allow tab to go beyond 24 frets

• May 10, 2018 - 16:20
S5 - Suggestion

The title says it all. It would be nice if you could tab beyond the 24th fret.
A little discussion here:

A search turned up some requests for non-diatonic tab as well:



In reply to by rmattes

Yes, either I do not understand your question, or I agree with Jojo.
Currently one can enter pitches higher than the 24th fret, but the tab display changes to ? and stays there.
My request would be for the numbers to continue: 25,26,27...
I understand there may be a code restriction on this, so a solution may be non-trivial.
If it is easy to increase the limit, I request it be changed.

"My request would be for the numbers to continue: 25,26,27..."
For which purpose/use case exactly ? Can you elaborate.
(and for which instrument(s) ?)

In reply to by cadiz1

I could use it for bass and fretless bass, essentially.
...but that is just me.
I just ran into need of a 25th fret for a piece I am transcribing.

I know 36 frets are rare, but not unheard of, for guitar and bass.
I would like to see the limit increased for all necked tab-able instruments
(at least the guitars and basses, but that could be needlessly self-centered).
Not to be snarky, but could you explain why this would be a bad idea for any necked instrument?
sincerely asking

"but could you explain why this would be a bad idea for any necked instrument?"

A bad idea? Where did you read that, from me?
My idea, above all, is to know exactly to what use case, in the “real” life, it could correspond.

I think that growing to 29 or 30 frets would be helpful (expected) for mandolin - I had the confirmation of a well known Italian mandolin luthier, that 29 is the maximum to play certain music (you say 36 for guitar and bass? I am not aware of this right now, but I'm always in favor of learning something)

Beyond, frankly, and apart for the uncommon quarter-tones fretted guitars, that MuseScore does not support (as the diatonic tuning, BTW), I do not see the usefulness.
But if it can help some users, (and after agreeing on the limit), and at the risk to surprise yourself (!), let's go for this feature request of course.

Sorry for my misinterpretation; it seemed you were challenging the idea. My mistake.
I think 36 is frankly a mildly excessive number for guitar and bass, but I think it would cover all requests.
Again 22-24 is about the upper limit for most guitars and basses, but going a bit beyond (27 or 30) is 'normal' for boutique instruments.
36 is, well, let's just say it has been done, but it is super-rare.

As for quarter tone and dulcimer scale-based frets, I have no idea. I haven't really looked into it.
Someone else with more experience might have more insight.


For my part, I would vote for 30, a round number (!)
And which would be possible to implement "easily"? : But I have no idea about this.

I would be fine with making all instruments go to 99 if possible.
Of course by that point many instruments will be beyond the MIDI note limit, but so what, right?
I do not feel we need a real world need to make it possible.
Instrument builders and musicians are forever pushing the boundaries.

Is the MIDI note number possibly the reason behind a limit?
127 as a maximum, so
127 - 99 = 28 That would not be a very high open string.
127 - 36 = 91 Plenty of room there.
- just speculating

So, let's go for 36!
But as explained in this comment : "I own 4 GKG's, 2 of which with 36 frets. Played "normally", I can incorporate frets up to the 31st in my playing. The rest are tappable or used in appointments here and there, but not practical in any way for regular phrasing. It's worth mentioning that sustain is quite short above the 29th fret, so you don't really tend to use that with a clean tone - too mandolin-like, basically."

In reply to by mkjnovak

Setting the limit at 99 it is reasonable because it will not change the layout of the current interface and no on will ever (I think) say they cannot put enough frets on their instrument. Because the limit on frets is 99 does not mean the classical guitar (for an example) will allow 99 fret positions on a string. This is limited by the number of frets defined for the instrument, which is 19 for for the classical guitar. Without changing this definition it is impossible to put a note on the 20th fret position.

You can have more octaves for the piano if you want and stay within the 127 pitches (so 10 octaves plus 7 or 8 semitones) . Whether such an instrument exists is a different issue, and there is no need to supply one, but why imposing the restriction?

I say future-proof everything where possible.
cadiz1, the piano may only have 88 keys, but MIDI allows for 127 notes.
I am not saying they are all practical, but they are there.
Then it's a question of attitude: do you approach things from a "but no real world instrument can do that" viewpoint?
I do not agree for instance on the classical guitar fret limit mentioned by mike320.
Sure, most classical guitars do not go up higher, but it is not out of the question.

I often compose and transcribe for synths.
"Real" world piano is irrelevant to this application.
If a synth can do it, I want it.

Perhaps there is fear of writing "un-playable" music?
This can already be achieved.
Picture a guitar simultaneously fretting at three or more unreachable places.
MuseScore has no problem with this.
The composer must simply know the instrument if performance is desired.

In reply to by cadiz1

The 99 limitation should cover every real world situation. As I mentioned, I'm not proposing that any instrument be defined with 99 frets, but this limit will allow for example, the microtonal guitar mentioned in another thread to be defined for 2 octaves on a string (48) frets which seems to be a reasonable number of frets to expect on most instruments with plenty of room for expansion if my guess is low.

As a side note, if someone has a guitar with more than 19 frets, feel free to fix the definition so it matches your guitar.

