Does Anyone Use a Tablet for Lyrics on Stage? Please Advise!

Happy Enchilada

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After checking out the local music scene and a good deal of introspection, I have decided to set the Wayback Machine for 1978 and get an acoustic duo act together to introduce a new generation to the joys of John Prine, Steve Goodman, early Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt ... like the acts I was part of in my halcyon college days.

So I got busy gathering up 40 years of lyric charts to put into a binder, when suddenly it occurred to me that I have almost all of these in Word files ... So it would probably be a good idea to load them onto a tablet and carry that instead of schlepping around a big 3-ring, right? Old dog, new tricks, etc. However, I need to be able to read with my olde eyes, and to view an entire page at a time. So I'm asking you fellas:

Does anyone use a tablet for lyrics and charts on stage?
What make and model?
How much does a good one cost?
What software do you recommend?

Or ... Would I be better off with old-timey paper charts that are large enough to read with my aging eyesight?

Your advice and war stories are very welcome. Enlighten me!
 

cminor7b5

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I think there are apps available on the playstore that will organize and display lyrics. It's great to learn the lyrics but sometimes you have a brain fart or somebody wants to close the set with their favourite song and you're not completely familiar with the chorus (and you've got to play it because it's their anniversary and the guy just dropped a $100 in the tip jar).
 

WireLine

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Lyrics, some…charts, some. iPads seem to have a wider selection of apps for these things. I use SongSheet Pro, but they all get it done.

It may be wise to get the smallest one you can get by with…depending on gig I’ll bring an iPad Mini or iPad Air2.

I work regularly with 3 bands, as a sub for half a dozen others, often called the afternoon of the gig. 300 tunes is a bit much to keep straight.
 

KidRob

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You can get a tablet holder for a mic stand that will hold any size tablet or smartphone and it doesn't obscure the audience line of sight.
Just remember, it IS always better to try to remember the lyrics, and its been my experience that the more I sing the song, the more its committed to memory and a tablet helps in that process to the point I don't need it anymore.
 

beatnik

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In one group that I am in we have 180 odd tunes in our book. We shuffle things in and out each week but we don’t hit every song in a 2 month period. We each use an iPad with the app, Onsong, to provide reminders about the tunes that are not frequent flyers for us. We also use the iPad to run our in-ear mixes.

It is cool to play a tune that collectively we have never played but someone has heard enough to play and jump off and play it with the hints from the tablet.

Out of the 60 songs or so each night we play, I think there are 2 that we read down a chart b/c there are so many odd changes.

iPad and Onsong.

The good about Onsong; you can beam charts to others, create setlists, change keys, change formatting (font size and color)

The bad; sometimes formatting gets wonky (you have to know the tunes), it’s expensive.

Good luck and have fun.
 

Chiogtr4x

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Neither. Learn the lyrics.

Thank you!

I will use a an old school binder on a stand when learning a new song (or a special request for a gig)
Then when learned, it's,gone...

But I played 10 years backing a Country singer that thumbed thru his ****ing song binder ( like a Preacher/ Sermon) on every song, every gig! I hated it.
I used to ask him
" -----, you've been singing these songs forever, can't you lose the book?!" No luck!

It's one thing if you are filling in ( need chord songs or cheat sheets) at a gig- but please don't make Pads/books a permanent fixture
 

uriah1

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Get a floor monitor tele prompter like I have seen some of the big boys use lol.
Our singer in our band has one that rolls forward based on tempo etc.
It is just attached clipped to mic stand...in acoustic act
 

johnnylaw

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I would not bring a book or computer on stage. Your presentation suffers when the audience becomes separated from the performer by that sort of prop.
On the other hand, on the GB, wedding band, or novelty “we take requests” circuit, anything goes.
I suppose that if you are comfortable and enjoying yourself, the audience feels that too. More music is better than less in my world, so go for it!
 

Peegoo

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iPad Pro with the OnSong app, along with an AirTurn Bluetooth foot pedal to scroll the chart or flip pages as you play. This sort of rig is especially good when you take requests, because OnSong syncs to Dropbox and you can have hunnerdz or thousands of charts right at your fingertips.

Musicians have been using music stands for years. I always get a chuckle when some players imply having a music stand onstage is a rookie move because guys Epic Clapton never had a music stand onstage with him. Please straighten out all those orchestras while you're at it, wudja?
 

DanglingNutslots

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I do. I use an iPad Pro 12.9" attached to my mic stand. We use a shared folder in Google Drive and all songsheets are stored in PDF format in the setlist order. Simple and effective. I rarely refer to it but it's a nice backup in case I can't remember something (our songsheets have the chords too).
 

nojazzhere

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After checking out the local music scene and a good deal of introspection, I have decided to set the Wayback Machine for 1978 and get an acoustic duo act together to introduce a new generation to the joys of John Prine, Steve Goodman, early Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt ... like the acts I was part of in my halcyon college days.

So I got busy gathering up 40 years of lyric charts to put into a binder, when suddenly it occurred to me that I have almost all of these in Word files ... So it would probably be a good idea to load them onto a tablet and carry that instead of schlepping around a big 3-ring, right? Old dog, new tricks, etc. However, I need to be able to read with my olde eyes, and to view an entire page at a time. So I'm asking you fellas:

Does anyone use a tablet for lyrics and charts on stage?
What make and model?
How much does a good one cost?
What software do you recommend?

Or ... Would I be better off with old-timey paper charts that are large enough to read with my aging eyesight?

