What Device Are You Using On Shows For Charts

Discussion in 'Tablature and Notation [BG]' started by 57pbass, Jan 25, 2023.

  1. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    Is there a particular device that works best for sight reading charts on shows. I have an iPad but am reluctant to bring it to the venues.. looking for a cheap option.

    I work for a local music company and the owner has a few different projects that we perform.
    I have a book of handwritten charts for each project but he sometimes calls out tunes from the other projects and I don’t have those charts. Trying to consolidate them and the tablets work well for this. We play at different venues throughout the year.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
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  2. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Charts printed on paper. FF439446-3C29-448C-A048-5EFCD366E962.jpeg
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
  3. Sean150


    Jul 18, 2018
    The cheapest iPad is 449 CAD which is like 399 USD. Could you buy an extra for the gigs? Any cheaper than that (android wise) I would worry about compatibility with software.

    even printing would start to get expensive pretty quickly.
  4. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    I’m with you on this method .. all my band mates are using devices so I am doing my research..
  5. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I’ve got a scanner and a laser printer. It costs me about 3 cents per page to print a chart. That’s 10,000 charts for the cost of an iPad. And it never goes dead, fails to boot up, and can be quickly annotated with a pencil. Good enough for Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and me too.
  6. shirky


    Apr 7, 2000
    Reading, PA, USA
    Make sure that whichever option you choose, you’re able to makes notes and cross out some measures. Every show I’ve played had a lot of cuts.

    Good luck in your search.
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  7. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    What is your "show"? For me it is church on Sunday morning. I use an iPad. This week I played at a new large church and was surprised to see 1/2 the team using paper.
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  8. Make life easy for yourself. An iPad & OnSong
  9. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    Samsung Galaxy Note S8. The New model with a pen. Using PDF charts right now, but looking for an app solution. I have a few downloaded, but haven't had a chance to check them out.

    Been using a tablet for years, since the first iPad came out. Never had a single issue, and very much prefer it over lugging Real Books around :)
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  10. John Stephen

    John Stephen Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    I think this does depend somewhat on what you mean by "shows". What type of gig are you referring to -- a gig playing standards at a bar, or musical theater, etc. And why are you reluctant to bring an iPad to the venues--are you worried about theft, accidentally leaving it behind, etc.?

    I use an iPad and the "forScore" app for gigs with my trio, playing standards and popular music, where the charts are 1 or 2 pages (lead sheets). For musical theater I have to use the printed score for the show, because I need to have two pages open at a time (or else too many page turns, since theater scores are usually more than 100 pages long). iPads aren't convenient to having two pages open at a time, for me. When you turn the iPad horizontal to split the screen into two pages, the pages are smaller and I have trouble reading them. So I use actual paper for musical theater.

    I'm not too worried about losing/leaving my iPad for the trio gigs--by habit, it's the last thing I unpack when I set up, and the first thing i pack up when I'm breaking down to leave, and there's at least one of us trio members hanging around the playing area all the time. But I acknowledge there is still a possibility of losing it, but I think we take pretty good precautions.

    I don't know of any cheaper alternative to an iPad, other than the aforementioned actual paper.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023
  11. SLO Surfer

    SLO Surfer

    Jun 3, 2009
    Los Osos, CA
    I was very hesitant to ditch paper for a tablet, but I joined a band that creates and sticks to setlists and transition’s immediately between songs. I got the setlists ahead of time and would put all the paper sheet music in order for the whole show, which could take 15-45 minutes. Then I had a couple gigs with a slight breeze which required me to use clothespins to secure the pages down. I thought I was flipping pages super fast! But every time I secured the second clothespin and looked up, the entire band (9 guys/gals with iPads) was staring at me waiting.

    I got the cheapest 12.9” iPad I could find (2nd or 3rd generation) and downloaded the ForScore app. Now it takes 1-2 minutes to put my music in setlist order for a three hour show, and it takes one second to turn pages to the next song regardless of gale force winds or not. Just tap the screen or step on the Bluetooth page turner. I don’t have to remember which book(s) to bring to a gig or rehearsal. When I used to have one (heavy) book for each of my bands, now I just have one iPad for ALL my sheet music.

