Today, the new band settings interface and guitar strumming patterns that have been in beta testing (and discussed at length in other forum threads) are finally available to everyone, on the main strummachine.com site and in the mobile apps!
If this post looks familiar, it’s because this update was briefly released in early October, but had to be rolled back due to some bugs which took awhile to fix. I re-released it on November 28.
If you haven’t been using the beta, watch this six-minute video that gives an overview of how to use the new features:
Simulating more complex strums in a realistic way has been a huge technical challenge, and this update involved countless hours of research and development, spanning nearly five years (though most progress happened in the last six months). I’m thrilled with the update and the positive response I’ve received from my beta testers, and I hope you enjoy the upgrade. There is more to come in future updates, too!
Highlights of this release:
- Fully re-recorded guitar and mandolin samples with much-improved audio quality and clarity
- A few bluegrass-style strumming patterns with upstrokes
- Dampened closed-chord strums for swing and jazz
- A couple “pop” strumming patterns (including a half-time strum)
- A Celtic-style strum for reels and jigs (with drop-D tuning)
- Configurable “upstroke swing” to adjust the feel of each strumming pattern
- Per-song band settings so that each song can have its own backup style
- A few built-in band presets to get you started, and the ability to make your own presets
- Both global instrument volume settings (as before) and optional song-specific volume overrides
- Pan controls for each instrument, to put them in your left or right speaker
- Optional foot tap, either on downbeats or in a Canadian-style rhythm
- Support for making “5” chords that have no third
- A master volume control, useful for Zoom calls and JamKazam, etc.
- A bit of design “polish” throughout the app
Updates planned for the future include:
- Improvements to all existing guitar strumming patterns
- Additional strumming patterns (let me know if there are specific ones you most want to see!)
- Automatic bass runs (hopefully)
- Ability to specify “voicing” to use (capo position, drop-D or standard tuning, etc.)
- More mandolin strumming patterns to match the guitar offerings
- Bass options, including a walking bass
- Configurable song endings
- More jazz/swing chords
- …and more, depending on what folks want to see!
As always, your feedback (positive and critical) is most welcome! I don’t know if I’d say “this is just the beginning” – I’d like to think I’m a little further along than that – but it’s certainly nowhere near the end!
Just discovered this today! Awesome!!!
Yessss!! Tonight I’ve been playing for far too long, deep grooves in my fingers, just couldn’t stop
I actually also noticed for the first time the nice endchords when autostop is enabled. Has that been there all the time, I wonder? Must have been…
Anyway - thanks so much Luke! You’re the best!!
This is great, Luke. Thank you so much for all your hard work. Any chance of giving time signature changes within a song a spot on the projected roadmap?
Sorry, there’s no way I could give an accurate estimate of when that (or almost any other potential feature) will be available. Just know it’s a matter of “when” and not “if”!
You could try breaking it up into pieces with different time signatures and the stitching it back together as a medley as a workaround.
I just found the new patterns last night. Fun! It works well. The usability is great.
The new strumming patterns seem to be working great on my iPhone 12. What a wonderful upgrade!
Oh, just found the Québécois Reel! Love it, I’m putting it with almost every song! (Just like Frank’s Red Hot)
The “feet” are great with old time tunes, thanks! On another note: I would like to have a longer bit of time between tunes on the auto advance setting. All in all a great practice or even performance tool!
Good idea; I’ll make it configurable in the future! Probably something like this (rough mockup):
Hey Luke… just a note to say how awesome this tool is! You’ve done a great job of keeping the tool focused on the task and I’ve completely replaced my workflow for making my own backing tracks with it. The new strumming patterns are VERY cool for those of us that want the more modern bluegrass pocket with a little swing in it.
I’ve been “off-line” for a couple of weeks.
What a surprise to log-in last night and find the new strumming patterns recently released.
Thank you Luke.
You’ve done a remarkable and magnificent job.
Hi. I am a subscriber but am not an experienced musician and am struggling with the app. Where do I find the new strumming patterns etc? When I login everything is the same as it has always been. I just discovered this forum today for the first time and hope I can better learn how to figure out chords using sheet music.
If you’re in a browser, quit it and reopen. Worse case scenario, go to your browser setting and remove the browser cache for StrumMachine, which will require you to log in again.
If it’s the app, hard quit the app, or worse case scenario, restart your phone and then open StrumMachine.
Doing either of these, you should see an announcement about the new strumming patterns. Let me know how this goes for you.
@AngieMcMurray, before you do @RobertBiggs’s troubleshooting steps, let’s make sure you know where to look for the new strumming patterns, as you may (probably will) not see any announcement about the new strumming patterns at this point.
My goal with this (and all) new features is to fold them into the existing user interface as seamlessly as possible. This means the interface remains stable and familiar for existing users, which is very important to me. The tradeoff is that it can be easy to miss new features if you don’t know where to look!
In this case, if you open any song you should see a “Default band settings” button next to the key switcher, below the song title. If you see this button, all of the new features are available to you! (If you don’t, try closing and reopening Strum Machine or restarting your device as @RobertBiggs suggested.)
For more information on how to use the new “band settings” features, check out this video in the Strum Machine Help docs.