I am completely in love with my iPod Touch. Not in that way. It’s not like I make out with or anything (and everyone who tells you they’ve seen me making out with it is lying because I always make sure the curtains are shut first). It’s a deep, caring, understanding love that will never die (until something better comes along – just like with person love). So, of course, I availed myself of the various ukulele related apps available and here are my findings (the prices are those in the UK, but I expect the US ones are comparable).
What it does: Shows you how to play chords. It’s similar to Sheep Entertainment. You select a pitch and a chord type and it has shows you how to play the chord on a fretboard.
Good Stuff: Simple, attractive, easy to use layout. Comprehensive. Shows three chord inversions for each chord. Indicates the interval (root, 3rd, 5th etc.) for each note. Lets you hear the chord.
Not So Good Stuff: If you try to select a chord with more than four notes it craps out on you. Granted you’d have to drop a note, but it would be useful to be shown suitable options. C tuning only. Vertical display only.
Overall: Excellent app. The best one I’ve tried for the uke.
What it does: Show scales for the ukulele and many other instruments. You select the key and the scale and it displays all the notes in that scale on a plain text style fretboard (with the root notes in green).
Good Stuff: Good selection of scales – 16 in all from essentials like minor, major, pentatonic and blues to more unusual scale such as super locrian and kumoi. Includes C tuning and baritone.
Not So Good Stuff: Fairly nasty to look at. Can’t hear the scales being played. In the vertical display the fretboard is cut in half – so best to use it horizontally. Goes with ‘ukelele’.
Overall: It’s a handy reference but there are a lot of improvements that could be made. Worth the money.
What it does: Virtual ukulele (and guitar). You can watch Gio Gaynor rocking out with his here.
Good Stuff: Fun to have a mess around with – particularly dialing up the reverb and distortion.
Not So Good Stuff: It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of it – more than I’m willing to put in.
Lelele no Onsan
What it does: Plays notes for you to tune to.
Good Stuff: Simple. Free. Low and high G tunings.
Not So Good Stuff: The notes don’t sustain for very long. It would be much easier to use if you could just switch the tones on and off.
Overall: It’s free. Why not?
Guitar Rock Tour
What it does: Guitar Hero/Rock Band game. Blobs come rolling down the screen and you have to touch them at the right time to play the music. Not strictly a ukulele app, but it has four strings, so I’m claiming it.
Good Stuff: Top game and very addictive. May yet rescue the guitar solo from oblivion.
Not So Good Stuff: “Ouch, my thumbs”. Liable to lead to rockstar tantrums. P!nk and Avril. Loading… Loading… Loading…
Overall: I’ve wasted far too much time on this game. Don’t buy it if you’ve got things you need to do (except buy it anyway).
There are also some tuning apps, but I haven’t tried them out as I don’t have a mic for it. So if anyone has, let us know your opinion in the comments.