Facebook PixelTouch screen chord training app
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Touch screen chord training app

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Dec 16, 2021
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This idea simply aims to provide users with a way of practising guitar chords whenever they please, even if they do not have a guitar with them.
I originally abandoned this idea because I found that most smartphones are much wider than standard guitar necks, which is also why I think something like this has not yet been developed. Apps like Fret Trainer show you where the chords are found, similar to an inventory or dictionary, but does not require users to make the actual shapes and put their fingers in the right positions. There are multiple apps available that show the different chords, but none that allow you to actually "play" them. Upon further reflection, I came to the conclusion that even if your phone's screen would not be able to accurately simulate a guitar neck, simply making the correct shapes would still be beneficial, especially for beginners
I imagine such an app could be gamified to resemble something like Guitar Hero, focussing only on the chords and not on the strumming. That said, if your right-hand rhythm also needs practising the app would also be able to allow you to strum along without having to worry about the chords. You would then either be able to play the chords of a song, as it is playing, or strum along, to practise rhythm.
Such an app would serve as an aid for beginners, it would not be able to substitute practising on a guitar, but it might help.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Dec 16, 2021
Adjustable width of the guitar neck
I checked the Fret Trainer you linked and it seems that they have thought about the width of the guitar neck (check the picture below). It doesn't cover the whole screen, but yes, it depends on the screen size of your phone (thus, hard to resemble the exact guitar neck width). But that seems to be the problem with any app trying to resemble something on the screen. Therefore, I suggest adding an ability to change the guitar neck width in the app to perfectly match the width of your guitar of choice.
Figure 1. Screenshot taken from https://www.frettrainer.com/.
Automatic rhythmical strumming in the background
You mentioned also that in the existing apps, you don't have the ability to actually play the chord. I think that's because you don't have an option to scan the movements of the right hand (strumming). There could be a feature to add rhythmical strumming while you "train" your chords.
3-D touch determining the finger pressure needed to play the chord clearly
Depending on the guitar (classic or acoustic), wires are made of different materials and consequently, different to play. Three plastic wires on classic guitar needs to be gently pressed, while the metal ones on the acoustic require a stronger pressure with fingers. Therefore, an additional feature could be to adjust the finger pressure needed for the chords to play by adding the 3D touch feature into the app. I know the iPhone has this ability integrated, so iOS could be the starting point for this feature development.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Yes, but as far as I can tell, Fret Trainer, like all the similar apps, does not require you to touch the screen in the shape of the chords, they simply illustrate what the chords look like. So the width of the screen is not really an issue for them.
For my idea, even changing the width of the guitar neck on the screen doesn't change the fact that your hand has to go around the entire phone, so it just doesn't feel like a real guitar and some chords are quite difficult to get to with the increased size.
As to your second and third points, I completely agree. The app could always automate the other part, whether you are shaping the chords and the app is doing the strumming, or you are practising the strumming and the app plays the correct chords. An accurate 3D touch feature would definitely add to the value of the program.
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Guitar-neck-imitating attachment for your smartphone

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola Dec 16, 2021
With the app you mentioned, I suggest creating a smartphone accessory that imitates the guitar neck and body (Figure 1). It would attach in a similar way to the "selfie stick" and solve the below-mentioned problems:
  • practice strumming patterns - you would be able to put your finger on the phone screen in the form of a chord, while simultaneously playing the strumming pattern of your choice; the attachment could have a small screen representing wires or have the actual wires for the real feel
  • practice using both arms at the same time, like on a real guitar
  • makes the handling of the smartphone easier, because while your left arm fingers are busy forming chords, you can hold the phone by holding the guitar neck attachment
The gadget could be created in a cheap, nonprecise, and bad-sounding version as well as in an expensive, professional, guitar-like version that could easily substitute guitar on random parties.
Figure 1. Smartphone picture taken from https://www.frettrainer.com/.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
I also thought about this. The large phone width is not really the main problem, the main one is how to handle it while you are pressing the chords. If the phone was attached to a stick that would somehow be fastened at the other end, you could place your hand around the phone quite comfortably.
The down-facing side of the phone's screen would be touched most of the time so the fretboard on the screen would be displayed there while leaving the up-facing side blank. The oval shape of the back of the guitar neck is also what makes playing the guitar way easier than "playing" your phone. You can rest your thumb comfortably on it and this makes it easier to apply pressure with four remaining fingers.
However, another main issue with the phone's screen vs guitar's fretboard is that the phone's screen is slippery and therefore it would be hard to keep your fingers in the right positions. Also, a phone's screen can only fit the first few frets of a guitar's neck on it, so unless there's a way to comfortably and swiftly change the image on the screen towards higher frets (by pressing some button with your right hand, for example), you would only have limited possibilities for playing.
The bottom line is that with some work a system could be developed to turn your phone into a proper "digital guitar", but it's not clear if this would be worth it, maybe it's just way better to buy a normal guitar (even if a cheap one at first) instead. However, one benefit of a phone turned into a digital guitar would be that you could add effects and modify the sound directly through the app.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Povilas S I agree that the oval shape of the back of a guitar neck helps.
I don't see how having a phone on a stick would make any difference in whether or not your hand would fit around the phone itself, maybe I misunderstood that part.
I also don't believe the smoothness of the screen will have any real effect on whether you are able to hold chord shapes.
Chord shapes stay the same, no matter what fret they are played, so you don't need to recreate the entire neck for a "Chord training app". If you wanted to play a virtual guitar on your phone this might be different, but for a training app, realistically, you only need to simulate 3 to 4 frets.
I think you misunderstand the purpose of the idea, which is to practise and get to know the different chords / practise rhythm. This is not meant to replace a guitar in any way.
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J. Nikola
J. Nikola5 months ago
The problems which Povilas mentioned are real. The oval shape of the guitar neck, the smoothness of the screen are problems to which you could adapt, but the number of frets is a challenging problem to solve. Guitar-neck-imitating attachment could have a sliding attachment for the phone, to ensure you can easily move and change frets. But, if we take into consideration the initial purpose of the app as Spook mentioned, it's not something that is needed to be solved before launching the "chord training" app. It can be solved later by gadgets and updates of the design.
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Creating hardware to accompany the app

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Dec 16, 2021
One solution to the problem of the average size of a phone in relation to the average size of a guitar neck would be to introduce separate hardware that is compatible with the app. The hardware would pretty much look like a section of a guitar neck. This could have sensors that send information to the app which would illustrate where your fingers are and where they should be. The same could be done for the right hand.
The issue I have with this is as soon as you have to start carrying things around with you the app loses its appeal, it would be better to just carry a normal guitar with you.
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General comments

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola5 months ago
Check the app called Real Guitar app. I didn't check it in-depth, but it seems to resemble your idea.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw5 months ago
Juranium I've seen this one. Just like most of these apps, it's pretty much just pictures of the chords, the app doesn't have the ability to sense if your fingers are in the correct locations or not. It simply illustrates where your fingers should be to form a chord, which is nice, but I would like the app to have the ability to track your finger placement and determine whether you are playing a chord correctly or not
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