Yendor posted:

And speaking of the Bandhelper App, happy with it? Looking to go to an ipad rather than two FULL binders. Any other recommendations/advice?

Thanks.

I tried it out but it didn't work for me. The layout didn't work and I have a very old iPad (1g) so it didn't work well.

From all accounts it is a very good app ... I love the concept of using a database to pull up records. Conceptually I loved it.

I gave up my binder some years ago - FWIW, this is what I do:

  • MS Word file with my songs, saved as a PDF
  • Copy the PDF to Books on my Mac
  • iTunes to sync the files that I want with my iPad

I store my set lists (which are really subsets of my main songbook) on my iPad so that I always have access to them.

iPad mounted on a separate mic stand or on the same stand as my mic using a mount from Monoprice. Last year I got one from AirTurn and eventually got it to work as it ought to.

At a gig last year I also discovered a drawback with the iPad - it was outdoors with no shade. I couldn't see anything on my iPad!! So I still have a binder as my backup. I'll take it to a gig if I think that it might be outdoors.

Cheers,

I like OnSong on the iPad -- pretty much the ONLY reason I own anything Apple.

I was also able to use free OCR software supplied by my printer manufacturer to read in a large number of my songs from my notebooks with minimal editing required since my notebooks were filled mainly with songs printed out by a printer.  I also had many of them still in computer files.

Now when I need lyrics I can quickly find them on line using the pad, copy them to the clipboard and then paste them into a New Song file in OnSong -- often including chords.

After suffering a nearly fatal bout of heat exhaustion after a 4 hour gig followed by another 4 hours in the sun at another gig one Saturday in 2017, If I ain't covered, I ain't playing!!!

I like the Bandhelper App, we use it on iPad, iPhone and Android, typically updating on the webpage from a PC. I tried others, but this seemed to be the easiest for us to use, although at this point I couldn't tell you why lol

You can upload lyric documents, audio files and such, but we just copy and paste them into the Lyrics window, as we can edit easily, whether text or color. Making up setlists is dead easy and immediately syncs across all platforms (or you can manually sync). If we're somewhere without wifi, I can turn on my phone hotspot and we can all use that to sync. We also played around with syncing all the devices so one master iPad could control all the others, but you kinda have to have all the same size layouts so "page down" does the same thing on all devices. We have an iPad Air, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy phone and Samsung Galaxy tablet (4 members), so it didn't quite work out well. So, everyone manually advances theirs, except me as I have my hands full with a guitar (I use an iK Multimedia BlueTurn). 

Speaking of BlueTooth, when I used my iK Multimedia Amplitube Acoustic app, I had the BlueTurn sync'd with Bandhelper while I had an iRig Blueboard sync'd to Amplitube for changing patches and such.

You can make custom fields in Bandhelper and then create Smartlists based on those fields, like I can list all of our 12-string songs, songs of various tempos, songs a particular vocalist is lead on, etc. You can also list songs by popularity, artist, recent additions, etc. For the fields, you can also batch modify them, i.e. when I got my 12-string I went through and checked all the songs that I wanted to use it on and changed the custom "Guitar" field I made to "12", and then made a SmartList to list all 12 string songs.

Layout-wise, you can customize them and give them names, i.e. we have separate layouts made for the iPad types and Samsungs to design them per our needs and size limitations. You can also specify what fields are shown, and if it shows next song, artist name, key, etc, any field you want that exists or you customize.

So, yeah...we like it

Jeff

I have a fundamental problem with subscription based software.

For instance, instead of $90 ONE TIME for 3 copies of OnSong (running on 6 pads/iPhones), my band would have been hit up for $120-$240 so far for the subscription...and still counting...

AND would have to only play where we can get a working internet connection.  That's not always available even on a cellphone in our quite remote and rural area.

Chet,

Bandhelper is $25/yr for up to 5 users (and we actually just use one for everyone).

