Guitar enhancements (incl. bass runs!) now in beta

I just published a new beta version of Strum Machine, which you can access at on all platforms, as well as with the SM Beta TestFlight app on iOS.

It’s still a work in progress, with some rough edges and some things I need to finish… but it also has some very fun new features, so I wanted to give you all a chance to start playing around with it today!

Some of the highlights:

  • Bass runs! (on the guitar) – Tell Strum Machine how often you want the guitar to play bass runs and it will automatically insert them at chord changes. We built a custom interface for configuring the kinds of bass runs you want to hear and I’m very curious to hear what everyone thinks of it. (Intuitive? Fun? Confusing? Let me know…)

  • Chord voicings – Want that open B string in your G chord? Want to hear that E tune played out of D position with drop-D tuning? All this and more is now possible!

  • Pattern preferences – For example, you can now adjust the balance between “booms” and “chucks” in the basic boom-chuck strum, or the amount of sustain in the dampened strumming patterns. I expect these options to change in the near future, though, so this aspect is subject to change.

Just open the Band Settings menu on any 4/4 or 3/4 song, then tap Guitar to see the new options!

If you haven’t been using the previous beta version, you’ll also notice a redesigned “Band Settings” menu. We spent many hours tweaking and refining the interface around changing band settings. It should all feel familiar, but… nicer. (Props to my designer Tyler for really bringing the polish here.)

As always, all feedback (positive and negative) is very much appreciated! I’m still actively working on this area of the site so now is a great time to make your wishes known relating to the guitar or other instruments, or to other aspects of this band settings menu.


You mentioned bass runs in the beta. But I’m not seeing them yet.

You have to enable them; they’re off by default. You open the band settings, then Guitar, ensure that one of the boom-chuck–based strumming patterns is selected, and then you should see bass runs in the list of options.

Having lots of fun with it! It doesn’t seem too complicated, and for who doesn’t want all the hassle, it’s still the same Strum Machine

One thing that is somewhat confusing to me: if you create a song with a lot of custom presets, it saves them them nicely with the song, so in principle you don’t have to create a preset for it. Presets would then be used for settings you aim to reuse, I was thinking, or else you might have dozens and dozens. But…

Selecting a time signature - even the same you already had, so not changing anything, makes you lose all your settings - without a warning!

I’ve made that mistake: pushing that time signature button by mistake, which I often do. Tapping everywhere on the page to close it, as I’m used to, which doesn’t work, then thinking ‘oh well, I’ll just select the same signature I already have’ to get rid of it and boom… Somehow tapping that same button again to close isn’t part of my system :slight_smile: So it would be great if

  • just tapping somewhere on the page would get get rid of that menu
  • a warning could be issued if you’re about to lose all your tune settings for some reason

Next to what I posted above, It’s all really easy to find, the short explanations work fine for me, and even if they were not, you can actually hear what you’re doing, especially if you temporarely disable the other instruments, so all super super nice.

I hope you will extend it all to minor keys soon (as I use them a lot) :slight_smile:

By the way: I love the option to balance the output between boom and chuck - please keep that one in :wink:

Good catch on the time signature issues, @MartineBloem. The next beta version will warn the user if their custom settings will be reset, and will do nothing if clicking on the already-selected time signature.

I’m curious about why you weren’t able to tap elsewhere on the screen to close the menu. That works for me in all browsers, but if you can confirm that it’s not working for you (and let me know what browser/device you’re on) that would be good to know.

Minor bass runs are just a matter of me going through and defining them all (a very laborious process). I’m still a bit unsure what to offer in terms of chord voicing/capo options in minor keys.

Boom/chuck balance will remain in one form or another; probably in its current form for the simple boom-chuck strum, possibly integrated with something else for the strum with upstrokes.

Glad to hear you are liking it overall!

Menu’s seem to work fine when using my fingers, but there are issues when using the apple pencil - in stable ánd beta!

  • once a menu is opened opened, tapping the pen anywhere(!) on the page won’t close it
  • opening another menu with the pen won’t auto-close an already open menu.

This is the same in the App as well as Safari…

iPad Pro 4th, pencil 2nd

another issue I walked into: I can’t seem to close the keyboard shortcuts menu once it has been opened. Using pen or finger

beta only, iPad app and Safari

ipad pro 4th, iPad 2017

Note: I do use the pencil intermittently, sometimes saw that the menu’s didn’t autoclose, but never took so much notice as to why. Just this time it really struck me :slight_smile:

Fascinating! I’ll have to do some testing with my iPad + Pencil. :face_with_monocle:

I am really loving these new features and looking forward to testing them some more soon!!!

Love the bass run feature. Haven’t checked out the other stuff yet. I noticed whilst looking around you’re contemplating walking bass lines. How about simple leading tones and walk ups and downs for chord changes?

Hi Luke

I’m still a bit unsure what to offer in terms of chord voicing/capo options in minor keys.

This is the direction I was thinking when this voicing subject first came up, but I am still somewhat confused if this is actually something you were also aiming at, regardless of the major/minor thing… Two simple use cases:

I practise a lot of Irish Dm and Em tunes on guitar in a Capo IV setting, because of some wrist issues. So playing them at a higher pitch means I tune Strummachine up to F#m and G#m respectively. These are not the nicest of base chords for strum machine. Especially for the G#m it would be great to have it played in Em voicing…

My singing voice feels comfortable in the Am reach, but I love playing with a capo V, using the Em chord shape. Again for me it would be great if strum machine could mirror that voicing because of that nice base note… :slight_smile:

Just a quick testing of bass runs this morning and, Wow, this is a great addition, great job. controls seem easy enough to adjust working good on my iMac. Slightly off topic maybe but somehow being able to insert the standard “G run” where desired would be great, maybe it is activated in the “Effects” menu?

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Some very nice tweaks here! This will be a great upgade.

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G runs and fills (automated and/or manually placed in the chart) won’t be part of this summer’s release but that’s definitely something I’d like to explore in the future.

I love where this is going and have been having so much fun trying out these settings and presets for different styles. Amazing!

I do find myself wishing the styles could be changed from section to section instead of being set for the whole song, but all in all, these new enhancements have made such an amazing difference to setting the overall vibe of a tune. Thank you so much for this amazing effort!

I could see this evolving to a point where each section is configurable so that a section of the song can be full of variation and tailored rhythm section playing for various styles across all the instruments.

I know you guys are working hard to progress the capabilities of the software and it shows! I’m just looking forward to seeing it mature even more.

Y’all are doing an amazing job!


Hi Luke,
I just noticed in Testflightg that the beta iOS app is is about to expire in 8 days. Will there be a timely little update so we can keep enjoying the new features, you think? I’m just having so much fun with it… :slight_smile:

Yes I will update that beta app before it expires! I was hoping the update would coincide with the release of some fun new stuff, but that release will have to wait a few more weeks…

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great!!! even if there is nothing new so far. I’ll be looking forward to the fun new stuff just the same :slight_smile:

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