Ukulele on your Mobile

A whole lot has changed since the last time I reviewed ukulele apps in 2009. For one thing, the first iPad hadn’t even been released.

Since Uke Hunt has recently been given a mobile-friendly layout and it’s been I thought it was about time I did an update on how I use mobile devices in my playing.

If you’ve got any tips or great apps you use leave them in the comments.

Apps I Actually Use

Of all the apps I reviewed last time exactly none proved useful enough to survive on my phone. Of the apps I do use, none of them are ukulele-specific. It’s mostly iOS but I do have a Nexus 7 so there’s a bit of Android too.

Dropbox

Dropbox is handy doodad that means you can save a file to your computer and then it’ll be available on all your computers and mobile devices. It works across pretty much any computer/phone/tablet and it’s free.

I have every tab and chord PDF saved to Dropbox. Then if I ever want one I can just download it to my phone/iPad. And if you’re browsing a particularly great ukulele site on your phone and see a tab you want to keep you can send it directly to Dropbox from the browser. It’s incredibly useful.

Plus it allows shenanigans I wish were available when I was at school.

Sign up for a Dropbox account here.
Info on the various apps here.

Visual Metronome

There’s no shortage of free metronomes but Visual Metronome is well worth buying for. It’s flexible, easy to use and it looks great.

Visual Metronome on iTunes

On Android: My favourite Android metronome is Mobile Metronome which comes in free and paid flavours.

Jam Player

Let’s you slow down mp3s so you can hear what they’re doing more clearly or practice at a slower tempo. Very useful for practice.

It also lets you adjust the pitch. So you can play along with a song in D-tuning or tuned down a fret without having to retune your ukulele.

It’s good enough that I got over my hate of twisty-knobs on screens.

On Android: I haven’t tried this one out, but the same guy who makes Mobile Metronome also made Audio Speed Changer.

forScore

For the most part, Dropbox’s built in PDF viewer works perfectly well for tab and chord viewing. But forScore (iPad only) has a few extra features specifically for musicians. It makes page turning really easy (just one tap or you can even buy a foot-pedal to turn the page), you can scribble on pages, you can duplicate and rearrange pages to help with repeats and such.

It hooks up with Dropbox so you can pull tabs and chords directly into it.

Visit their website
forScore for iOS

On Android: The only thing I could find was MobileSheets but I haven’t tried it.

What do you do?

Let me know in the comments how you use your phone/tablet in your playing. And tell me about any apps I should check out.

View Comments

26 Comments

  1. Remko March 13th, 2013 7:05 pm

    Thanks for the tips, definitely need to check some of those out!

    I use DropBox for scores as well, very handy. Onething I also use is GuitarToolkit on the iPhone, for tuning, to remind me how to play some chords, and to figure out which chord i’m playing. Not free, but great tool IMO.

  2. Jim Cromwell March 13th, 2013 7:45 pm

    I use Documents (formerly called Readdle Docs) on iPad. It’s got much of the functionality of forScore but is easier to navigate and fuller featured.

    GuitarToolkit is great for the chords and scales, uke specific! And TabsHD is great too, especially with an account and use of the Favourites facility.

  3. Toast March 13th, 2013 9:24 pm

    I’ll have to check out that toolkit app.

    I use DaTuner Lite, because I’m not a fancy schmancy tune by ear guy, super simplistic

    The second most used app is Unified Remote, very useful for controlling your laptop/computer via mobile, crammed with features.
    Best function? After sitting down in the middle of all the sound gear and an instrument strapped to your chest, controlling my laptop to scroll down the lyrics or hit record. Saves falling over everything.

  4. John March 14th, 2013 12:20 am

    I find that fretter is an essential app on my Android phone and tablet. Great for looking up tricky chords.

    ChordBot is also handy if you want a backing to play along to.

  5. Paul March 14th, 2013 1:05 am

    OnSong on iPad is brilliant for organising and displaying song sheets. Great functionality, highly recommended.

  6. Karthik March 14th, 2013 4:30 am

    I use nTrackTuner for iOS to tune my Ukulele. It’s free, pretty simple and fantastic. It just shows you what note it’s hearing, and tells you how much it’s off from the nearest semitone.

  7. Jonah March 14th, 2013 6:48 am

    IPad apps I use:

    GuitarTapp
    Guitar Charts
    Ideal B
    SongwritersPad

    On my Android phone:

    Asc pro
    Uchord 2
    Ukulele Fretboard

  8. Danny March 14th, 2013 12:55 pm

    iReal B is a must.
    Scorcerer is a good dad sheet app.
    Notion is good for writing music out.
    The Amazing Slw Downer is good for slowing and pitch correction of tunes.
    Garage Band is another must.

  9. cappers March 14th, 2013 1:34 pm

    GuitarToolkit is the main app I use on my phone. There’s a tuner, metronome, scales and chords. It covers multiple instruments (guitar, banjo and ukulele amongst others). Although it costs a few quid last time I looked, I reckon it’s money well spent.
    I’ll have to check out some of the others mentioned though.
    Cappers

  10. William Tribe March 14th, 2013 5:11 pm

    I found a fantastic plugin for Firefox called Scrapbook. You can literally grap snippets of any web page and stuff it in the side scapbook side bar. Keep up the fantastic work thanks to your material I have managed this on uke after 6 months (30+ years on guitar though LOL ) https://soundcloud.com/john-tribe-1/my-creole-belle-cover-by-john

  11. Woodshed March 15th, 2013 8:16 am

    Thanks very much for all the suggestions, folks. I’ll be checking these out.

