Digital options for charts - What's out there?

Discussion in 'Accessories [BG]' started by Liko, Jun 18, 2020.

  1. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    Last night's gig, outdoors on a patio at sunset with the evening winds kicking up, proved two things. First, if you can memorize your music, do it. Second, if there's just too much to keep track of, paper charts are not always the best option. Not only do you need a reading light once the sun fully sets, you need so many clamps and clips on the paper it's a real hassle to go from song to song.

    I bit the bullet with this band and have been memorizing the patterns and roadmaps on bass, but the lead singer has far more words to remember than I do, and the lead guitarist is bandleader and has quite a bit to keep track of himself, so both of them use charts at the gigs. The bandleader's been talking about a technology upgrade, last night really tipped the scales.

    So, the question. For all you guys who either use a digital chart system or play with someone who does, what do you have, and do you like it?

    The stuff I've seen personally comes in two basic variants. First, you can compile all the songs in your set into one word processor document, print that to PDF, and load it into any old reader app. Simple, effective, works with any device you have. Second, my church's worship leader uses SongSheet on his iPad, which has considerably more in-app flexibility. It's not ideal but pretty darn good, provided you have an iPad or are willing to buy one. I'm looking at anything anyone's found to be effective for them.

    One thing that would help a lot is a footswitch page turner; the one-page setup of most tablets makes page flipping during the song a necessity. I see quite a few options, all ridiculously overpriced for what the thing is and does but maybe I'm being too harsh. If anyone has a line on a quality but inexpensive option I'm all ears.
  2. filmtex


    May 29, 2011
    I have been using iPads for four or five years very, very, successfully. I have an older one that is now a backup, and use a web-connected via Verizon 2019 iPad Pro as my primary.
    I started running SongBook from the iPad App store years ago and it's fantastic. I keep everything on my iPad and use Dropbox as a MacBookPro connected storage/backup. When I add songs to my Dropbox folder from the MBP, they appear on my iPad the next time I open it. It's always completely up to date. I also have an iRig Bluetooth connected page turner that also advance the songs. I don't do many "set lists" because I regularly work with four or five bands/shows so I just keep all the bands songs in a playlist listed alphabetically though I can sort by date added or subtitle ie: original artist, songwriter etc.
    My current inventory of songs is 1078 in 42 playlists dating back to 2014/2015. This set up is easy to use, fast and extremely reliable. I haven't had any problems with crashes or slow loading. With variable font size, black on white or white on black lyrics and the ability to transpose properly formatted songs, this set up allows me to access songs very rapidly. Highly recommended.
    Here's a photo of it in it's stand.

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
  3. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    ForScore on an iPad. PDF storage, easy import, export, scan, backup functions. Handles set list creations, place holders for Moon Dance type songs (no chart required like most U2 tunes for instance). Great piece of software
    lokikallas likes this.
  4. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I now use forscore, works great. Very flexible. I just import PDFs typically.
  5. SwitchGear


    Mar 23, 2005
    Sunny Beach
    Yes a tablet is the way to go. Only issue i have found is they are hard to see out in the bright sun