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Bass Sight: A Look at the Notation and Fretboard Training App for iOS

Bass Sight Reading TrainerBass Sight is a nice addition to the handful of apps that already exist to help those who wish to learn how to read music notation and/or better know their fretboard.

Combining both training for reading notation and learning the fretboard, the app offers up a layout which is simple and to the point. The app presents a fretboard diagram combined with either the names of all 12 notes or bass clef staff notation, depending on the setting choice and what you’re focusing on learning.

There are quite a few ways to determine how the app will function but, essentially, you can either practice hitting and finding notes, or test your skills with the app quizzing you along the way.

Bass Sight Reading Trainer example screenThe app has four modes of use. Touch a button for any note in the chromatic scale, and you’ll see it presented on the staff or fretbaord. You can also touch any spot on the fretboard and see it in the staff along with the note name, hide the note names and staff and simply play the fretboard (the note played is displayed after “playing” the note on the fretboard), or most any variation of those.

The app really comes through with the variety of basses it offers, including:

  1. 4-,5- or 6-string bass
  2. 4-string drop D
  3. 4-string tunes a half step down (Eb)
  4. 4-string tunes a full step down (D)
  5. 4-string tuned in 5ths
  6. 5-string tenor bass (E-C)

You can additionally change to the Latin system (Fixed “Do” solfege instead of notes C-B), as well as change the fretboard for left handed players.

The app is solid and very straight forward. Initially, I found myself wishing for more bells and whistles, but I came to appreciate the lack of distraction. I’m not even sure what those bells and whistles would have been as the app does exactly what it set out to do. I’m going to recommend it to my students, to be sure. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’d like to further your abilities on the page or with your fretboard comfort level.

Bass Sight is available from the App Store for $2.99. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 3.0 or later.