Creating Guitar String Numbers in Finale

Those of you using the powerful music notation program Finale might be frustrated with the lack of guitar string numbers. Here’s how to create them.

  1. Open a new document
  2. Open the Expression Selection dialog box by selecting the tool and clicking on any measure
    Expression Tool
    The Expression Tool

    Expression Tool Dialog Box
    Expression Selection Box
  3. From here we’re going to click on the “Edit Categories” button down in the lower left corner. This should open the Category Designer.
    Category Designer

    Choose any of the categories and click “Duplicate” in the lower left corner. Doing this will open a prompt asking you to name your new category, use “Guitar Strings” (or whatever you like).

    Guitar Strings
    Naming a New Category
  4. With your new category, you should be able to adjust fonts and sizes using the category designer window. I prefer sans-serif fonts on my music, so I use a 12pt. Helvetica font. Whatever you choose should match up with the rest of your music’s fonts and preferences. I’ll leave this part up to you. Don’t get to concerned with the rest of the box on positioning, though it can help. After you insert a string number, however, you will probably have to position it anyway.

    After you’ve finished, close the Category Designer window by clicking okay. Open your new category in the Expression Selection Box by clicking it in the left hand column.
  5. The new category should be empty. To create your first string number, click “Create {insert whatever you named your category}” at the bottom of the window.
    New Category
  6. This will open the “Expression Designer” box. Enter the text “1” in the text field.

    Creating a Guitar String

  7. Finale makes it easy to enclose this number in a circle. Right below the text field is the option to enclose the new expression in just about anything. Select circle, and you’re good to go. Circled

    Finale will automatically put a circle around the number, creating a very nice string indication. The enclosure shape can be edited by clicking on the “edit” button next to the drop down menu. The circles, I find, are a bit too big, so they can be sized down to fit the numbers a bit better.

  8. Create string symbols for each string by repeating steps 5-7
  9. Check your handiwork by inserting a string number.

    As you can see, the number is a bit snug toward the top of the circle, so some editing is required. Better:

Posted on in Classical Guitar Tips


  • Carlos Martínez
    Carlos Martínez

    ¿Qué tal?
    Soy un guitarrista venezolano y estoy muy agradecido por su ayuda en Finale. Seguí todos los pasos que usted indica y ahora puedo colocar la indicación de las cuerdas en las partituras.

    Muchas gracias por su ayuda,

    Carlos Martínez

    And, now, I will try to write my ideas in english:

    I am a venezuelan guitarrist and I am grateful for your helping about Finale.
    I continued all steps you advice, and now I can put strings indication on the score.

    Thank you for your helping.

    Carlos Martínez