Apple App Store

In this free material section I’ll try to share some useful online resources or apps that can help your playing and practise. In this recommendation I’m talking about TAB writing for those of you who like to write down some of your ideas.

General Features

I’ve been using Jam maestro to create TAB for my private online students to help them remember a particular melody or chord progression. There are plenty of features with Jam maestro that are cool. First of all you can set a range of instruments to TAB up from guitar, bass to drums. So in theory you could TAB up a whole band song if you had the time and desire. In the TAB screen you can choose multiple time signatures from 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8 and more. You can write out some TAB and then immediately duplicate the bar which is useful and saves time if neighbouring bars have the same notes. You can choose which key to write your music in and this could in a major key, a mode or a range of other more unusual scales like Egyptian and Chinese. It also gives you the ability to create chord boxes above bars if you want to show what chord structure is happening over a particular bar.

Composition Bar

The composition area is set up like the frets of the guitar and only shows the notes of the key you’ve chosen. So it makes it very easy to choose the correct notes. There are lots of features to the composition area which includes adding strum directions, bends, hammer ons, pull offs, slides You can constantly preview the sound of your TAB with the play button. You can also loop a section if you want to hear it multiple times.

There are also lots of advanced features which are pretty intuitive like adding capo positions, altering multiple bars or parts at once, analysing the notes you’ve written so the app sets the key or keys and much more.

Creating The TAB

Once you’ve finished with the TAB you can go to the main page which will allow you to export it as a txt or PDF. From there built in the app is the ability to email it to someone which is great if you want to cut out having to open multiple apps to get the TAB out there.

Overall it’s a cool app to use for jotting down ideas and keeping track of things you’re doing in your practise.

Check it out

The Classical guitar shed website is a great resource tool for classical guitarists. If you’re looking for high quality, well arranged classical pieces, that are free, then head over to their site.

There’s a wide range of classical styles covered and the arrangements cover composers such as:

Beethoven, Brahms, Carcassi, Carulli, Guilliani, Mozart, Sanz, Sor and much more

There’s also a special offer on the site for a free book of 30 classical guitar pieces for you to learn and play in a PDF form. Generally the site is geared towards the beginner and early intermediate guitarists with some of my favourite pieces on the site including:

Eine Kleine, Ode to Joy, Greensleeves and some festive pieces like We wish you a merry christmas and Joy to the world.

All pieces on the site have been written in both traditional notation and TAB. So for those of you who can’t read music but have TAB in the bag, this option means you won’t miss out on the vast resources on this site. Here’s an example of one of the pieces on the site.

Check it out

This week I’d like to share with you a useful resource for reading and hearing rhythms. On Philtulga.com he’s built a small section for counting music. The unique rhythm tool enables you to choose a time signature and then start creating complex rhythms in a four bar loop. You can choose whether to play these rhythms back via a counting voice or via a snare drum. Why is this useful for guitarists?

If you’re playing classical guitar or composing music for other musicians or students you need to know how to write a particular rhythm. You’ll also need to test that the rhythm you've written actually sounds like you want it to. So this tool from Phil Tulga gives you both the ability to test different notated rhythmical combinations and most importantly hear them to know they sound good.

He’s also created a bunch of premade rhythms you can load up straight away which covers a variety of time signatures and genres starting in basic 4/4 time and moving eventually through to 9/8.

So go check it out and hopefully you’ll find this online tool as useful as I have.

Android App Store Apple App Store

In my free material section I discuss useful resources like sites or apps that can aid your practise and playing. This recommendation focuses on the metronome and my favourite app to use is the Pro metronome.

The Value of The Metronome

Using the metronome for your practise is essential. No one has a perfect internal beat and without something to lock us in, we’ll cheat, slow down, speed up and generally sound rhythmically wobbly. You can improve your scales, phrasing, chord strumming patterns, note names and much more by having a structured solid beat. Usually I would recommend setting your metronome slow around 70 bpm to begin with if you’re just starting a new progression or melody. You can then bring up the speed as you get more confident with what you’re doing.

Pro Metronome Features

Pro metronome has an easy to use wheel to speed up or slow down the tempo. It also has a tap tempo feature so you can tap the speed and then it will figure out how fast that is and adjust the beat to your tap. You can choose from multiple time signatures including 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 6/8 and much more. It even has some time signature and tempo suggestions related to famous songs or popular genres. The accenting beat feature is great because you can choose any part of the bar to stress. Usually the one is the stress point but if you wanted to get good at playing a particular melodic idea on say beat 3 you could just accent that beat on pro metronome so it made it obvious when to play your melodic idea. There are other more advanced features you can use and I recommend checking those out as you get more confident with the app.