Brio is the new Tabophone

Last Updated: Aug. 15, 2019.

We’ve hinted in our last post that Tabophone has gotten some big upgrades since the first prototype. But what are those changes exactly? Its name is one of them: we’re happy to announce Brio as the successor to Tabophone.

Appearance Upgrade

It’s still the same note-tracking pickup that rests next to the guitar bridge. But we redesigned its appearance so that it looks great on your acoustic. The pickup will look right at home whether your guitar has a light grain, dark grain, sunburst or jet black finish. For lime green or hot pink coloured guitars…not so much.

Here’s a preview of how Brio looks:

Sneak peek at Brio's side view.
Sneak peek at Brio’s side view.

How the pickup attaches to your guitar has also changed. Brio is equipped with microsuction material on its bottom that sticks on your guitar with a quick press. You can then peel Brio right off without damaging your guitar or leaving residue.

Wireless Upgrade

Many of you said that a wireless version would be perfect. We listened to you by adding Bluetooth MIDI support to Brio. Now you have the convenience of going wireless in addition to classic USB. Battery life lasts 3.5 hours in wireless mode and recharges in just 1.5 hours. You can still use Brio in USB mode while recharging.

Bluetooth MIDI means Brio works with mobile apps like Garageband out-of-the-box.

Software Upgrade

Brio comes with its own desktop app available on both OSX and Windows. The app allows you to configure Brio from a super user-friendly control panel. These settings are actually saved onto Brio itself so you don’t need to have the desktop app open all the time (unlike Tabophone). This is how the control panel section of the app looks at the moment.

Control Panel section of the Brio desktop app.
Control Panel section of the Brio desktop app.

These settings affect how Brio sends note information to the host computer/device. We’ll go over what each of them does.

Polyphony. Enables individual string tracking. If you are recording notation, you want this to be always on for fret positions to show up correctly.

Pitch Bend. Enables string bend tracking with ±2 half steps range. Notation software usually ignore this setting. If Polyphony is also enabled, string bends are tracked on individual strings.

Pitch Shift. Tell Brio to send notes a number of half steps lower or higher than played.

Dynamics. Loudness sensitivity from 0 (not sensitive) to 100 (most sensitive). When set to 0, Brio treats all notes to be played with same loudness. At 100, Brio can tell between very soft and very loud notes.

Tuning Mapping. When enabled, you can quickly capture notes in another tuning without having to actually retune your guitar.

How it works: Say your guitar is in standard tuning but you want try out a few measures in drop D. Set your ‘Actual Tuning’ and ‘Virtual Tuning’ as shown in the screenshot. Your notation software/audio workstation will now record as if you were tuned to drop D! Once you’re done, just disable Tuning Mapping to go back to standard. Alternate tunings are customizable.

Price Upgrade?

Nope. We said Tabophone will be priced 199 USD or below for early adopters and we will stand by that with Brio.

What’s Next

We’ve prepared more updates up ahead. Our new website is under construction. Another video is also in the works. As always, you’ll always hear about it first on our newsletter. In the meantime, we hope you’ll learn a new chord/riff/song or two. Happy playing.

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  1. Bruce Moore

    I play guitar synth in my band during live performance. I have been using a roland gr 33 since it came out. I bought the GI-20, Gr-55 and Fishman triple play. The old Roland is still the best overall because the control of the patches and the quality of the organ sounds. The GI-20 has no food control and it's difficult to setup and the fishman tracked OK until I upgraded to the foot controller. Since then the software has been full of bugs and the tracking has been poor. Also less control with the feet with the lack of the expression pedal. If your system can do poly, track hammer-ons and pull offs and string bends accurately, that would be great. But then I need a good way to change patches and see the patch name on floor, preferably without a computer. Like the fishman footswitch. shows the patch name. I have been experimenting with using it with an iPad application, but it has been difficult.

    • That's some nice gear you have! I see what you're describing.

      Brio is a Bluetooth MIDI device so you'll be able to pair it with your iPad and use apps with it. It's definitely not as good as a real foot switch though.

      Another way may be to connect Brio's USB MIDI output to an audio interface USB host. Then you can connect the interface to your hardware with classic 5-pin MIDI cables. I bet the folks at vguitar forums would have more knowledge on which units to choose.

