App recommendations- Fender Tune

The best FREE guitar tuner app out there!

Ok, I’m running out of experiences to blog about and its only week 2 of 2023! Oh no! I was thinking, does the Internet need a Part 5 to my Fender Play series? No, I don’t think the world needs another instalment. And the only show we finished recently was ‘Down to Earth with Zac Effron’, but after reading some reviews which stated that what was presented was Pseudoscience and misleading, I decided to pull the pin on that glowing recommendation….. So, what else had I been geeking out on during my 6 weeklong end of year break which is share worthy? And the only thing which came to mind was being able to tune my guitar on my own for the very first time!

Ok, if you read that last statement in isolation and don’t know me, you must be thinking ‘What the!’ As being able to tune a guitar is pretty simple- as there’s free apps out there, there’s clip on guitar tuners, and many homes have an in-tune piano if you want to go old-school. But for me, a blind person, this simple task has its added challenges. To date, the vast majority of tuning apps are not blind accessible, they either don’t work with phone screen readers so you simply cannot independently work/navigate  the app. Or the feedback to let you know if you’re sharp or flat is a visual depiction so that’s not going to help me at all. And all standard clip-on guitar tuners provide you with visual cues in which direction you’re meant to turn your tuning pegs, so again I’m unable to independently use those devices. And the piano method… it’s doable but you almost need 3 hands to pull it off! I.e. a hand to play the piano note, a hand to pluck the corresponding guitar string, and then another hand to turn the peg- so where I’m currently at in my primate evolution……  That all seems too hard for me. *Clashes 2 stones together*. So to date, I’ve always had to find someone to help me tune my guitar, which makes me feel like a 4 year old child again.

But as I was going through my first Fender Play lesson, they mentioned the Fender Tune app when they were teaching you how to keep your instrument in tune. And I downloaded it, without holding much hope that it was going to be blind accessible. But low and behold, it is!!!!

So, the home screen on the Fender Tune app is already the Tuner, you have three options (Automatic, Manual, or Pro), the automatic tuner is what most people would be familiar with, visual cues to inform you if you’re sharp or flat, and a satisfying tone sounds when your string is in tune! But the difference is that it’s compatible with Apple Voiceover! Yay! So, it instructs you to pluck a string, which you do. Allow it to ring out, and after a few seconds touch the screen and it would verbalise if you’re sharp or flat, and advises to tune up or down. This description of how it works sounds like most other tuning apps, but for the first time I could actually tune my guitar independently!

I was telling my wife the other day, I honestly get more satisfaction from being able to tune my guitar and hearing those ‘in-tune’ chimes, than it is to master a guitar riff. As to date, nailing a riff has been much easier, than it has been to tune my guitar on my own.

And the Fender Tune app not only helps you tune, but the app contains song tutorials and chord and scale exercises (just like Fender Play- which is a subscription based app), it also has a metronome, and it also has a library of rhythms which you can jam to, drum beats which are based on different musical styles. It’s really quite good! All of these extra functions used to be a part of the Pro Tuner option, which was subscription based.  But Fender has now made all the Pro options available to their users on the free version!

So, if you want to consolidate your existing tuner and metronome app on your phone into one app, meanwhile getting your hands on some pretty cool additional free functionality (which really ought to be behind a pay wall), check-out the Fender Tune app HERE! Never sound sh*t ever again!   

App recommendation- TuneIn

I was devastated one evening when Google no-longer obeyed my command of “Ok Google, Play NFL radio”. Instead it would reply, saying that it was playing some random radio station (a series of numbers and nonsensical words), and then nothing! Absolutely nothing! I thought Google would eventually snap out of it – nup, like a disobedient child, Google kept repeating the same unwanted action! Noo! Bad Google! I tried turning the device on and off (that’s Tech-support 101), but still nothing! Noo! I tried rebooting Google home via the app after reading the Google Home help forums – to no success (At the risk of wiping-out all of my other Home settings). And I even went into the back-end of the app and found my voice recordings of me asking for ‘NFL radio on TuneIn’ and linked the voice command to the URL of the NFL channel on TuneIn (I really thought it would work this time), but still the error remained!!!! I was utterly defeated then. *Sad look*.

So I ultimately resorted in just downloading the TuneIn app to my phone, as much as I hate adding more apps to my otherwise minimalist home screen! And once the app downloaded, and I was able to search and find “NFL on TuneIn”, all was good, the equilibrium and routine to my life was restored! Or was it?

And inadvertently I’ve now enabled NFL radio where ever I go! Previously I was restricted to listening to NFL games in the lounge room, as that was where the Google Home is located. But now I can listen to the NFL channel (via Bluetooth speaker) in the bedroom, in the study, when having a shower, when on the go!….As it goes where you go (if your phone goes where you go).

And in addition to listening to the NFL, you can be recommended radio stations which are nearby (that’s not all that ground breaking, as it’s the same as your car/stereo’s radio), but it does introduce you to stations which you were previously unaware of – as when was the last time you surfed your AM & FM radio dials?

It also groups stations by Music, Sport or News, so you can find a station which interests you at that time. And most importantly, it gives you access to stations from around the world! This is great if you live in a ‘small market’ town or country.

And if you want a different platform to access podcasts, you have the option to listen to your favourite pods via the TuneIn app as well.

There are some downsides to the TuneIn app- as almost every second time you open the app you’re hit with a pop-up screen asking you to either rate the app on the Apple app store, or it’s pestering you if you want to upgrade to the paid version of TuneIn. Grrr!

And the app seems to use more battery power from your phone, compared to other streaming apps like Spotify or Audible. So much so, that after say half an hour of listening, my phone is always warm to the touch when I previously haven’t had this problem with those aforementioned apps.

And if you’re listening on the go, obviously the app is consuming your data reserves. So that is another downside of listening to the radio off your phone.

And in the end, listening to the radio off your phone isn’t revolutionary, as one of the earliest functions your old Nokia phone was able to perform (aside from phone calls and SMS) was the AM/FM radio function- so we’re talking about 2002 tech here. But what it does give you is access to international content, and an alternative when your Smart assistant refuses to do what it’s been commanded to do. *Headshake*.

The winners from this discovery is you, the listener! The biggest loser is Google Home; since discovering the TuneIn app, my usage of the Home is down 75%. And another unintended loser, has been my routines! I’ve been listening to less music, less podcasts and less audiobooks, as consuming NFL radio has now eaten into my previously regimented listening habits. D’oh! 

If you too want to discover what you can uncover on TuneIn, click HERE!