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Nov 8, 2020 - 11:53:50 AM
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5542 posts since 12/20/2005

Strum Machine updated their app, and it is pretty incredible.
There are quite a few new chord structures available now.
I've not yet had a chance to put it into practice yet, just been very busy.
Hope to get into it a bit this week.
Maybe some of you have already been giving it a good workout.

I'm not associated with Strum Machine in any way.
But I would strongly recommend, if you don't already use it, you might want to check it out.

Edited by - Leslie R on 11/08/2020 11:54:53

Nov 8, 2020 - 2:46:22 PM
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3525 posts since 5/29/2011

What is an app?

Nov 8, 2020 - 8:48:52 PM

doryman

USA

899 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

What is an app?


It's a bit of software you can download that lets you to perform specific tasks on your computer, smartphone or tablet. In this case, Strum Machine allows you to play backing tracks to many, many songs.  If you have the technological sophistication to participate here on Banjo Hangout, you can certainly do apps.  In fact, I suspect that you already use many apps but don't realize it.  I also realize that you are probably messing with me but, in case you are not, I hope this helps you. 

Nov 9, 2020 - 5:08:41 AM
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657 posts since 1/22/2004

Culloden, when computer folks started calling software and computer programs, "apps," it confused me a bit, too. Before that, I had heard "apps" used for iPads and phones, but not p.c.'s. Now I get it...apps are programs or software...just another term. :/

As for Strum Machine, I discovered this very effective outfit only two or three weeks ago. The website, "Lessons With Marcel" (a bluegrass guitar teaching website), turned me onto Strum Machine with a thirty day free trial offer of Strum Machine. Went to Strum Machine, signed up for the free trial and discovered I VERY much like their "app."

Not only does it offer backing tracks to hundreds of bluegrass, old time, old country tunes; using bass, guitar and mandolin for the rhythm, it will do them in any key and any tempo you want.

If you want a tune that is not on their list, OR if you prefer a different arrangement of a tune that is on their list; you can create your own track or modify their track and save them in your own list of songs.

It took me awhile to figure out how to write in repeats, rests, intro's, outro's, etc. But it was sure worth the effort. The monthly or annual cost is quite nominal. I intend to subscribe when my free trial ends.

Nov 9, 2020 - 7:20:08 AM
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11 posts since 3/21/2007

Strum Machine creator here. Thanks for posting about it, Leslie! (I swear I didn't prompt her to!)

Re: "apps" – The funny thing is, Strum Machine is really just a website. Everything works right in the browser. So is that still an "app"? I was always careful to *not* call it an app to avoid confusion. But my users consistently referred to it as an "app", so eventually I realized that since it looks like an app, feels like an app, and quacks like an app... might as well call it one. ??   (Also, mobile apps for iOS and Android just recently became available, although I recommend initially signing up at strummachine.com for reasons I won't get into here.)

Also, FYI, the updates that Leslie refers to are still in beta, so you'll have to visit the beta site (https://beta.strummachine.com) to use them. Here's more info on the beta.

Nov 9, 2020 - 7:35:32 AM
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657 posts since 1/22/2004

Oh! The other really cool thing at Strum Machine is:

-you can set up a tune to gradually increase the tune's tempo as you play through each tune's repetition...set the low/high tempo limits and set the number of beats per min. you want the tempo to increase each repetition. A GREAT feature that helps me "get up to speed." :)

Nov 9, 2020 - 8:49:56 AM
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3525 posts since 5/29/2011

quote:
Originally posted by doryman
quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

What is an app?


It's a bit of software you can download that lets you to perform specific tasks on your computer, smartphone or tablet. In this case, Strum Machine allows you to play backing tracks to many, many songs.  If you have the technological sophistication to participate here on Banjo Hangout, you can certainly do apps.  In fact, I suspect that you already use many apps but don't realize it.  I also realize that you are probably messing with me but, in case you are not, I hope this helps you. 


I may be messing with you a little bit but I am not as technically sophisticated as you might think. I have a laptop but not an iPad or tablet. I am probably the only person on Cambridge Drive who still has a rotor dial phone. My cell phone is a flip phone. Low tech is my favorite way to do things.

I had heard of apps before but did not really know, and still don't, what their purpose is. For most people technology is better than common sense. I know plenty of people who can program a GPS but can't read a compass. And plenty of people can use a computer and still can't spell.

I learned a lot of songs by putting a record on the turntable(remember those?) and playing along with it. Maybe I am living in the past but the less complicated I can keep my life the better I like it. Music was played for thousands of years before modern technology was invented.

Nov 9, 2020 - 9:18:41 AM
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1562 posts since 4/13/2017

"App" is short for application. Any program that runs on a computer (desktops, laptops, mobile devices, etc) is technically an application. The browser you are viewing this forum on? That's an app. The DAW(s) (Digital Audio Workspace) many of us use to record, mix, and master records? That's an app.

