This page contains links to web sites and free software that may be interesting and useful to music students.
Powertab Software Download - Power Tab is the best free tablature editor available, and it's used by all of the rockfactory.us guitar and bass instructors. It produces professional quality guitar/bass scores, and is very easy to use. All music printouts in the free text lesson section of this site were produced with powertab. It automatically writes out the standard musical notation for any tab you input. It can import standard MIDI files and convert to guitar tab. It will play back any music you input (via your MIDI output), and it can output standard ascii tab (the type used on sites like the one below). If you want to write out any music for guitar, or any other stringed instrument, get it - it's free!
TuxGuitar - Another fantastic Tab reading/writing program. This one is actually much more powerful than Powertab, it's just not as well known. Tuxguitar runs on Mac, PC, and Linux, and can read/write not only Powertab files, but also all versions of Guitar Pro Files! It also offers many printing options that are not available in Powertab. It's completely free and open source.
Ultimate-Guitar.com - The largest and most current database of free powertab scores are available at here. There are hundreds of thousands of free powertab scores listed, which compete in quality with any published book or magazine available. Even recently released songs by pop artists are quickly added to the site. If you can hear it on the radio, you can most likely find it on ultimate-guitar.com . Search by artist or by song/composition title - the rating system in place ensures that you don't get junky, incorrect transcriptions (typical of many other online sources). Virtually every tab on this site is as good as the commercially published editions. If it's been played on a stringed instrument, you'll most likely find music for it. It's absolutely the best and most useful resource that a beginning guitar/bass student will find - but be warned, there are a ton of pop up advertisements and inappropriate photos.
Audacity - Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It does multi track recording, and it's great for putting parts together because you can edit the sounds visually. You can also use it to slow down and change the pitch of recordings, so that they're easier to learn. It's one of the best learning tools available, and it's powerful enough to create commercial recordings - even full length albums. It's a very small download, and it runs on virtually any computer platform.
Guitar Chord Diagram Maker - Create and print instant guitar chord diagram charts for songs. Great for players of all levels, to learn chords and to create performance charts. A Rockfactory exclusive program!
Chord Accompaniment Player - A Rockfactory exclusive practice tool! This simple little program plays chord progressions in a repeated loop so that you can practice songs or improvise and jam along with an accompaniment. Just type in the chords from any song or chord progression, then press play. You can adjust the performance speed and save/reload your creations for future use. Chords are played using recorded acoustic guitar sounds. The link above is a Windows executable. If you'd like to use this on a Macintosh or Linux system, just download and install the appropriate Rebol runtime for your computer, and then download and run the chords.r script. If you're using an Intel Mac (instead of a typical PPC Mac), you'll need this runtime file instead - right click and save it (also available here). Here are some sample chord files that you can load to get started.
BestPractice - A great little practice tool that lets you slow down, loop, and change the pitch of any wave file or CD recording. It's perfect for trying to figure out parts to songs that simply are too quick to hear at normal speed - especially fast instrumental solos and licks. It's also great for practicing parts that you're learning - playing along with original recordings at slow speeds to get parts learned can really help the learning process. It's also useful when the original recording is not at correct pitch - especially in tunes where the guitar is tuned down a half step. With best practice, you don't have to retune your instrument to play along! It also removes vocals from recordings so that you can hear the instrumental parts better. It's completely free :)
AP Guitar Tuner - A great free software tuner! This one works better than most hardware tuners that you buy at a music store. It's shareware, but it's not disabled in any way.
PerfectPitch Tuner - Works on some versions of Windows that the AP tuner above will not work on. NOTE: this program works very well, but please be careful installing it - during installation it will ask you to try a number of other programs created by the software company (not required). Be sure to uncheck each of the other programs, or they will all get installed.
Simple Metronome - Keeps time for you, includes a built in sound, and allows you to use your own waves files to keep the beat.
Debut Video Recorder and CamStudio - These are screen recording programs that can be used to create videos from anything that happens on your computer screen. Our students use these programs to record their live online lessons. Debut video recorder can also be used to record video directly from your web cam, microphone, or any other video/audio source. Our preference is for Debut video recorder - it's tiny to download (only 400k), does a great job of recording any type of video, and can save videos in many formats. To record your online lessons, simply download and install either program, use the selection tool to select the area of your screen that you want to record, click the record button, and you've got a permanent recording of the lesson that you can watch and refer to again and again.
ScreenCamera - This program allows you to share your screen activity via any video conference/chat application. It pipes everything that happens on your screen through a driver, which appears to your system as a web cam attached to the computer. It's like having a virtual camera pointing at your desktop. Instead of sharing your camera video, you can share a screencast of everything that happens on your screen by simply selecting the ScreenCamera driver instead of your physical web cam device. It allows you to send video of any selected area on your screen, any selected application window, your entire desktop, or you can even choose to follow your mouse pointer as you move around the screen. It turns any video/chat application into a screencast solution, and is the best way to do live screencasts in our lesson rooms.
Foxit PDF Reader - Some of the Free Online Text Lessons on this site are provided in PDF format. Foxit is a lightweight alternative to the bulky Adobe Acrobat Reader for reading PDF files. It runs in every version of Windows, and is small, reliable, and easy to use.
CutePDF - This program allows you to create PDF files from any program that can print to a printer. CutePDF installs a printer driver that you can select when you choose to print a document. Instead of printing out to a physical printer, it saves that printed output as a PDF file. This is a great way to send music to people who don't have the same viewing programs installed as you. For example, you can print a tab score from Powertab or GuitarPro, so that others who don't have those programs installed can read the music. We do that regularly in online lessons... and like everything else on this page, CutePDF is totally free.
PowerArchiver - Many tablatures and other files on the Internet are distributed in "zip" format. Powerachiver lets you work with zip files, and with virtually all other common compression formats (it's similar to Winzip, but completely free).
YouTube.com - A great place to go to listen to music that you don't have on CD.
Scaletool and Easychord - Software dictionary tools that let you visualize scales and chord patterns on most common fretboard and keyboard instruments. Great for learning alternate fingerings for every possible scale and chord on your instrument.
http://www.acousticpower.com/ - A great site containing high quality powertab scores for virtually every acoustic guitar piece in existence.
http://www.alltabs.com/fiddle_tabs.php - music for other instruments written in powertab format.
http://www.tabrobot.com/ - This is the place to go to find free ascii (text) tablatures for your favorite music. If you can't find the music you want at ultimate-guitar.com or on other powertab sites, try searching here. Text tabs are not always as rich and correct as powertab downloads, but they're a useful option if you can't find any well written powertab scores.
Guitar Pro - Another tab editor with a huge user base, and many thousands of free files to download. GuitarPro is a great learning tool, but it's not freeware. The shareware version will let you look at the tabs, but printing is disabled. There are tens of thousands of tablatures available at ultimat-guitar.com, as well as http://www.mysongbook.com/ .
How To Program - See Nick's programming tutorial, howtomakeaprogram.com and easiestprogramminglanguage.com
http://www.wherecanifindaprogrammer.com - Nick's page about programming for hire
Free Consignment Software: http://freeconsignmentsoftware.com