Dorico 3, 3.1, and 3.5: Guitar notation


This is part of a series of in-depth reviews about each of the major features in Dorico 3, in addition to our general review.

Dorico 3

Guitar fingering, string indicators, tablature, chord diagrams, bends, and pre-bends come to Dorico for the first time in version 3.

From the version history: “Dorico 3 includes comprehensive support for left- and right-hand fingering, with sophisticated automatic placement that produces results that are the equal of the finest published editions.”

Oh? Why, hello. Yes, please do sit down and tell us more.

We continue reading: “Dorico has the most sophisticated algorithms for the placement of left-hand fingering of any software…”

Bold. Hmm…  It’s not bragging if you can back it up, right?

In my extensive review, we cover Dorico 3’s new support for guitar. Settle in and watch the full video:


Or, jump to specific sections:

  • 0:02 Introduction
  • 1:46 Guitar basics
  • 3:26 Fingering
  • 5:58 String indicators
  • 8:22 Barre chords
  • 9:05 Fingering and string indicators wrap-up
  • 9:40 Opinion interlude no. 1
  • 13:04 Chord diagrams
  • 14:35 Tablature
  • 15:53 Opinion interlude no. 2
  • 16:17 More chord diagrams
  • 24:30 Alternate tunings
  • 25:56 Guitar bends
  • 35:56 Organization of information in Dorico
  • 37:19 Conclusion

Dorico 3.1

A review of new guitar features found in Dorico 3.1: matching user-defined chord shapes, revamped chord diagrams editor, 4-, 5-, or 6-note chord shapes, and fingering improvements.

Also, read our full review of Dorico 3.1.

Dorico 3.5

A review of new guitar features found in Dorico 3.5: Playback of guitar bends and jazz articulations, new notation of guitar bend runs, vibrato arm dips, scoops, and dives, hammer-on and pull-off, tapping, and tablature with rhythms.

Also, read our full review of Dorico 3.5.


  1. Claude

    Really very nice review Douglas.
    Until you showed the Guns transcription book @ 31:13 where we can see the awful notation example of bends that do _NOT_ change the pitch of the notes (meas – 1 & 4). For somebody that reads music fluently this is total non-sense and just wrong notation. I saw in your own transcriptions that you do not do this so I hope this was accidental or you were demonstrating something else.

  2. Renato

    Great and honest review. And to the same point I made at other post about Dorico 3 release.
    Dorico, and Sibelius too, don’t understand how guitar players think when bending a note.

    Part of my income as a musician is teaching guitar and creating lessons for guitar students. We can see the mess Sibelius and other professional scoring software like Dorico do with the rhythm of simple bends, with all those grace notes all over the place. This is specially upsetting with pre-bends, bend and release and all those crazy things we do with the guitar.

    This kind of notation is not natural to read and imagine when you are trying to teach a guitar student how to read rhythm by learning some guitar solos. A professional session guitar player can understand and make his interpretation of the part, a guitar student would be confused and demotivated… “I will just watch a video of some cover and keep playing until I get it right” some would say.

    Daniel from Dorico is a great guy and let me send him my point of view and how would I want the guitar notation to be. That’s great that they are at least listening to us and willing to see how we would like to score guitar.

    I see that Douglas shares some of my opinions regarding bends and guitar notation in general. I hope developers from Sibelius, Dorico and Finale watch it and start thinking of ways to implement different approaches to guitar notation, specially the scary bend. =)

  3. Spencer Doidge

    At 23, the chord diagram discussion, I thought why couldn’t Dorico create a tablature of the chord, whether or not it is to be displayed, and map that to a chord diagram? Dorico can do tablature. You’d think that would be a way to get it right every time.
    This whole Dorico experience started for me yesterday when my Sibelius experience of 16 years duration Sibelius suddenly stopped responding to any stimulus even to stop me from clawing my money back for not licensing my new version and leaving me with 8 days left on my “trial version.” I think Avid must be dead. Imagine my delight to look at Dorico and see what I saw! All I have done since late last year is copy Bach and notate my own fingerings–with Sibelius. My character has been sufficiently built by now. I am delighted to retire to Dorico and continue my work!

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