Basically, any program you run on a computer is an app. There are even apps running in the background that the OS (operating system) of your computer needs to function.

Strum Machine is an example of a web-based application. The definition of web-based application is as follows: application software that runs on a web server, unlike computer-based software programs that are stored locally on the operating system of the device.

Sorry for hijacking a thread. Just saw an opportunity to use the knowledge I'm gaining from studying Computer Science in college.

Nov 9, 2020 - 9:52:05 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13254 posts since 8/30/2006

What’s a browser? Just kidding
Browsers in the field off sales are from the Jess family. Jess lookin’

A lurker, now I thought was someone getting paid to read the hangout, you cold smell the peanuts on their breath. Just kidding

Nice work banjerluke
You have helped everyone

I thought seldom WAS the discouraging word

Now, often, that’s an encouraging word

Helping others is a good thing


Nov 9, 2020 - 11:27:35 AM
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5542 posts since 12/20/2005

quote:
Originally posted by BanjerLuke

Strum Machine creator here. Thanks for posting about it, Leslie! (I swear I didn't prompt her to!)

Re: "apps" – The funny thing is, Strum Machine is really just a website. Everything works right in the browser. So is that still an "app"? I was always careful to *not* call it an app to avoid confusion. But my users consistently referred to it as an "app", so eventually I realized that since it looks like an app, feels like an app, and quacks like an app... might as well call it one. ??   (Also, mobile apps for iOS and Android just recently became available, although I recommend initially signing up at strummachine.com for reasons I won't get into here.)

Also, FYI, the updates that Leslie refers to are still in beta, so you'll have to visit the beta site (https://beta.strummachine.com) to use them. Here's more info on the beta.


I was named after my Great-Grandfather. Back then Leslie was used for men-folk. Just my luck, over time it's become a girl's name. 

 

Back to Strum-Machine, though.

It's the best practice aid going for banjo players, as far as I can tell.  I'm of the opinion,if you don't have it, you need to get this.

Thanks again Luke !

Nov 9, 2020 - 3:03:44 PM

doryman

USA

899 posts since 11/26/2012

I will vouch for Strum Machine. At it's most basic level, it is very easy to use...even easier than a turntable, Mark! You can change the key and the beats-per-minute easily too. Almost everyone says that you should practice with a metronome, and half the banjo players I know, including myself, sound like they SHOULD be practicing with a metronome a lot more. For me, Strum Machine is like a very fun metronome. Not only does it pound out the beat, it provides you with a guitar, bass and mandolin to back you up. I know that there are many other ways to find backing tracks out there, and I know that you can play to old records, but Strum Machine is an easy and versatile, one-stop-shop for your practicing convenience. It's fun too.

Edited by - doryman on 11/09/2020 15:04:32

Nov 9, 2020 - 4:31:47 PM
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11 posts since 3/21/2007

I was named after my Great-Grandfather. Back then Leslie was used for men-folk. Just my luck, over time it's become a girl's name. 

Whoops, sorry! I should know better about making assumptions about gender like that. 

And thanks everyone for the kind words about my project. I'm so happy that so many folks are getting good use out of it.

Nov 19, 2020 - 5:36:57 PM
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lanemb

USA

153 posts since 3/11/2018

I am a recent subscriber to Strum Machine. Wow. Really wish I had started using something like this a long time ago!

I set “the app” up on my Mac computer with output to amplified speakers so the volume suits my playing. I’ve always had a few songs I struggled with keeping time in jam sessions. So first thing I did was go through them on Strum Machine. Mostly I discovered just enough missing licks/notes that blew my timing. Plus hard spots have a tendency to slow you down or lose syncopation. One sitting with Strum Machine worked that out easily. Looping through the hard parts independently then putting it all together. Slowly at first then with the auto speed up. I can’t say enough good about this tool.

Another great benefit is looping through jumping between lead and backup. Sometimes I just try to see how many different ways I can make the backup sound better and less monotonous.

Another advantage is working out lead breaks of your own or substituting a lick you like better in a modified arrangement of your choice.

I think beginners would improve much quicker if they take each song they learn and play it along with Strum Machine. If you can play it with Strum Machine you will be able to jump in at jam sessions.

Must say I hardly ever practice without it now. My wife has been out of town a couple of months taking care of family. She is going to be blown away when she gets back and hears the difference. Thank God she loves listening. She never asks me to stop playing.

I am in no way affiliated with Strum Machine. I just happen to really love it!

Nov 19, 2020 - 11:57:08 PM
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maxmax

Sweden

1461 posts since 8/1/2005

Thanks Leslie for mentioning this and especially thanks to Luke for building it! I just signed up for my free trial. Looks great!

Nov 23, 2020 - 4:22:16 PM
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11 posts since 3/14/2016

The worst thing a banjo picker can do is develop and practice to the timing in their own head. Sometimes it works but most of the time (at least for me) it doesn't. Strum machine is like the lane control features on new cars. It forces you to stay in time. (an absolute must if you intend to play with others).

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