Tabophone Pickup Transcribes and Visualizes Your Playing | VIDEO

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Tabophone is a new MIDI guitar pickup from Cardinote that promises to make transcribing fast and easy for guitarists.

The pickup can be mounted temporarily on your guitar with putty and simultaneously tracks across all six strings to detect which strings and frets are in use. Tabophone outputs the data over USB as MIDI information that can be used to play virtual instruments as well as record in transcription programs, like Sibelius, Finale and so on.

Tabophone is fully polyphonic, detects dynamics as well as pitch bends and offers support for custom tunings. It includes a desktop app that provides a polyphonic tuner and virtual fretboard to let you visualize your performance. (See inset)

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The pickup is the creation of Calvin Law, whose company, Cardinote, is based in Canada.

Tabophone has generated some interest among guitarists in recent months, with many wondering when the product will be available. No street date or pricing has been provided as yet.

Law responded to one post on this past March, saying, “We estimate pre-orders to be available this year. We can't give you an exact date, as we don't want to over-promise and disappoint you.”

Some readers expressed concerns about the putty used to hold the pickup to the guitar. Law replied, “Tabophone uses removable putty very similar to the ones you would use to stick paper onto walls. Because the device is so thin and light, it sticks very well to the guitar even on matte surfaces. So cleanup is very easy.”

He added that the putty will not hurt a guitar’s finish. “Absolutely no,” he writes. “You can easily remove/un-stick it. Tabophone was designed to overcome this very problem encountered with some current hex pickup solutions (ie. double-sided tape).”

As for the company’s future products, he writes, “Tabophone is currently designed to fit most (if not, all) 6-string acoustic guitars, although we may add future support for new instruments.”

Check out the video and see what you think. For more information, and to keep up to date on Tabophone’s availability, visit