I wanted to bring to your attention today a great app that can completely change the way you practice.
Transcribe+ (App Store) lets you isolate the instrument tracks from your favorite songs – so you can for example “sit in” with your favorite bands while the guitar is “eliminated”, and you are the one playing it instead.
More precisely – what it lets you do is separate the audio into 4 tracks – drums, bass, vocals, and instrumental (guitar, piano, etc.), and then control the volumes and play/mute only the instruments that you want to jam with.
Here's for example how it sounds like if you isolate just the legendary drums of Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis: (pick up your guitar and see how fun it is to jam along with the chords)
Potential uses of this feature:
This has many uses for many different musicians since you can “mute” any member of the band that you want to “replace” – and then join the band yourself.
- If you're a drummer, you can take a favorite song of yours and “mute” the drums.
- bassists can create “bassless” tracks.
- We as guitarists can also do the same – as you can hear in the Oasis video I'm linking to in the paragraph below.
- Singers can mute the singing part and have a perfect karaoke track – unlike the generic ones that you can find on YT (where it's sometimes played by a computer midi band), so in this case, you can play with the original band.
I used this feature when I was making this video, (“Learn Oasis' 6 Best Acoustic Songs In 9 Minutes“) and it allowed me to “play the guitar” on all of those Oasis songs instead of the acoustic guitar that was already there.
So even if you thought, like me, that playing with a good drum beats app is a great way to practice (and it often is) – there's nothing better than playing with the real drummers of your favorite songs.
The advantages of Transcribe+
- As I've already mentioned, the option to isolate tracks is a game changer for practice sessions, and that's what I see as the biggest benefit of the app.
- The user interface is very simple and intuitive, and there's a quick on-screen tutorial that will teach you everything you need as soon as you fire up the app for the first time.
- As its name suggests, Transcribe+ is originally an app to help you slow down and transcribe difficult song parts, so it also doubles as an app that can help you learn songs. That comes as a very convenient option, since you are likely already gonna be using the app when you're practicing and trying to learn new songs, so having the option to slow them down is getting two birds with one stone.
The disadvantages of the app
- The app is only available for Apple devices. (both iPhone and iPad)
- Transcribe+ only works with Apple Music, so unless you have an Apple Music subscription you would need to manually download the songs you want to work with into the app. (And the feature to split the song into 4 different tracks is only usable for songs that you've downloaded to your app or that you bought off of iTunes)
You can download the app and use the slowing down feature for free (up to one minute), but if you also want to get the tracks isolation feature you would need to get the paid version, which costs 15$. However, it has no rival on the market and it performs this incredibly complex task of track isolation with a very intutive interface, so if you think you might enjoy practicing like that (and you're an Apple Music user) – I think it's 100% worth it.
The bottom line – if you want a way to seriously refresh your practice routine and actually start learning to feel how it is to play with a band – give it a try. Not every day you get to feel like you're playing with a drummer, bassist and vocalist that are as good as the professional musicians who play in your favorite bands.
I hope that's helpful to you, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.