First off - love the app. It’s been a game-changer in learning to play bluegrass.
My vision is two-fold:
- Alongside the music being displayed while being played, also show a fretboard chart that updates based on the chord being strummed. By default, show major scales for major chords, minor for minor, and allow users to change what scale to show
- Provide a fretboard chart editor, where users could create custom charts with different coloured dots (to make your own ranking for what notes you ideally want to hit), and set them to display when a certain chord is strummed (i.e. create your own chord chard marking key notes you want to accentuate, and set it to display when G or G variants are being strummed)
I think these would be invaluable tools for players looking to get familiar with the fretboard and new to jamming. Would love to hear others’ thoughts!
After I start a tune, I only watch the screen to see where I am in playing a tune. Whatever additions, if any, should be optional and not complicate the existing screen.
I have spaced out and checked with Strum to see which part I am on.
This strikes me as featuritis, a deadly disease, that has been known to kill great software. Clean, uncluttered and uncomplicated. Keep It Simple Strum Machine.
Hey Ben! Thanks so much for your suggestions. It’s possible that I will, at some point, add an option somewhere in the settings that enables a chord fretboard display for the current and upcoming chords, which many others have suggested as well.
I’m unlikely to add the display of scales, though. Feels like too much complexity (possibly for the user, definitely for the developer) and too far out-of-scope for a backing track app.
Side note: As a music teacher, I’d like to give a shout-out to pen and paper… building your own reference materials by hand will probably make them “stick” better than anything in the digital space! Ultimately, the goal is to internalize whatever aspect of the scale you’re working with as soon as possible, so that you don’t have to refer to anything while you play. That’s why I’m hesitant to even add the chord fretboard reference feature I mentioned above… you should know your chords before you start playing a song! (I may instead opt for a static reference card of all chords used in the song instead of a dynamically-updating fretboard chart for this reason.)
I definitely feel that users should have learned how to play backup chords before playing the song in Strum Machine. But a static reference card of all the chords, out of sight and out of mind, seems not an unreasonable compromise.
You need to develop an ear for music and not hope for an app that does everything for you. If you want to learn the fretboard, experiment doing simple little riffs to a 2 chord song at slow speed. Work up from there. Then you’ll actually be able sit down at a jam, play along and improvise over time. Too many ppl want instant gratification instead of putting in the years required to become proficient.
Ben, you mention wanting to see the fretboard chords. That gets pretty complicated pretty fast. Fretboard chords for guitar, mandolin, bass, banjo, tenor guitar, ukulele, five string banjo, tenor banjo, Celtic banjo, bouzouki, etc. And then what about possible different tunings the user might be using. There is a chord site that does this already. I used to use it before I started using Strummachine, but I hate the implementation: chordify.net. It’s a huge mess. I hate the site. very poorly thought out. I would not want to see that mess brought to Strummachine.