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Thread: iPads

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default iPads

    There is an ever growing group of players who have moved their music sheets to one of the tablets.

    Is there enough interest in tablets so that one can find about the UU group's experience with them, what works, what does not work and so forth.

    I've tried search block but have not been successful.

    A dedicated site, or a subset of the Tech Support section, would be useful.

    Ralph Kelley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    the wild west, Canada


    Anecdotally, and from personal experience, an iPad will keep chugging along for years after and android gets bogged down and useless, but I'm thinking of midrange androids, maybe top end ones are better.

    I'd be interested to know how people like Kindles as I've heard someone mention he preferred them and they'd be potentially a lot more affordable than an iPad. Some of the Kindles have amazing battery life too (albeit, the ones w/o back light on).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    New Jersey


    There are lots of threads here about tablets. I'm a Windows and Android guy, but for music charts, I prefer an iPad (actually a larger iPad Pro these days).

    The first question you have to ask is...what format do you want to use? ChordPro or PDF? They both have their pros and cons. I chose PDF and don't regret it. The only thing I can't do is change key on the fly. I chose PDF because I didn't want to have to scroll, and I wanted more control over the formatting. For using PDFs, you can't beat the combination of Dropbox plus either unrealbook or OnSong. OnSong is the more expensive of the two, but I believe it also reads ChordPro files. I've been using unrealbook for six or seven years now, and it has be come indispensable. The ability to annotate charts alone is worth it, but it does a lot more.

    - FiL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Fil's comments are just what I thought would be useful . The ability to annotate -- for example, show where the tag starts, or add or delete a chord -- is extremely useful and for me, it would be a mandatory feature.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    I put up a thread about my experience with tablets the last few years.

    And here's what I said:

    When I retired and started to play ukulele and bass uke about 4 1/2 years ago, it didn’t take me long to decide to use a tablet for my music sheets instead of lugging around a big notebook. I had long before gone paperless, using my iPhone and MacBook Pro for everything from quick little notes to calendar to... well everything.

    I had a 9.7 inch iPad, so I looked for and found two music cataloguing apps for iOS, OnSong and forScore. I tested both, but found them to be unintuitive and illogical (I designed database software for about 10 years, so I know of which I speak). Along with that, the 9.7 inch screen was too small for my aging eyes.

    At that time the 12.9 inch iPad Pro was announced for around $1000, more than I wanted to spend, so I decided to forsake my Apple fanboying and see what was available for Android. Amazon had a 13.3 inch referb tablet for $150, but what really caught my attention was MobileSheets Pro. Immediately I saw that it had a much better user interface than OnSong or forScore. So I went for it.

    I design my own PDFs of the music sheets our leader gives us to the exact size of the tablet screen. All was good until I needed to make quick notations while rehearsing (twice a week) because the Android was terrible at it, neither my finger nor the half dozen stylus I tried worked well. I lived with it for a couple of years, until I found that MobileSheets Pro came out for Windows 10 tablets.

    I looked up the stylus function and according to reviews, the stylus was very good. So I got online and found a 13.5 inch Windows 10 tablet, 32 GB and a stylus for $400. Yes, the stylus was better, but after a couple of months I ran into the inherent problems of a Windows computer; bloated OS, updates that take over out of nowhere, interfering with what ever I was doing, slow operations, awkward interface and short battery life.

    In the midst of that frustration, I went to my local Apple store and tested the iPad Pro 12.9 inch and Apple Pencil. It was very obvious that the iPad Pro and iOS runs circles around Android and Windows tablets. It’s faster, the stylus is exceptional, far more precise than any other. The battery life is much better, it’s lighter, and having used an iPhone for years, I know the apps are far better integrated to iOS.

    So last week I got online to the Apple referb page and found a 64 GB and a Pencil for $805 out the door, about a $200 savings from new, with the full year warranty. I then setup forScore because I learned that they added in-app recording (MobileSheets Pro does not, and the other tablets would not record while in another app, I used my iPhone because I record each song while rehearsing and post them for the other members to practice with anytime they want). In the first hour of using the iPad Pro in rehearsal, I realized, you get what you pay for. It's head and shoulders above Android and Windows.

    I’m getting used to the awkward interface of forScore, and making great use of the built in record feature. One more thing, the developer of MobileSheets Pro says he’s going to make an iOS version sooner or later and include in-app recording too, but for now, I’m a happy camper.

    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs.
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    Last edited by kohanmike; 03-29-2019 at 06:57 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota



    I’ll just state that I disagree with you and I have a different opinion. No device is perfect and everything experiences change over time. Paper music is subject to nature and “acts of God” just as much as anything else. In my career, I have seen paper libraries destroyed by fire, termites, and flooding.

    There are a number of ways to display music, and a number of ways to convert music from paper to a digitized format.

    PDF has been the standard for sharing digitized documents for over 10 years; if PDF is ever replaced, there will be low cost solutions to convert libraries to the next format. The same goes with photos.

    My iPad has become an essential tool in my workflow, and quite honestly, I couldn’t do a number of the things I do professionally or vocationally without it—I would have to do different things.

    I don’t think Apple hides their purpose; ultimately they want you to buy their hardware, which is why they give away so many tools for free; and services are a growing aspect of their model as well (cloud storage, music, and now video and even banking). I have to say that I appreciate the openness versus other companies that are more focused on providing tools and services to sell information about you!

    Yes, I’m pro-iPad. I don’t think there is a better tool for me that exists at this time. If something better comes along, I’ll look at it—but until then, I’ll keep doing what I have been doing!
    My ukulele blog:

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    on a sunny FL beach


    I love my Ipad and would never want to go back to paper. I could never be as portable or organized. As an older person, I was late to the whole computer thing. Even with no tech savvy, I found apple products very intuitive to use. I appreciate that you dont have to buy virus software (never had a virus in an apple product). My original little macbook lasted over 10 years, without a single issue. Even at the end, it still would have worked, but its operating system was no longer supported. Same with my original ipad. Worked for probably 7-8 yrs before it started to freeze up on me and I felt its time was near. I certainly got my money’s worth. I now have a new ipad which I continue to enjoy. 2000+ songs in my Onsong library and backed up to dropbox. I consider it a valuable, if not essential, tool.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    There's a good and recent discussion about tablets here:

    The tablet that's right for you depends on a lot of factors. A pro who performs from sheet music has different needs compared to someone who plays chord/lyrics sheets at uke club. Sometimes a player who never leaves the house and hates messing with technology jumps into one of these threads and says they don't need a tablet, and I agree they don't! Take the time to figure out what you want to do, and choose the tech accordingly.

    Do consider the ecosystem on your smartphone and computer: Apple, Android, Windows? Might as well be consistent, save yourself the learning curve and re-use apps you've already bought.

    I get by very happily with a 10-inch Amazon Fire tablet. ChordPro files searched from the web using GuitarTapp. Single-song PDF files in MobileSheets. PDF books in the Kindle reader app. And of course a bookmark for Ukulele Underground in the web browser!

    Note about "Kindles": The Amazon Fire tablets run Fire OS which is based on Android. The Kindle e-ink readers are a different thing entirely. Years ago I used an e-ink Kindle for PDF songsheets. It worked but the screen is small and the device is slow to turn pages and search files. I wouldn't recommend it. Current-generation Fire tablets have excellent battery life and are, IMHO, better suited to uke music. Unless you already have a Kindle, in which case you might as well give it a try.

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