The 11 best apps for drummers
If you were lucky enough to unwrap a shiny new tablet this festive season you’ll have probably already noticed that owning such a device opens a world of opportunities for drummers.
But where to start? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve rounded up the 11 essential apps for drummers, time keeping aids, artist packages, lessons and a whole load more.
One of Apple’s proprietary apps is one of our favourites for basic recording of ideas.
A small variety of tap to play acoustic and electronic drum kits let you input beats in real time, or you can step record, building beats voice by voice. Once recorded you can edit and manipulate each hit, changing the voice, the position in the bar and the velocity of the note. With Smart Drums you can generate random drum loops to throw up new ideas and, heaven forbid you also fancy a dabble with guitars, keys or strings, you can lay down complete songs just like the full-fat desktop version.
Chad Smith Drum App
Get all the insider information on the Chili Peppers sticksman.
View Chad’s latest set-up in detail, read his blog, interact with the man himself via his Fan Wall and listen to samples of his entire discography. Chad also shares his influences via a range of informative profiles.
Put your iDevice on a table and tap, slap and generally percuss near it to trigger and control preset or self-created sounds.
This powerful percussion synth utilises the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch microphone as the trigger input and different types of ‘stroke’ produce surprisingly expressive notes. Build layered loops or simply record yourself ‘live’.
Pete Lockett's Drum Jam
Pricey but well thought-out and immersive app from the percussion guru.
Drum Jam allows you to get hands-on with a range of world percussion instruments, from pandeiro and djembe to full kit (sampled from drum luminaries like Russ Miller and Steve Sidelnyk) and jam along with user or system-generated loops and grooves. Record your performances and share via email or upload to Soundcloud. Use the array of effects and additional features to manipulate sounds and create a truly unique performance. There’s even a quantize function to dial your playing to perfection.
You can enjoy the UK’s best-selling drum magazine enhanced with video and audio drum lessons on your iOS device.
Learn everything from rudiments and playing styles to classic tracks to working with loops, plus there’s bonus video interview content and gear review galleries. iOS users can check out free issues and trial subscriptions within our free app. Even better, you can now get trial and combined print and digital subscriptions to the UK's best-selling drumming magazine. Head here for more details.
There’s no video or audio for android users yet, but it’s on its way. Check out the PDF version via Google Play or Zinio.
Download for free and check out sample video lessons from beginner to pro, including excellent lessons with Chad Smith, Mike Portnoy and Steve Gadd, before delving into the in-app purchasable lesson packages. Lessons are accompanied by notation and the function to slow down the audio for easier learning.
While it will never improve on good manual tuning technique and a good pair of ears, this tuner can help those with less experience achieve desired results when tuning their drums.
Using the device’s microphone, the app measures the vibration frequency across a drum head when struck, allowing you to tune your drums to pitch if desired or simply to have a record of the frequency of your preferred tuning in order to revisit it again. includes bonus info on the science behind drums and tuning, and it’s cheaper than a Drum Dial.
Fantastic metronome packed with functions for very little outlay. a wide range of sounds, huge time signature options and, our favourite, the ability to program and save entire setlists to ensure you don’t drop a beat during the whole gig.
Find Around Me
You’re in the middle of another faceless town on tour, you’re Hank Marvin, but the kebab shop next door is closed and the locals are too half-cut to give you any sensible suggestions.
This app will search out every option possible, their proximity to you and, most importantly, whether they’re still open at 2am. It also hunts for petrol stations, bars, hotels and more.
It’s vital we protect our ears. Whether you think you have hearing issues or not, this simple test will indicate whether you have suffered any degree of hearing loss and offer advice. Plenty of our drumming icons are casualties of tinnitus. This app offers a helping hand to ensure subsequent generations of drummers don’t succumb to it.