Review: Six String
Six Strings (universal binary), by H2Indie LLC
ē Fun string based music machine
ē Multiple instruments and settings allow for a diverse experience
ē Nothing to teach you how to play or follow along with music
First, a disclaimer Ė I have never played any string musical instrument other than the cello. As such, I have a very limited background in stringed musical instruments, and canít definitively say what might be a good feature or not. I am approaching this app from a purely entertainment value.
There are many musical keyboard apps in the App Store. Six Strings is one of the few music apps that take a different approach. With Six Strings, instead of a keyboard, you have the opportunity to play one of 5 stringed instruments (plus two drum types for good measure). The six stringed instruments are the ukulele, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, and mandolin. There isnít anything like a violin, which would have been nice to see, but those are a different kind of stringed instrument. The two drum types are a drum kit (6 different options) and a steel drum.
When playing one of the stringed instruments, it is as easy as simply swiping your fingers across the iPad screen. In fact, if you hold the iPad sideways, you might even be able to pretend you are playing air guitar or something! The sound (to my untrained ears) is pretty good for the small iPad speakers. The steel drum also sounds pretty good, but I felt the drum kit seemed a little quiet for my tastes.
When playing the instruments, you can adjust various settings (chords and effects) to fine tune your sound, and you play your instrument. I didnít do too much with these, mostly because I simply didnít really know what I was doing! Someone with more training and experience could probably really fine tune their sound to whatever range they desire. One thing I was sort of disappointed about was the lack of ability to hold your fingers down on the neck of the instrument to compose different sounds. I think this is what the different chord buttons do.
You also have the ability to record your own music (loops) that you can save, play back, and even share any loops you have made. I thought this was particularly cool, but for a novice player (like myself) with no experience, it isnít really that helpful. What would be helpful would be some sort of play along option (maybe highlighting specific strings to pluck or chords to hit) so you can play along with known songs.
The settings in the app allow for adjusting the reverb (cave, city, bathroom, to name a few), allowing for features like a metronome, and even adjusting to a left-handed playing style. Again, for people with more experience might understand some of the settings a little more. For myself and my daughter, who were just playing along to our own little rhythm, some of the settings didnít really get used very much.
All in all, this is a fun music app, different from the standard keyboard synthesizers. It has a few different instrument types that allow for some variety. While it has limited options to help new players or people with very little experience, it does appear to have some settings to help the more experienced guitar player. For $4.99, I might be a little expensive for someone just to play on a whim, but I still have a good time with it. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.