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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Apps for the Modern Guitarist

Today's guitarists are quite lucky. Having a gadget like an iPad can help improve your playing, if you have the perseverance to learn. Compare that to thirty years ago when learning a new song means playing the tape recorder repeatedly until you get the riff right. Here are some apps that I stumbled on lately.

Jam Player for IOS
Long before there was mp3, cassette tapes were the popular medium for recorded music. There was no YouTube to show us how to play the lead parts. Instead, we had to rely on our hearing. When there is a band playing, we pay close attention to how the lead guitarist plays the difficult parts so we can copy it when we get home.  Now we have Jam Player.

Jam Player is a free IOS app that lets you play music stored in your iPad, but with a twist. You can slow down the music without changing the pitch. It is great for transcribing the instrumental parts of a song. For singers, a knob is available for adjusting the pitch to match their voice.

Guitar Jam Tracks: Acoustic Blues
I remember the time when learning to improvise means playing guitars with a friend and alternating between rhythm and lead guitars. Today, bedroom guitarists search YouTube for backing tracks to practice. Unfortunately, these videos are usually available in a fixed key.
Guitar Jam is a free IOS app that lets you play blues backing tracks at any key, with the option of playing either the major or the minor scale. It also shows the chords used in the tracks, as well as the blues scale charts.

TrueMetronome Lite
For those simply looking for a metronome, TrueMetronome Lite is an IOS app with a natural sound. The free version has no optional bell to mark the first beat of the measure.

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