Monday, 19 August 2013

So, I am an iPad musician

I own my iPad since the iPad2 was released and have found many ways to use the iPad. published an interesting survey done on how musicians use the iPad. One problem I find with most app reviews on the internet, is that the apps are almost always reviewed by people who have been using the app for a day, or maybe a week, and by people who have been given the app for the review. Reviews by people actually using the apps in real life, and have been doing so for beyond the 'novelty-week', are hard to find.

I have downloaded many apps, most of which I tried out and never used again beyond the first week. Here is my list of how I use the iPad, and the apps that I actually use.

Tuner: I hate people who refuse to use a tuner. You know the type? Yes, there are still people around who believe that they can tune a guitar by ear only, and then halfway through a practice complains that everybody else is out of tune. Tuners are cheap, and often even free if you use an app on your phone. If you don't own a tuner of some sort, please give up playing guitar, or at least don't play in front of people. I have a few free tuner apps on my phone and on my iPad, but the one that I now use is the tuner built into Amplitube.

Guitar effects: Amplitube makes up the mainstay of my guitar sound, with Stompbox being used mainly for the odd clean sound. To be able to use either of these apps, you will need some hardware options to go with it. My rig consist of:

-My fender stratocaster - it all starts with a good guitar, and this is my idea of a good guitar. For acoustic work, I use my Yamaha APX.

-My guitar is plugged into an iRig Stomp.

-The iRig Stomp is plugged into my iPad2, running Amplitube or Stompbox. I also have the Audiobus app, which in theory would allow me to chain Amplitube and Stompbox, but for some reason, my iPad cuts out and go into silence mode at unexpected times when it is over-burdened.

-My iPad is held in place with the Hercules Tab Grab, which is fitted to my music stand.

-From the iRig, I have a cable plugging into my Marshall 14W amp. This requires that all the presets I use in Amplitube has the amp models switched off.

Next to my music stand, I have another music stand with my laptop. On the laptop I have Notion running as my drummer, pianist and synth. Notion on the computer has been my main composition tool for many years now and have served me well for all these years. I have the iPad app as well, but only use it to make small adjustments or compose melody lines and sound effects, etc.

For lyrics and set lists, I use a nifty little app called Songsheet. There are many apps around doing lyrics tabs and set lists, but I have settled on this app. It allows my to enter my lyrics and chords and transpose the chords to a new key and move verses around as the musical director change the arrangements. The only problem here is that I use my iPad to play live and in rehearsals for guitar effects - therefore I still need to print the lyric sheets and use my flip files on the music stand.

When it comes to staying in touch, I use the usual social media apps, like Blogsy, twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

To stay organized I mainly use Goodreader for all pdf needs and Evernote to keep notes of all meetings. There are also the usual office apps like Numbers for speadsheets and Pages for writing letters. For keeping track of income and expenses, I use Bookkeeping3.

As I look at the apps on my iPad, I see plenty more, including Garageband, Symphony Pro, Band-in-a-box, Sheetmuse, Progression etc. Most of these apps have never been used beyond the initial 'novelty-week'.

So there you have the list of apps that has proven themselves as being of real value. Let me know what you use in the comments or by email.

Until next week.


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