Friday, January 21, 2011

Android Apps for Guitar

When I got my phone I didn't even think about using it for helping with my guitar playing, but it's actually pretty useful. It's convenient and small enough to plop on my music stand without getting in the way of other books or sheet music.

The apps that I use are either standard apps included with Android, or available in the Marketplace. They are all free, although some have paid versions as well.

The most basic tool I use is Music, the default music player for Android. The biggest problem with it though is it doesn't have an A-B repeat mode that allows you to repeat just one section of a song. There is a free app called Squeaker that does A-B repeat. Now the only thing I'd like is the ability to slow down the music.

From the sounds of it, Slow Down Music Trainer would be perfect, although it is not free. Unfortunately as of right now it is only for the iPhone, although the developer claims to be making an Android version. I'm looking forward to it.

Youtube is another great source for learning. There are videos to teach guitar techniques and songs, tips, music videos, and backing tracks. Lots of crap on there of course, but with a little digging you can find some valuable information.

Guitar Backing Tracks searches Youtube for backing tracks based on root note, scales, and style of music. Great for jamming along with.

I use Tabular for searching, downloading and using tabs, but it sorely needs an autoscroll. Also, reading tabs on a small phone screen is a little tough on my aging eyes. This is where I actually see a use for a tablet device, bigger than a phone but not as bulky as a laptop.

Ultimate Guitar Tabs may end up replacing Tabular for me. It integrates with Ultimate Guitar, has autoscroll, and a lot of other really good features. It's not free, but I might end up giving up $2.99 of my carefully hoarded cash for this app because of it's usefulness.

Robotic Guitarist includes a chord finder, metronome, and tuner. I usually use my Korg metronome/tuner at home, but it's nice to have something with me at all times in case I don't have it with me.

If I want something more advanced than the basic metronome included with Robotic Guitarist I use Mobile Metronome. You can tap your tempo, specify the time signature and beat subdivision (quarter notes, triplets, etc.), and even change the sound. More cow bell!

There are one or two other apps I use, but these are the main ones. Now that I'm using my phone for help with my playing I'm looking at tablet devices. I'm still waiting for a reasonably priced tablet that still has the features I need.

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