Tell your enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our free stuff.
10. Ukulele Icons – A batch of cute little ukulele icons in .ico and .gif formats.
9. Uke-4-U – it’s exceptionally ugly, but it teaches beginners their first few chords and lets you strum along with a few simple songs.
8. Uke Fonts – tap away on your keyboard and be greeted by a string of ukuleles of various levels of obscurity. The package includes every uke shape you can think of (or every uke shape I can think of) – including all the distinctive RISA shapes – and many shapes that seem downright fanciful.
7. Winchord – Another good program let down on the visual front. You can set the number of strings and tuning to anything you chose and it’ll spew out any chord you ask it to. Useful if you play other string instruments or you need to transpose tricky chords onto the uke.
6. Chordette – A collection of fonts with ukulele chord positions allowing you to insert chord diagrams into Word documents etc. It includes a handy doodad which allows you to search the chords easily and insert them. Brought to you by the good people at Uke Farm.
5. Ukulele Chordfinder – Chord charts have never been so much fun. Even though it is a lot less flexible than Winchord, I much prefer it because the interface is more enjoyable. You can use it online or download it.
4. Functional Ear Trainer – My former school music teacher (Mr Barnes – tall, lengthy face, insane hair) always used to say, “You don’t play music with your hands, you play it with your ears.” To which the idiotic, friendless, class moron would respond my bashing the side of his head against the keyboard (yes, it was me). Anyhoo, Mr Barnes spoke the truth. How can you know what notes to play if you don’t know what they sound like?
3. AP Tuner – Although it was obviously made with the guitar in mind, it works equally well for ukulele – or any other instrument for that matter. Twang your string and it’ll tell you the note and how far out you are. Be warned: if you’re as obsessive as I am, you may end up frantically trying to make every string exactly on pitch just for the satisfaction of seeing 00.0
1. Audacity – I still have a hard time believing you can get this for free. Offers multi-track recording, editing and all sorts of effects (noise reduction, delay etc.). Once you’re finished recording, you can knock out an mp3.
Sadly, not all the best things in life are free. If you want an outstanding piece of software, you usually have to pay for it. If you want more than these can offer, here are a couple of programs I recommend.
Guitar Pro – The program I use to make my tabs. It makes transposing keys or transposing to uke from other instruments a breeze. It opens PowerTab, TablEdit and a number of other files. I wouldn’t be without it.
Cubase SX – the best home recording software there is.
What’s your experience of these programs? Do you know of any great free or paid for ukulele software that I haven’t mentioned and deserves to be on the list?