    My ipad is a business expense and I don’t use it for anything else other than sheet music.

    I’ll say this, an iPad/tablet is cheaper than a bass and amp and you bring those to gigs.
  12. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    I updated my post. Thanks
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  13. John Stephen

    John Stephen Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2018
    SF Bay Area
    Got it, thanks. I don't know of any device other than a tablet, but maybe someone else here on TB will know of something else. If you are using a music-reading app on a tablet, your choice of a tablet may affect which music-reading app you can use for it (or vice versa). As an example, forScore is only available for iPads; there isn't a Windows or Android version of it. Let's see if someone comes along with some other ideas/devices.
  14. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Also - Doesnt hurt to memorize the real books.
  15. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    The S8 14” Ultra looks great.
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  16. 2thAche


    Sep 22, 2018
    Not tabs but for lyrics I grabbed a Samsung Galaxy A7 8.7" 32GB tablet. It was like $124 on Amazon. Big enough to ready but not monstrous like an ipad.
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  17. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    I like Songbook Pro, which is cheap and can be used on an iPad or tablet. It’s a little bit onerous to edit the charts in the app, but I recently discovered it has a desktop editor, which has been a game-changer.
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  18. biobass

    biobass Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2007
    Princeton NJ area
    I’ve been using my iPad for many, many years (20 or so?) for all my shows from bar gigs to corporate/banquet to musical theater. I now use the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, much easier on my aging eyes!

    I have charts, mostly in standard notation that I have written or acquired stored as PDFs for every song my bands play, and for all the sub work I have done with other bands. For pop/rock/country type songs I use UnReal Book as my pdf reader. For musical theater I generally use ForScore, which has a half-page advance feature useful when reading ahead. I use an iRig Blue page turn pedal. Reading from the iPad is much, much easier than using paper once you get used to it. Both UnReal Book and ForScore allow for making notations, edits, copied sheets, bookmarks and the like. I routinely get my musical theater scores as E-files from the MD. I can easily share edited and notated copies of the score with a sub if necessary. One HUGE advantage is not having to erase the paper book at the end of the run.

    I also have Real Books 1, 2 and 3 and volume 1 of the Pop/Rock Real Book on my iPad, as well as iRealPro, which has chord charts to 1000s of jazz, rock, pop, folk, country, blues songs, or you can write your own, that you can transpose instantly on the fly.

    ‘In all the years I have been using the iPad, I have, knock wood, never had a real problem. Of course any technology, including paper on a windy day outside, can have a failure. The worst that has ever happened to me is one time during a run of Once On This Island, just as I was about to turn the page and come in with a very prominent bass part, I got a pop-up message that my Apple Pencil was low on charge. That pop-up overrode my BlueTooth page Turner. I had to manually touch the screen to get rid of the message before my page turner could be active again. It only took seconds for me to figure out what was going on, but that was enough for me to miss my entrance. I now make sure that I fully charge my Apple Pencil before every gig.

    Once on a wedding gig that I was playing, the snotty twerp band leader was carelessly whipping around microphone cords during set up. He smashed the glass on my iPad that was already set up on my mic stand in the iClip holder. At first,he didn’t own up to having done it, even though there were five other band members who saw him do it. I could still use the iPad for the show. The band leader, eventually, paid me an amount adjusted for depreciation for what a repair cost would be. I put that money towards the iPad Pro that I have now. Needless to say, I keep my iPad in its cover now unless I’m actively using it. Also, that was the last time I worked for that idiot band leader.

    Another advantage is that I also have my Kindle library on the iPad or I can connect to the internet if wi-fi is available, or use my phone as a personal hotspot, for the down times.

    I don’t ever see going back to paper. The advantages of using the iPad or similar device are enormous.
  19. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    I appreciate the information. I will probably just buy a second IPad for this purpose only. I have too much personal data on my current iPad and if it gets stolen or damaged it will really complicate things for me.
    I will also look at The Real Book of Pop tunes. Never knew that existed.
    John Stephen likes this.
  20. srayb


    Oct 27, 2010
    Apple sells refurbished iPads that are like new (new battery & case, with warranty). The 12.9" model is good because the screen is virtually the same size as a 8.5x11 sheet of paper.