar by Queen) and found that the pitch of these two notes is A1 to C2 but the sound as if they are A2 and C2. In the track can you transpose individual notes?

    I notice tat the track has a 'Key Limit' of C2-G8. Would altering that solve this?
  11. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Mystery solved.

    With Middle C as C3, set in Logic Preferences>Display, the low E string is E1, as seen in the first attachment. Oddly, the second region, assigned to Guitar (Tab) staff style, doesn't see the low notes, and doesn't correctly represent the high notes either.

    As highlighted in the second attachment, select Layout>Tablature. The note assignments are incorrect. Low E is assigned to E2, etc. This is reason why the guitar notes are not correctly represented in Logic.

    Double-click on each note assignment to make changes as shown in the third attachment, and the notes will appear as they should.

    If you're doing bass guitar in tab, you'll reenter the notes an octave lower here as well.

    My preference is Middle C as C3. Some reference Middle C as C4, which would make these defaults correct. The issue I have is that the user can Display Middle C as C3 or C4 in Logic Preferences>Display, but this doesn't correct note representation, unless changes are made in the Project Settings>Score>Tablature.

    Bottom line, make changes to the Tablature as shown, then save them in a project template.

    Coming full circle, open a new Empty Logic template, File menu >Open (not import) the MIDI file.
    In the Logic File menu>Project Settings>Score>Tablature, enter the notes as shown in the third attachment. You should now see the notes in tab as you expect to see them without the need to do any of the Score/Piano editor note display transposition and Track inspector transportation.

    Case closed!


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  12. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    Not so fast! Maybe I've missed a stage but, by changing the notes in the tab settings as you suggest, just seems to move all the notes up an octave. The pitch doesn't change which is good but now the tab is telling me to fret notes an octave higher than they should be.

    As an example, the lowest note on a guitar is obviously the open E string which should be represented in tab as 0 on the bottom line. After I made the settings, the lowest note in tab is E but is shown as fret 2 on the D string or fret 7 on the A string. This is, of course, the E one octave above the lowest E.

    In my Tuesday post you can see the first note shown in the tab is C which is correctly shown as 8th fret on E string which is the correct pitch but why won't it show the first note in the staff A as fret 5 on the E string or fret 0 on the A string. Once I have done as you suggest that C is shown as fret 5 on the G string which is an octave higher than the note actually sounding.

    Sorry to re-open the case!
  13. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Select the notes in the score editor or piano roll, then transpose them down an octave. What does that look like?

    If it looks right, but sounds off, then use the Track Inspector transpose.

    The issue is with your MIDI file.
    Post a link to a SMF of one track that I can analyze.

    The notes in the most recent attachments above were entered with a MIDI guitar controller. The only controller I've used since using MIDI as of '89 has been a guitar controller. I obviously don't use tab, but the steps I outlined above are correct for the guitar. C3 or C4 as middle C doesn't matter. The notes and their representation in Tab above are correct.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  14. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Mystery Solved. Really!

    The issue confounding my solution had to due with the notes being recorded on channel 7. The behavior is explained here:

    Before I understood the significance of the channel number, and running out of solutions, I set the Assign value in Tablature to Channel, and the notes appeared as expected with the note values as assigned in the first attachment.

    Trying to figure why lead to the Apple support page.

    Selecting all notes in the Event List to change the channel to 1, then changing Tablature Assign back to Pitch also produced the correct appearance.

    Changing the Tablature Assign to Channel with E1 for low E etc. may be the easiest solution.

    Case closed. Really!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  15. Stevie F

    Stevie F New Member

    Case closed indeed!

    I used the first method as I couldn't change channel for all notes in the event editor. When all selected I found that moving these around I could get the channel for all notes to go up but not down. There must be an easier way of changing channel for multiple notes but, not to worry, I am happy using your first method. There is no issue in leaving the Tab Assign on Channel rather than Pitch I assume?

    Many thanks for your time and perseverance on this. Not only have you solved my immediate issue but I have learned a great deal about LogicPro X along the way.

  16. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Your patience during the problem solving process was a key factor in resolving this issue. I learned a few things along the way as well.

    See the attachments below on one method to change the channel for all notes at the same time.
    1. Select All ( ⌘A). There's also a Select All command in the Event Edit menu.
    2. Double-click on one entry, then change the number.
    3. Hit Return or Enter to change them all.

    Since the Tablature settings are project settings vs. global, there's no issue. You're mostly likely only going to change Tab Assign to Channel when working with similar MIDI files in a project.


    Attached Files:

  17. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Just saw this - glad I could be of help! ; ) Just quickly skimmed the thread so apologies if I repeat covered items.

    There is no substitute for using a guitar MIDI controller with each string assigned to its own MIDI channel. It is WAY faster than anything else as far as getting the notes to appear on the correct strings in tablature. You must take a minute and confirm this is set up properly in the Tab preferences and you must know the MIDI channel output of your strings.

    If you're not doing this, you can still assign notes to MIDI channels, although it can be a bit laborious.

    All the other methods are not completely accurate, if memory serves.

    I find it easiest to go into the guitar Tab staff style you are using and adjust the octave displacement issue there, if you have one. Then you have a staff style you can copy into any other project.

    Commercial plug - this is all covered in-depth in my score editor series on Logic 9 and my new one on LPX (I think it's in Volume 2)

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