@FCBlues @Chet 3 @Archtop Eddy @Big Jim - so do all of you use some form of tablet to hold your lyrics etc? What kind? On a music stand or with some form of clamp on the mic stand?
First, let me say thanks FCBlues, Chet and all for info on Songbook, Onsong and other options. I plan to look into those programs since key transposing and auto-scolling could be useful features. I like that Onsong also lets you use Spotify to hear the song(s). The biggest issue is having to re-input all my songs in another format other than PDF. That's a ton of work when you have a few hundred songs.
Back to troubador's questions: I use a first generation ipad and iRealb and foreScore for gigging.
I use iRealb for jazz or Gypsy jazz gigs when I'm playing with a group. It's also useful for practicing with a background track. It's like a basic Band-in-a-Box at one twentieth the cost. Plus you can go to their forum on line and find thousands of songs you can download to your ipad. It's big draw to me was when I found more than 300 Gypsy Jazz songs ready for the grab. The main limit of iRealb is that you cant effectively add lyrics.
So foreScore is the app I use for my solo singer guitar gigs.
I don't know if it's better than other apps like unrealBook, GoodReader or others, but at this point, it's the app I'm used to using. Here's how I use it during a live gig.
First, I code all songs by title, original singer or composer, genre, and which decade (era) the song was first recorded (i.e. 1920s, 1930,s ... 1970s, 1980s, etc.) Then I put the songs in a variety of setlists: Sets 1-4, Vintage Songs, Uptempo Songs, Best of Rock Songs, etc.
So at the gig, now I'm able to select songs by choosing a Set List, by song title, genre, composer or era. And with foreScore it's easy to move around from one to the other.
Say I'm at a gig and decide to play a set with three songs from each decade from 1930s to 1970s. That would be 15 songs total. I'll pull up a setlist named "3 each 30s-70s popular Set 1" and go from there. If in the middle of the set I decided I'd like to add another song, I'll usually determine which "era" I'm in at that time and go that genre (let's say 1960s) and pick song either by title or by composer or original artist. Then if I want, it's easy to go back to my 30's-70s set list and pick back up where I was. This explanation makes it sound more complicated than it is.
I keep all my songs down to one page so I don't have to flip pages in mid-song. Sometimes this is a challenge when there are a ton of lyrics. To keep from having to use two lines (chord lines on top of the lyric lines), I put the chords after each lyric line. This gives me twice the room for lyrics per page. For example:
C F C F
If you like-a-me, I like-a-you
I'll underline the "chord" words so I can place everything on one line. In this example I used boldface since I can't underline here:
If you like-a-me, I like-a-you C F C F
You might notice, I also use short dashes between words (like-a-me) to help me remember the rhythmic timing of the song. I'm sure there are better ways to this, but this is what Ive become used to and works for me.
As for stands, I use a separate foldable mic stand to hold my ipod with a K&M holder that screws directly to the top of the stand. I prefer a separate stand for my ipod and mic.
To me, the ability to easily read and understand your lyric/chord sheets and confidently move around in your app program are the critical factors during a live gig. Also having gear that's small, lightweight, easy to set up and holds up well during a gig are vital. This is where all my Bose gear comes into play! Anything that eliminates problems or inconsistencies get my thumbs up.
One recent issue I've been facing is it can be hard to read an ipad when busking in direct sunlight. Moving the ipad is not always an option. I carry polarizing sunglasses in case I need them for the sun glare. By flipping the ipad direction from portrait to landscape it can help eliminate the glare. Unfortunately, it also means I can only see the top half of my lyrics sheet. At some point during the performance I need to free up a finger to swipe to the bottom half of the page. By setting the looper or putting a quick break in the music I can make this adjustment, but it's just one more thing I have to deal with on the fly during a performance. Anybody else have this problem?