Your advice and war stories are very welcome. Enlighten me!
This subject comes up here periodically, and usually becomes a "War Between The States" with the for and against factions. For some reason, I can learn new MUSIC as easy as I ever did......play through six or eight times, and I've got the chord changes and signature licks.......but lyrics just don't come easily anymore. I had to decide (and these were my ONLY options) if it was better (or worse) to flub the words, or have a small, discrete music stand onstage? I opt for the stand. I have to have a set list anyway, and the stand I made mounts on an old-style mic stand, and is very unobtrusive. I feel I owe my audience (and the composer of a song) to get the words right. As I've said before, if the WORST thing someone can say about my performance is I had a small music stand, I consider the gig successful.
Here's a picture.....hard to tell scale, but it's about 9"X15".
1651588795239.jpeg
 

Cyberi4n

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It’s your gig, so do what you feel comfortable with. Some of the biggest bands in the world use teleprompts and the like, I’ve even seen REM where Stipe used a stand and some printed A4. At no point have I ever felt cheated because of that.

As an audience member, I’d rather you delivered your songs confidently with the use of aids, rather than stumbled through them because you’d forgotten the words.

Your gig, your choice. Do what makes you happy, and enjoy yourself.

Tablets can be an excellent aid and feature automatic scrolling. Always useful. Depending on where you play though the reflective screens aren’t always great especially in the sun or under certain stage lights. So I guess what im saying is don’t rely on a tablet as you may find yourself stuck sometimes
 

NickDG

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I only play around family and friends and I use SongBook with a foot pedal to control scroll speed and flip pages on an iPhone. SongBook will also download chord & lyric sheets directly from the internet which is handy for song requests on the fly. One thing I do is practice not staring at my phone with that thousand yard stare. And you do it the same way a good orator gives a speech. Read a few lines (chords and lyrics) ahead of where you are in the song and look up and engage the audience until you need to take another peek. And like anything else it takes practice to do well.

I wish I didn't need the crutch at all but I do. And I suppose I could put together and learn a 10 song set by heart, but that's a lot of work (with no pay) on something I'd soon forget unless those same ten songs are all I ever played day in and day out. I've been considering a larger floor mounted monitor because at 67 my eyes are getting bad and I do lose my place from time to time with the iPhone but those stage systems are very spendy.

Besides, with my old eyes I probably really need a 'Big Screen TV' like Aerosmith used. What I'd really like is a pair of eye glasses with a heads up display built it. Somebody get busy on that, please.


jfghgfhgfhhfghfg.jpg
 

Cyberi4n

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For the record I’ve never sung on-stage, and never needed nor used such a prompting device for my playing - have only ever relied on knowing the songs, practice and muscle memory. I’d always have the familiar “oh c**p I can’t remember that riff” feeling JUST before going on stage, but never actually did forget. I’m currently in the process of setting up a southern rock band where it looks like I may have to sing for the first time (at 49 lol) so I think I may well start having at the very least a stand, for the early days of gigging
 

schmee

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After checking out the local music scene and a good deal of introspection, I have decided to set the Wayback Machine for 1978 and get an acoustic duo act together to introduce a new generation to the joys of John Prine, Steve Goodman, early Neil Young and Bonnie Raitt ... like the acts I was part of in my halcyon college days.

So I got busy gathering up 40 years of lyric charts to put into a binder, when suddenly it occurred to me that I have almost all of these in Word files ... So it would probably be a good idea to load them onto a tablet and carry that instead of schlepping around a big 3-ring, right? Old dog, new tricks, etc. However, I need to be able to read with my olde eyes, and to view an entire page at a time. So I'm asking you fellas:

Does anyone use a tablet for lyrics and charts on stage?
What make and model?
How much does a good one cost?
What software do you recommend?

Or ... Would I be better off with old-timey paper charts that are large enough to read with my aging eyesight?

Your advice and war stories are very welcome. Enlighten me!
Yeah, the binder's an issue.
I started to change over and got 15 or so on my Galaxy pad. All of mine are in Word. The problem is that I couldn't resize to the screen (so no scrolling needed) unless I converted each one to PDF.
I got a good start on the pad and then the world changed a couple years ago and all gigs were cancelled.

Trying to remember details, but here is my take on it:
I would probably try to get one of those thin notepad 'computers' (Surface Go, Ipad, IdeaPad etc) that the keyboard separates (or fold back all the way so it's flat like a pad.)... and is bigger than most pads. Be sure it's one with a touch screen and that you can rotate to portrait orientation and that can do Office.
I intended to have a song list in Excel and use Autolink to get to a sheet. That way you just touch the song name in the Excel list and Autolink takes you to the song sheet.

You'll get a lot of flack here on TDPRI, but even the stars use the pads or the video songsheet on the floor that looks like a stage monitor. Sure I know my top 50 songs, but I also have maybe 150-200 others that may not have been played recently.
Jon Scofield and....:
 
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Happy Enchilada

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Wow, thanks for all the great ideas!
Of course, there will be some tunes that I know every word of the lyrics.
But the audience isn't paying to watch me fumfur words to a song they may know.
If this was a straight-up "jam" and all I was doing was playing my guitar, then no need. But ...
At my age, I really don't give a flying copulation about being a rock star and gyrating all over the place.
So sitting down and seranading the good patrons to polite applause is all I'm dreaming of.
Besides, these days half the audience will be heads-down in their "smart" phones anyway.
Keep 'em comin'!
 
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