10 ways to make that shiny new iPhone work for your guitar
Technology sure is something, isn't it? Just a few years ago, we could only get email on our cell phones. Now every gadget on the market seems to pack in robust capabilities. The iPhone is no exception. If you’ve gotten your hands on Apple’s latest gotta-have-it piece of geekery, you know that there’s a lot of power inside. But it’s all about learning to harness that power for good. This month, we’re taking a look at the 10 best guitar-centric applications available for your shiny new iPhone. From simple chord references to complex four track recorders, you can load up that iPhone and potentially lighten your load elsewhere. You can find all of these apps and more in the iTunes App Store.
Fast, accurate and easy to use, OmniTuner gets our vote for one of the best tuners available on the iPhone. Featuring a wealth of options, including a variety of alternate tunings for both the guitar and other instruments, and a bright LED readout, OmniTuner could be good enough to replace your traveling pocket tuner. If you’re looking for selectable temperaments or a tone generator, check out Cleartune ($3.99).
Four Track ($9.99)
Musical inspiration can strike when you least expect it; be prepared with a fullyfeatured four-track recorder in the palm of your hand. Featuring unlimited recording at 16 bit, 44.1 kHz quality, latency compensation and the ability to sync your recordings with your computer or DAW, Four Track gives you freedom from the studio. You can even record multiple songs within the same session, making this one of the most versatile recording apps available. If you prefer a less cluttered interface and the ability to label your tracks, check out 4 Tracks ($7.99).
If you’ve ever found a resistor lying around your workbench, but you have no clue what its value is, try ResistorCode. Simply select the color bands found on your resistor and this app will tell you the value. It supports 4, 5 and 6 band resistors, and also includes a handy function for calculating the total value of resistors wired in series or parallel. If you’re more of a visual guy, check out iResist (FREE).
Don’t Fret ($2.99)
If you’ve ever made the New Year’s resolution to learn your fretboard better, Don’t Fret could get you on your way. Teaching you the fretboard through two quiz modes—finding the correct fret when given the note, and identifying the note name when given a fret—this straightforward app also includes alternate tuning modes and stats to fuel your competitive side.
It can be tough to practice smart—many of us make the mistake of continually falling back into old habits and patterns, or limiting ourselves to minor variations on the same concept. Practice provides you with a completely random exercise with a press of a button, enabling you to try out scales ancombinations you may never have considered before. Each selection includes a key, a scale and a tempo for use with a metronome. Simple but effective.
When you need a tempo on the go, Tempi is for you. Offering accurate tempos (something missing from a few iPhone metronomes) and an easy to use interface, Tempi can’t be beat (sorry). It also features a Tap mode for calculating tempos. If you’re looking for a larger visual display of the beat, check out Visual Metronome ($1.99).
7 Chords ($1.99)
Don’t let the name fool you. 7 Chords is one of the easiest to use and most complete chord dictionaries available on the iPhone. With just a spin of a wheel, track down those tough-to-memorize chords in all positions, along with the components of each chord (root, 3, 5, etc.). Best of all, the interface is clean and easy to read, so you won’t have to strain your eyes to find what you’re looking for. If you want to hear the chords, check out Chord Pro ($1.99).
Unless you’re working in Nashville, it can be tough to jump keys in the middle of a jam session. For those who find the concept difficult, Transpose will prove to be a gig-saver. Simple enough, it can transpose a key in either numeric steps or semitone forms. Be lost no more.
Guitar Toolkit ($9.99)
If you’re looking for the ultimate all-in-one reference tool that includes a tuner and metronome, check out the Guitar Toolkit. Featuring myriad scales in a variety of tunings, over 260 chord maps with 1300 variations, a tuner, a metronome, and even an interactive fretboard to plunk around on, the Toolkit is a complete solution for the busy guitarist. If you only need a scale reference, formatted in easy to read tab, check out Scale Buddy ($1.99).
Oblique Strategies (FREE)
Songwriting isn’t all fun and games—sometimes you run up against a particularly tough case of writer’s block that just won’t crack. Our secret: Oblique Strategies. Originally designed in 1975 by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, the iPhone version features a full deck of cards, each carrying a cryptic, oblique message that will encourage you to look at your creative problem differently. Voice your suspicions. Ask your body. Be less critical. Give it a try.