Internet-wise, you don't need an Internet connection to use Bandhelper, only to sync changes. We sync our devices at home over our house wifi before leaving to update any changes. All setlists (past, present and future) and songs, all data, etc is on each device. (You can choose whether to have audio files downloaded to the devices or keep them online only for practicing). If for some reason we forget to sync before leaving (or have to make changes), we set my phone as a hotspot and it works fine.

I do have to agree with Troubador about the "glare" factor...we did a festival gig and although we were under a canopy the sideways sun blanked out my iPad mini...and then it shut it down on overheating (doh!).

Jeff

One other app option to throw into the discussion is the precursor to Bandhelper, SetListMaker. Same developer. It’s a simpler application than BandHelper, with not as robust a feature set for multiple person bands, but doesn’t require a subscription.

We have just an acoustic duo, sometimes trio, and we  maintain individual databases without going through any fancy syncing. So it might not be an answer for larger bands. 

I think OnSong has a better looking user interface, but we had already started with SetListMaker before OnSong was on the market. Initially, OnSong had some significant reliability issues, which have long since been rectified.

Regardless, we have stuck with SetListMaker which has worked out well for us. Been using it for years on various iPad 9” screen versions. Never had any major issues with it. We would never go back to paper and binders. The database contains hundreds of songs for us.

We place our iPads in holders that attach to our mic stands so we can view set lists custom built for a show, or look at the entire song list sorted in numerous ways. If we don’t have a song loaded, we can do a quick lookup on the Internet using WiFi and load it up into the program or just look at it online. It has a scroll feature that acts like a TelePrompter to scroll chords and lyrics that won’t conveniently fit on a screen. You can zoom in to make the print larger if needed.

I highly recommend checking out these various programs and see what works best for you. It’s the “killer” app that got us into the iPad. Although, SetListMaker does have an Android version as well.

Funkifized great point that I took for granted. We’ve never had an issue outdoors with it.

The only thing I found was when wearing my prescription sun glasses, it made the entire iPad screen look blank. Total panic set in as a result until I just took them off. Some sort of weird filtering affecting the iPad screen through no fault of the app.

Funkifized,
Bandhelper also has white text on black background by default. Trust me, it can get washed out in direct sunlight, we've had it happen. We love the app so it's just something we're aware of, and you can make a "sunshade" out of cardboard if needed. You can customize Bandhelper's text colors and fonts as well, but we only do that sparingly (like Verse, Chorus names, non-lyric notes/instructions).

Jeff

Jeff K posted:

Funkifized,
Bandhelper also has white text on black background by default. Trust me, it can get washed out in direct sunlight, we've had it happen. We love the app so it's just something we're aware of, and you can make a "sunshade" out of cardboard if needed. You can customize Bandhelper's text colors and fonts as well, but we only do that sparingly (like Verse, Chorus names, non-lyric notes/instructions).

Jeff

White on black background works for me.

Funkifized posted:

White on black background works for me.

It's more of an issue with glare...I wish tablets (iPad or Android) had a matte screen option, like they used to have with laptops before they all went shiny, too. Matte screens don't reflect your face right back at you lol

Jeff

Yendor, SetListMaker is just a database and user interface that will help you store, organize, print, and use live at a gig. It doesn’t come with any song content, you will have to add that content yourself, if I understand your question.

There are several ways to do this including a “batch” import feature. Check out their website on more details on this import feature. This will allow you to import songs with text format of chords chart/lyrics.

If you have files of your songs in PDF format, as an example, you could tether your iPad to a computer and  use iTunes to drag and drop an entire group of files into SetListMaker. You would still need to connect those files to the songs however.

So the initial loading of songs, while not a trivial effort, believe me will be worth it. I’d just start small. Create a show’s (say 3 sets) worth of songs and gradually build from there as you get used to the program. Be sure to review the export database feature for using as backup as you go. You can do a copy database too as you build up, in case anything goes awry. This is technology that can go sideways. I’m not implying that SetListMaker is buggy, just 30 years in an IT career has made me cautious. 