  2. Daniel Gagné

    How do you do Calvin
    This is excellent news about BRIO
    Has you know I am still very interested in early purchase of BRIO
    as soon as it becomes availlabe .
    For me the last specifications of BRIO are exactly what I am looking for .
    About sofware I am using as you know "Guitar Pro 6" that i have
    using for many year now in Windows .
    Merry Chrismas to you and your family . Daniel Gagne , Granby, PQ

    • Bonjour again Daniel, thank you and that's great to hear! We've tested Brio with Guitar Pro 6 on Windows and it works everytime :)

      Wishing you Merry Christmas & enjoy the holidays.

  3. Cezary

    Very cool, have you also considered lap or slide guitar users? With glissando for more than 2 tones? I also think that a dry hexophonic pickup option would be cool, without midi recognition, but separate 6 string signals would be fantastic. Many thanks and regards for Super job!

  4. Bill

    I just found out about your system! I play a lot of very advanced fingerstyle acoustic guitar solos! Would your system let me do tablature so my students could play? You seem to have new things coming out, how can I get the latest stuff? I'm on a mac ! Thanks / Bill

    • Hi Bill, you can connect Brio to your existing notation software (Guitar Pro, Progression, Musescore, etc.) to record tablature for your students.

      Don't worry, both Brio and our upcoming software will work for MacOS/Windows and we'll let you know when new stuff is coming through our newsletter!

  5. Fred D

    Calvin I have sent you an email and now I am posting, I really like the video presentation of the pickup, Do you have a protype that works and you would sell? this is such a great tool to tab lead riffs and more. Are you still involved with this venture, when can I buy one?

  6. Darren Hanson

    I'd really love some sort of low/high note priority mode for bass accompaniment or harmonies! That would really take it to the next level.

  7. nguwusic

    That would be an awesome tool for Youtube guitar teacher like me ! Combined with Fret Zeppelin could revolutionnize the Learning and Teaching Guitar Experience.

    My community of +23k guitar learners on youtube would be very interested in this ! Let us know if you're still working on it :)

    – nguwusic

  8. Bill

    I am thrilled with the product you have and I already post quite a while ago,
    How close do you think you are to getting ready to release the Midi controller?
    Not sure how long I can wait, it is possible I might just buy the Fishman Triple play,
    I notice there is a guy named Ben Morris that adapted the Triple Play with his
    Martian guitar acoustic dreadnaught and he sound a way to make it fit That is
    buy taking off the (cork etc) of the hardware that extends downward at the back,
    He says his method works very well. But "Fishman" doesn't accept responsibility
    if something goes wrong . So I am not sure if I should take the chance because I
    have a somewhat expensive Martin acoustic. I love the fact that shows you playing an acoustic guitar to automatically write out the tabs as you play! Good luck
    just not sure how long I need to wait ! It is around $400.00 ! I think your product is
    half that price! Hope you have not given up on this project, I think there is a great need for a midi guitar system that will work on most acoustic guitars! That is a winner unto itself.

    • Hi Bill, thank you your kind words and patience. We've been working on this for years to ensure its quality is top notch and up to your standards. It won't be long now ;)

  9. Cashmere Williams

    This is a revolutionary product, will it spell out chords like Cmaj7 etc.? And, congrats on this idea, I can really use this for my guitar students.


  10. Justin Taylor

    I just discovered this and this is exactly what I've desperately needed and sought for years. I realize this was two years ago now, but has this been released? Is it available for purchase and if so where ??
    YOU RULE!!

  11. Alonso

    Hi Calvin. Your product would be a great help for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but cardinote or brio would literally notate my original guitar solo composition right? If this is the case, then this is an awesome product and I will definitely avail it!

    • Hi Alonso, thank you for your question. You can connect Brio to any third party notation software (like Guitar Pro, Progression, Musescore) to notate your solo. Just to clear any confusion, the pickup does not store or notate your composition by itself. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Nate, Brio is designed just for steel-string acoustic guitars. Of course, it detects notes on all 24 frets! Wouldn't feel like playing a guitar otherwise ;)

  12. Jonathan Weaver

    Can I make the pickup work on a bass, is a bass version going to be available in phase two? Can I use another midi pickup with your software or do I need the Brio?

    Looking forward to the release, hope it is for real lol.

    • Thanks for your questions Jonathan. Brio works with steel-string acoustic guitars but not bass. We'll definitely consider that as a possibility for future products. Although our software only works with Brio to give the best experience, you're free to use Brio with your favorite notation/music-making software too.

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