If you want to buy professional guitar TAB sheet music online, you really have two choices:  Hal Leonard’s GuitarInstructor.com and MusicNotes.com that offers a lot of Alfred Publishing songs.  Between those two services, you should be able to find almost any song you want to play.  Here’s the PR blurp for MusicNotes.com:

Musicnotes, Inc. offers an online catalog of 100,000 digital sheet music titles, built on the strength of content agreements with Alfred Publishing, EMI Music Publishing, Faber Music Ltd, Sony/ATV Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Disney Music Publishing, Cherry Lane Music Company, Peermusic, Word Music, EMI Christian, Bug Music and many others.

I usually buy my songs online from Hal Leonard, but now that I’m dipping a bit more into guitar Jazz, I was desperate to find “Take Five” — scored for the guitar — written by Paul Desmond and made popular by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. I found just what I wanted, and more, on MusicNotes.com:

The “and more” part came in a free program called “GuitarGuru” that — for a few dollars more added to the price of the sheet music — will virtually play the song for you in a visual fretboard program.  GuitarGuru shows you the right fingerings and fret positions. It’s nifty and smart!

I did, however, find a dumb mistake early in “Take Five” that threw me off a bit.  In the fourth measure, there is a fingering error in GuitarGuru that doesn’t match the sheet music.  It threw me for a day and a half — “How could my GuitarGuru be wrong?” — I decided to follow the sheet music and not what the GuitarGuru was playing for me.

The other neat thing that MusicNotes.com offers, and Hal Leonard does not, is the ability to load their sheet music on your iPad.  Your MusicNotes.com account seamlessly syncs with your iPad and you can carry your music with you!

You can also annotate your sheet music with virtual pens, highlighters and text:

If you don’t like the messiness of the notes, you can turn them off so you don’t have to look at them:

MusicNotes.com is a killer website and it has some wonderful music.  MusicNotes.com, unlike GuitarInstructor.com, serves a more mainstream mission.  MusicNotes.com has all sorts of scores for piano and voice and other instruments, so you have to wade through the music to find the guitar TABs; and not all of the guitar TABs are “GuitarGuru” enabled.

Definitely check out MusicNotes.com if you’re in the market for some hard to find music — at a price that can be six to eight times what Hal Leonard will charge you per song — but if you need to have that tune out of your head and into your hands, as least you now have a way to pay your way into satisfying your musical sheet music happiness.


  1. I love the fact that you can get the music notes on your pad and make notes — but then turn them off when you don’t want to see them. It’s like having two copies of the same sheet music! Quite brilliant.

    1. Yes, I wish Hal Leonard let us put their sheet music on our iPads! You can also change the paper the music is “printed on” in your iPad with MusicNotes.com, so you can use what works best for your eyes in various lighting conditions.

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