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[QUICK TIP] Learn how to change the stem directions of notes

[QUICK TIP] Learn how to change the stem directions of notes

In this article, Bobby Kittleberger from Guitar Chalk is going to walk through the process of changing note stems in Guitar Pro 7.5. You will also find a link to our new and detailed Guitar Pro 7.5 user manual.

Let’s Change stem directions in a few clicks

First of all, keep in mind that you’ll only be able to see notes if you have standard notation toggled “on.” Otherwise, you’ll just be looking at tablature. In Guitar Pro, note stems are still given to tabs, but they can’t be modified or inverted.

Let’s start with a simple melodic run so we can illustrate the process:

I’ve highlighted both bars which means the changes I make will impact all of the notes.

Once you’ve highlighted the notes you want to change, navigate to the following menu item:

  • Note > Design > Invert Stems

The stems will now be facing down instead of up, per the following screenshot:

You can see that each stem is now facing downward, pointing toward its corresponding tab note instead of facing up.

If you want to return the stems to their previous position, navigate back through the same menu and select Automatic Stems.

In the same manner, you can select a single note and invert the stem for only that note:

In this example, the G note at the third fret has a stem pointing up while the A note at the fifth fret is pointing down.

Bobby Kittleberger is the founder and editor of Guitar Chalk, a website that reviews online guitar lessons and publishes high-quality resources for guitar players.

Guitar Pro 7.5 new user manual

ENGLISH – Download Guitar Pro 7.5 user manual in English

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  1. Geoff Alford - October 13, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    In classical music, the direction of the note stems is not arbitrary. It is important for distinguishing melody and bass. Hence melody notes have stems up and bass notes have stems down – there is no argument.

    As for accompanying notes (say, in the chord), these will generally have stems down. If the notes are linking melody notes, these may have stems up; and if the notes are linking bass notes, then these may have stems down.

    The overarching guideline to always keep in mind is that the stem direction must clearly distinguish melody and bass.

    Note that this stem convention may not be followed in many finger-playing arrangments. Often, stem directions are determined by convenience or tidiness. For example, it looks “more tidy” to have high notes with stems down and low notes with stems up, keeping the stems within the staff. But this convention is arbitrary, whereas the classical co9nvention is not – it has the purpose of clearly distinguishing melody and bass.

    Note also, that guitar arrangments which follow arbitrary conventions may be rejected by classical guitarists and students because they confuse melody and bass; e.g. “why should I try to play an arrangement when it may lead to confusion over what is melody and bass. Better to get another arrangement which is clear.”

  2. Thomas Duflos - October 15, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Hi! Thank you for your clarifications! 👍

  3. Marco - November 25, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Olá gostaria de saber como faço ou qual versão do Guitar pro tem em Português?

  4. Thomas Duflos - November 26, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Olá, Guitar Pro está disponível em português, obrigado.

  5. Derek Fox - January 4, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    It is necessary to be able to alter each individual stacked note as either stem up or stem down in complicated arrangements. That is a way to notate divisi. In a two part viola section, for instance, if half of the section plays an E and the other half plays a B, we want the E stem pointing down and the B stem pointing up.

  6. Thomas Duflos - January 7, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Hi Derek, you could change the stem directions and then use the “multivoice” functionality. You can set one direction into each voice. Thanks

  7. José Pedro Barbosa - January 25, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    I’m editing a piano sheet (grand staff) with two voices in the upper staff and one in the lower staff. The stem options appear grayed out for me. What am I doing wrong?

  8. José Pedro Barbosa - January 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Nevermind, I figured it out (I was using multivoice, selecting one voice solved it). Sorry to bother you.

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