In reply to by mkjnovak

"Perhaps there is fear of writing "un-playable" music?"
Fear surely not (it's my job to play / teach the guitar). Fear of getting no credible sound - except possibly for tapping - from the 30 fret (unless you have fingers in the form of grasshopper paws), surely yes!

In reply to by mkjnovak

Please, do your math. Even for guitar (relative low/tenor range instrument) you'd ask for the top string at e (midi note 64) go up to midi note 163 ...
Are you suggesting to rewrite MuseScore's midi code to handle midi note values outside the standard 0-127 range?
BTW, 99 frets is 8 and a quarter ocatves - even on my rather large theorbo (89 cm string length) you'd end "plucking" a 1.75 cm piece of string.

Whoa whoa
I started at 36.
There flat out are instruments that go that high; take a look; there are pictures.
99 seemed fine to me out of a decimal-biased sense of 'stop at two places'.
If that seems excessive, fine, but I am not suggesting redefining MIDI or any such thing.
And note, the quarter-tone scale mentioned already would use them twice as fast, so 36 becomes 72.
Just because one can not imagine a use for these numbers, does not mean they are useless.

"If I understand correctly, GP7 supports up to 63 frets..."

Here, I can get 72 (from my point of view, GP suddenly lose some credibility... and nobody is forced to get lost in such a crazy direction)

To sum: it's totally fanciful (and I avoid a word more raw!)


In reply to by mkjnovak

@Cadiz1, you are missing the point. Allowing the user to define as many frets as he wants is not the same as changing the definition of an instrument. Most people will look at their instrument and say, "I need 29 frets for my bass." They will then change the number of frets defined for their bass to 29 (which is not currently possible) and MuseScore will oblige the user. If that user tries to put a note on fret 30, MuseScore will refuse to cooperate. If you attempt to increase the fret above 19 on the current guitar, it will refuse to change. MuseScore does not allow you to change up to fret 24, which as you know is the current limit. There will be no change to this by setting the maximum number for frets to a higher number. It will allow users to set the fret number to whatever they want or need.

MuseScore does not prevent the user from doing other ridiculous unplayable things. In MuseScore you can make the piano play outside of it's range and you can set the displayed range so that all notes end up being displayed in black. Why? For one, there are pianos with more than 88 keys, even though they are very rare. For another, there is no reason to prevent a user from being able to experiment with the notation.

My reaction is that of a guitarist, who really plays this instrument, and who knows the possibilities and the physical impossibilities of this instrument to play this or that note. Experiment? Show me what how to get a "correct" sound, let say on a fret 32 eg, and then I can join you!
And for the current limit, as far I know, it's documented in the handbook, as for other features.

For the record, Sibelius 7.5 can reach the number 59 and Finale 2012, the number 68.
Why? I do not know.
An arbitrary number probably, without further consideration.

Because they just pick yet another random value. It they support it, MuseScore should too, 24 is too low, others support 59, 68, 72, so again, why not go all the way up to 99?

In reply to by cadiz1

This seems to be a courtesy for the user. If you have the palette displayed so there is one or more empty spaces, the first one gets ??? displayed in it. If the palette is displayed so there are no empty spaces, a new line of spaces is created with ??? put in the first one.

Here are palette without "More Elements..." checked

no more.png

The same palettes with "More Elements..." checked.


Their purposes do not seem to be the same as on a tablature.

Because basically we haven't yet been able to agree on a sensible value for the maximum. in my view it could go up to 99, (not higher for possible layout issues), but should at least get up as high as Sibelius (59), Finale (68) Guitar Pro (63 or even 72?), so we can import their files.
Other suggest just 36 (because such an instrument really exists).

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Seriously, have you ever seen scores from Sibelius, GP and others (inported or not), introducing these whimsical frets? Personally, never, and for good reason ...
Nevertheless, and willingly, I vote for 36, which seems to me at least anchored in a instrumental practice.

Status (old) active patch (code needs review)
Status active  

@cadiz1: you're ignoring the point made further up about quarter tone instruments
Another reason to go for 99: the string data dialog currently allows to set up to 99 frets.

So here's my PR:

And nobody is forced to use that many frets. But nobody is kept from using them either

Are we still debating the upper limit?
Fine, then I submit another vote for 99.
My suggestion of at least a minimum of 36 was solely to satisfy the 'but there is no such instrument' purists out there.
See my comments above on limiting based on present / traditional limitations.
You don't like it? Fine, don't use it.
Just don't stop the rest of us from doing so.

Thanks much for this pending change.
Another question that will probably show my newb-ish-ness:
Can I download the two changed files or should I wait for 2.4?
Thanks again,

In reply to by System Message

Reported version 2.1  
Regression No
Workaround No

Is there any development on this? I'm currently working on a banjo score that requires harmonics on the 24th fret yet only the first string of the instrument can go to the 24th fret. It's like Musescore assumes that since the notes are playable on higher strings, a 24 isn't necessary for anything except the first string. It is vital for certain slide guitar and harmonic locations to go beyond the 24th fret on each string.

Hmm... you are right. It worked, but seems broken, at least for banjo (beginning 2021)
I open a new issue. Thanks for report.