At the risk of going on and on, it might help to get into the internal organization of the program a bit to better understand how the app works and what it can offer you as result of all the effort to load the songs.

The database will store an inventory of songs. You can create as many databases as you want. You may want to create a database that contains a specific genre of music styles such as a jazz DB, for example.

There is a TON of additional fields that you can further augment the songs in a DB beyond just simple title, artist, lyrics/chord charts. You can add your own custom fields too. This will allow you to list and sort songs by any of this additional “meta” data. Things like tempo, style, frequency performed or not performed, last performed, duration, key etc. of course you will have to enter some of this data yourself as you add songs (but the import helps with this).

Then you create a show with info about the show (location, date/time, contact info, fee paid etc.). Within the show you create a set list which allows you to select from the underlying inventory of songs. It doesn’t copy the songs, it’s merely a pointer to the reusable set of songs you’ve loaded. The set list is just a custom list/ordering of songs under the confines of a set within a show. You can break the set list into segments (set 1 with 10 songs, set 2 with 5 songs whatever). The set segments can be as simple as Set 1, Set 2, Set 3 or labeled in some way like Bluegrass Set, Jazz Set etc. It’s very easy to add or move songs within a set.

It’s also easy to add a song on the fly while you are performing in case someone requests a song that you have in your underlying inventory, but  didn’t have it in your set.

When done, you can print or email the set list to your band mates.

Finally, as you are considering the program, do take some time to look at the various helpful tutorial videos on their website that cover various features to visually see how things work. The program is deceptively simple in some respects, but can do some very complex tasks such as allowing you to custom tailor the user interface to the way you’d like to see songs and set lists displayed.

Go slow and stay simple at first would be my advice regardless of what app you choose. Then  get into the more advanced features as you get more comfortable with the program.

Keep in mind I’m not implying that other similar apps can’t do what I’ve mentioned above. Most of them do. I’m just more familiar with SetListMaker. 

APP TIP: Many times we are at gigs aNd get inquiries where having a marketing brochure, or sample performance contract for a gig etc. would be useful. To that end, we have built a special “show” that contains pseudo “songs” that might be called Performance Contract, Marketing Brochure with PDF files attached. We can display or send an email with these files directly from the app to the interested party right at the gig! So we can use the app as a database of documents to have on hand. 

CityFolk posted:

Yendor, SetListMaker is just a database and user interface that will help you store, organize, print, and use live at a gig. It doesn’t come with any song content, you will have to add that content yourself, if I understand your question.

There are several ways to do this including a “batch” import feature. Check out their website on more details on this import feature. This will allow you to import songs with text format of chords chart/lyrics.

If you have files of your songs in PDF format, as an example, you could tether your iPad to a computer and  use iTunes to drag and drop an entire group of files into SetListMaker. You would still need to connect those files to the songs however.

So the initial loading of songs, while not a trivial effort, believe me will be worth it. I’d just start small. Create a show’s (say 3 sets) worth of songs and gradually build from there as you get used to the program. Be sure to review the export database feature for using as backup as you go. You can do a copy database too as you build up, in case anything goes awry. This is technology that can go sideways. I’m not implying that SetListMaker is buggy, just 30 years in an IT career has made me cautious. 

At the risk of going on and on, it might help to get into the internal organization of the program a bit to better understand how the app works and what it can offer you as result of all the effort to load the songs.

The database will store an inventory of songs. You can create as many databases as you want. You may want to create a database that contains a specific genre of music styles such as a jazz DB, for example.

There is a TON of additional fields that you can further augment the songs in a DB beyond just simple title, artist, lyrics/chord charts. You can add your own custom fields too. This will allow you to list and sort songs by any of this additional “meta” data. Things like tempo, style, frequency performed or not performed, last performed, duration, key etc. of course you will have to enter some of this data yourself as you add songs (but the import helps with this).

