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Strum Machine Honest Review: Cost, Alternatives & More

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Written by Omari

Old-time music is a living tradition with origins in rural America. It came into existence when recorded music and radio were not widely available. Today, old-time music has evolved to be neo-traditional. However, many people still prefer to adhere to the styles of the source material.

Whether playing old-time originally or neo-traditional, it sounds better and reverberating playing in a group. In fact, old-time was founded on a tradition of connection. However, you must be able to play well enough to play in a group. Other people in the group also need to be able to play well enough for it to be a fantastic experience.

Most times, it's either you can play well enough, or there are people in your group that need to play better. Sometimes, you just want to play old-time tunes alone for the fun of it. In any case, whether playing for personal or professional fun, you need practice.

Old-time musicians often found it challenging to practice because they needed help finding the right way or instrument to help them. Then Luke Abbott invented the Strum Machine, which many people claim has improved their mastery of old-time tunes. Throughout this Strum Machine review, we'll cover what the Strum Machine is, its cost, what to like, and what not to like about it.

What is the Strum Machine?

The Strum Machine is an app that old-time music players use to backtrack while practicing. The Strum Machine app is an accompaniment program to practice acoustic guitar, mandolin, and upright bass. It includes about 1300 songs that old-time, bluegrass, and other string-band musicians can use. If this is your first time hearing of old-time and bluegrass music, you can check out our article on the different genres of music to know what they are. The Strum Machine app also lets you create and share fully customizable backing tracks to play on the app. 

So, what are some of the things to love about this app?

Pros Of The Strum Machine app

  1. It Sounds Great: This is the Strum Machine's primary feature. It provides real instrument sounds in real-time to give you that genuine real-life experience. The machine takes notes, chords, and strums recorded on real instruments and brings them together. With no MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface ), wooden tracks, or poorly recorded tunes, the Strum Machine sounds excellent and authentic. It prepares you for real band experiences.

  2. Play At Your Speed: Another fantastic feature of the app is that it lets you set your tempo and key as you play along with your favorite instrument. With the -/+ buttons, you can easily adjust playback speed and add or subtract the instruments you want to hear. You can also type in an exact BPM number if you prefer. It's even more impressive that you can adjust the playback speed without reducing the tune's quality because it is real-time. In summary, you can adjust your feel, and that's great.

  3. It's Interactive: The Strum Machine impressively guides you through the tune you're practicing, so you never lose track. It points out the current beat you're on, ensuring you are aware enough to stay focused on your tune and get back to it if you lose your way for a minute. That way, you accustom yourself to playing a tune exactly how it is, enough to know how to get innovative with it and create a new tune. In addition, you can loop any part of the tune you are learning. That is helpful because you can review any challenging part of a tune until you become proficient. In addition, musicians can choose their preferred chord nomenclature, either relative (I, IV, V) or absolute (G, C, D).

  4. A Huge Library: The Strum Machine app has about 1300 preloaded songs. It's a vast, incredible library because you have a lot to pick from. The songs are either old-time, bluegrass, or other string-band songs. The fact that the machine focuses explicitly on those genres of music means that it has a more remarkable ability to do a great job. In addition, it has a high search speed, so you can find tunes quickly. You don't even have to worry if you can't find a song; the machine's spontaneous song editor lets you add or edit any tune. Therefore you can add your favorite tune or modify an existing tune until it becomes your new favorite. You can also share any new tunes that you create.

  5. Fantastic User Interface And Experience: Any app with great features will only fall below expectations if you can't easily use it. However, that's not the case with the Strum Machine. The Strum Machine is simple and easy to use in addition to its elegance and sophistication. Moreover, you can run the program on any device – computer, smartphone, or tablet. It's flexible enough to support iOS and Android systems, which is a huge plus. You won't waste time looking for a feature because, somehow, you'll know where every feature could be. That's how transparent the app is.

  6. Pricing: The Strum Machine offers an excellent 14-day free trial to use all its unique features. After the free trial, the machine requires an inexpensive $5 monthly subscription fee. It's great if you're working on a budget. For all the impressive features it offers, $5 is a huge discount!

What's Not To Like About The Strum Machine?

Everyone has only great things to say about the Strum Machine. That's unsurprising because the Strum Machine is impressive. However, this Strum Machine review is unbiased, so we'll tell you the truth – Strum Machine could be better. 

The Strum Machine doesn't include a claw hammer banjo which many old-time musicians love. Furthermore, old-time players complain that the songs are more bluegrass and the guitar tunes favor bluegrass players more. Therefore there could be an EQ (equalization) option to help manipulate the frequency of the guitar tunes. 

Another great option is to record another guitar. The app should also include more old-time songs or allow people to add theirs directly to the public library. In addition, the Strum Machine can make learning and practice easier by including simple bass functions rather than just the relative and absolute chords.

Are There Any Alternatives To The Strum Machine?

Impressive as the Strum Machine is, some people prefer to use other programs, sites, and whatnot to learn and practice. There are a couple of alternatives to the Strum Machine. You can choose to use any, depending on how you feel. You can consider the following.

We hope you loved this Strum Machine review. Remember to leave a comment if you found this article helpful or wish to say anything about the Strum Machine.

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    3 replies to "Strum Machine Honest Review: Cost, Alternatives & More"

    • Tim

      I fully agree with the review in that there is no clawhammer banjo option, and there are a very limited number of old-time tunes and songs. It WOULD be of great help if we could add our own chord charts to the general list; it would probably increase the StrumMaching list exponentially!

    • Bill


    • William

      I have paid for a full year subscription for the strum machine and can’t use it. I have contacted the company several times and have not heard back from them. When I use my Bluetooth speaker so I can hear while playing it is either sounds like it’s cutting in and out or a bad echo continuously. The first song does good but when you play in the after that you get the cutting in and out and echoing. To make sure it wasn’t my Bluetooth speaker I bought a different brand of speaker and it does the same with it. I like the drum machine for what I got to use but it is doing me no good at this time. I have a Android phone and my phone carrier is consumer Cellular which goes through AT&t.

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