  12. Sven March 15th, 2013 5:21 pm

    On android:

    Pitchlab is fun.. lot’s of pretty visualisations….

    DaTunerPro.. I liked the lite version, so I bought the pro.

    iRealB (also on iOS), even if I still struggle to actually create something in it and it is expensive. The value for me is in the charts a friend made, the ability to change key and the playback mode.

    TimeGuru: metronome + practice with randomly dropping beats.

    I haven’t found a chord program I really liked, unfortunately.

  13. jeff March 15th, 2013 10:16 pm

    This post might finally give me the answer to something I have been wondering about. Is there a simple amplifier app that I can use to connect my RISA to my iphone. I have the cord but just need something to control the volume and maybe the tone coming out of the iphone. I’m not looking for anything more than that. Does such a thing exist?

  14. Tobias March 16th, 2013 7:59 am

    I have an Android phone.

    I use Fretter to work out chord variations – it has a great feature called ‘reverse chords’ where you input the fingering and it tells you what chord(s) you are playing. Well worth the minimal fee to get this feature.

    I have Dropbox as an essential utility on my phone and PC.

    I also use Andreas & Christian Linke’s Linkesoft SongBook ( http://www.linkesoft.com ) on both PC and Android phone to store my songs in in ChordPro format. My SongBook uses Dropbox as its default directory. Full of great features (particularly on the PC version).

  15. Woodshed March 16th, 2013 8:11 am

    Sven: Thanks very much!

    jeff: I haven’t tried it myself but AmpliTube might do the job.

  16. Woodshed March 16th, 2013 8:15 am

    Tobias: Thanks very much. Good to hear some Android stuff.

  17. Claudio March 20th, 2013 11:32 pm

    Android:
    Anysongchord – listens to music and tells you the chords
    Gstrings tuner I like.
    Techachords and Ukulele Fretboard for great for finding alternative chord shapes and the like.

    Android and Apple:
    Ultimate guitar is good for tabs.
    Soundcloud for simple record and upload

    Apple
    I like ibooks for going through pdf song books as it is easier to find the right page.

    Garage band on ipad is great for recording electro-acoustic using apogee jam cable adaptor

    E.g:
    Garageband & soundcloud:
    https://soundcloud.com/sound-claud-1/claudios-sweet-child

    Cheers!

  18. Woodshed March 21st, 2013 2:50 pm

    Claudio: Thanks! I use Apogee Jam too. Good stuff.

  19. Alec March 23rd, 2013 6:51 am

    Anyone know an iPhone app similar to anysongchords that listens to music and tells you the chords?

  20. jeff March 23rd, 2013 2:22 pm

    I realized that all I really wanted was a small speaker. I was at the Portland, Oregon airport and passed by a Brookstone, and they had these cup-sized speakers with an audio-in port that was just what I needed. The volume is not much at all but I didn’t want volume, just needed to hear my uke at a level slightly above the accoustic. the speaker cost $35 and it fit in my bag. it was perfect.

  21. Dany March 25th, 2013 5:51 pm

    Anyone using “Audioshift Tempo+pitch” (Android)?

    On Android, I installed “Ukulele fretboard” but I think it is not as useful as I wished it was…

    Thank you for all the suggestions… I gonna try some for sure!

  22. Jon March 28th, 2013 11:28 pm

    I used a bunch of stuff on Android, but now on Windows Phone I use:

    BitSynth: Little bleep-bloop keyboard for trying out melodies I find in sheet music away from an uke.

    Fretter: Chord finder, reverse chord-finder. No ability to save chords, but it let’s you set your instrument to uke.

    Note Learner Pro: Shows you notes on a staff, you have to hit the right note before time runs out. You pick what notes, how many you want to practice. Gives you a score. Great for practicing sight reading while on the toilet.

    One and Two: UI could use some work, but basically a metronome that let’s you put in notes on a staff. Means I can represent almost any beat pattern, set the tempo, and practice complicated strum rhythms.

    OneNote: I save uke related stuff in my OneNote, like set lists, stuff to practice, etc.

    PDF Reader: Gets the job done for looking at PDFs of tab/sheet music.

    SkyDrive: Great storage for ukulele related files.

  23. Woodshed March 29th, 2013 7:37 am

    Jon: Thanks very much! I have so few Windows Phone visitors I didn’t think I’d get anything.

  24. KT April 8th, 2013 2:18 am

    since my tuner broke, i pretty much rely on my gStrings app for a tuner

  25. Woodshed April 8th, 2013 9:48 am

    KT: I’ve tried a few tuner apps and I’ve never really liked them.

  26. John May 17th, 2013 1:29 pm

    I’ve really got into using AnySong chord on my android tablet as a result of this post. It’s great if you casually want to jam along to something.

    Another really natty app I’ve recently discovered is GuitarTapp – basically makes it really easy to download and save tabs and chords, transpose, scroll etc. I’m forever losing chords that I’ve printed out so this should really help me.

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