There are a lot of iPhone apps out there, and a lot of them are aimed at drummers. There are metronomes, practice tools, tuners, drum machines, recorders, etc. I’ll be honest. I’ve bought a lot of them. Of those I’ve bought or downloaded, I actually use an incredibly small percentage of of them on any sort of regular basis. In fact, I’d wager I’ll never touch 90% of them again. However, some of the ones I use regularly are incredibly useful, so I figured I would share.
Amazing Slow Downer is, hands down, the best tool in my arsenal for learning how to play (or transcribe) other people’s music. What it does is simple in a sense. It slows down the song, but manages to keep the pitch. How much you slow down the song is variable. As you can see from the screenshot, there’s a whole host of sliders you can adjust, and they’re all pretty useful. Aside from slowing down songs, Amazing Slow Downer is incredibly useful for setting up and repeating difficult parts of songs. At $14.99 at the time of this writing, Amazing Slow Downer is one of the more expensive applications in the iTunes App Store. However, it’s totally worth it. And, compared to the $49.95 the Mac/PC version costs, it doesn’t feel like a bad deal at all.
There are way too many metronomes available for the iPhone. I’ve tried quite a few of them, both paid-for and free. This has been my favorite of the bunch. For a drummer, any metronome that uses only audible cues is pretty worthless. Setlist Metronome is, of course, a metronome with both visual and audible cues (otherwise it wouldn’t be earning my recommendation). Beyond that, what sets it apart, and earns it its name, is the ability to create a setlist. You define a bunch of tempos and time signatures, load them all in a certain order, and then go play your gig/practice using them. Easy as that! It really doesn’t do much more, but why would you want it to? Keep it simple and useful. This is another one that costs a bit more than most apps ($7.99 when this was written). Personally, I still find it worth it.
I don’t know if this is something all drummers would need or use, but I’m one of those that relies on a tuner when I’m doing my snare and toms, at least to get me started. There are also a lot of tuners out there. This one seemed to be the best (most accurate and quick to respond) of the tuners I tried. It works great on guitars and other “normal” instruments, but it’s quick enough to react to a drum hits too. At $3.99 during this writing, I’d say it is definitely a solid purchase.