Then you create a show with info about the show (location, date/time, contact info, fee paid etc.). Within the show you create a set list which allows you to select from the underlying inventory of songs. It doesn’t copy the songs, it’s merely a pointer to the reusable set of songs you’ve loaded. The set list is just a custom list/ordering of songs under the confines of a set within a show. You can break the set list into segments (set 1 with 10 songs, set 2 with 5 songs whatever). The set segments can be as simple as Set 1, Set 2, Set 3 or labeled in some way like Bluegrass Set, Jazz Set etc. It’s very easy to add or move songs within a set.

It’s also easy to add a song on the fly while you are performing in case someone requests a song that you have in your underlying inventory, but  didn’t have it in your set.

When done, you can print or email the set list to your band mates.

Finally, as you are considering the program, do take some time to look at the various helpful tutorial videos on their website that cover various features to visually see how things work. The program is deceptively simple in some respects, but can do some very complex tasks such as allowing you to custom tailor the user interface to the way you’d like to see songs and set lists displayed.

Go slow and stay simple at first would be my advice regardless of what app you choose. Then  get into the more advanced features as you get more comfortable with the program.

Keep in mind I’m not implying that other similar apps can’t do what I’ve mentioned above. Most of them do. I’m just more familiar with SetListMaker. 

APP TIP: Many times we are at gigs aNd get inquiries where having a marketing brochure, or sample performance contract for a gig etc. would be useful. To that end, we have built a special “show” that contains pseudo “songs” that might be called Performance Contract, Marketing Brochure with PDF files attached. We can display or send an email with these files directly from the app to the interested party right at the gig! So we can use the app as a database of documents to have on hand. 

I do have most of our songs in pdf. Most came from Chordie.com. Lyrics and chords in pdf. I'm not sure when you refer to "You would still need to connect those files to the songs however." Can I import the PDF that contains lyrics and chords? 

Cool, what I mean is the database is organized so you can load a bunch of PDFs, but you will have edit each song and there is a section on the song details screen  that allows you to “Add Documents”. Selecting that option will dis play a selection screen to “attach” a document from a list of docs (sortable by name or filetype) to the song. There’s a limitation in IOS apparently that forces you to do this since documents are handled in a separate way (the Open In functionality). If I recall, the batch import allows you to specify this connection too.

Note there is ability to add as many documents to a song that you want. So you might want a PDF of the song in one key and another PDF using another key. Or a PDF with just lyrics and another with lyrics and chords. You get the idea. Furthermore, in the lyrics area for a song which is just text, you can store textual data along with documents. You can bounce among the various formats. 

Theres an entire tutorial on this topic as well as others on their website if you’re interested in more details. 

Heres another tutorial on importing data.

Glad to help. Let us know what you wind up with and what you thought. Both OnSong and SetListMaker would be great choices for an app like we’ve been talking about.  It will take some effort to get started, but man I love having a nice database app like these to organize my songs and use live when gigging. Truly indispensable. 

What I like most about OnSong is:

1) Nearly all of the songs in the pad are regular text files (edited with Notepad) with the .onsong extension.  Therefore they take up VERY little space.  Very important considering the limited amount of RAM in my least expensive Pad.

2) Then when you have the chords embedded in the text, you can transpose them instantly into any key needed (and then back) -- pretty nice when you're sitting in with a band that plays 'em in different keys.

3) $29.99 ONE TIME charge. 

4) +$10 one time for a Console utility that allows me to edit/add songs in the pad on my computer (connected through my local WiFi).  It makes it VERY much faster to cut and paste or type in new songs, add in the chords, fix the chords (almost EVERY song I've gotten from the internet has the wrong chord progression!), etc in the computer with a full sized keyboard and mouse.

5) I can also import any number of songs from my friends from a ZIPFILE (often attached to an email) filled with OnSong-ready text files (and/or PDFs) in one step.

6) VERY easy to read with complete control over background and text colors, sizes, etc.

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