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

DanglingNutslots

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Posts
247
Location
Canada
At 65 years old, I been singing in the bars for over 45 years. I've learned and forgotten hundreds of songs.

My memory ain't what it once was, but I've earned the right to use a dammed tablet if I want to.

I'm still, constantly learning new songs. It's what keeps me going.
Yea I learn the words, but having that tablet there to give me the 1st line of a verse, be sure I get the arrangement right, it's ok.
I don't stare at the darned thing, I do learn the words, but at 65, sometimes I need a little help. I need to look the crowd right in the eyes as I'm singing. It's important to me. When I see singers literally reading the words off their tablets, it takes away so much from their performance.
I will not be that guy, but I do use the tablet.

You guys that shout Learn The Dammed Words... come back when you're 65 and still giging the bars regular, let us know how it's going.

These pics are very typical, that tablet is there, reinforcement, my security blanket, but my eyes are up and I'm singing to the crowd.

View attachment 980064 View attachment 980065 View attachment 980070

And, I use a capo sometimes too.
You’re having fun, I bet the audience is having fun too. We do gigs with tablets, no one cares. Like you, we don’t stare at it. It’s a nice emergency backup :)
 

brookdalebill

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2009
Posts
119,612
Age
65
Location
Austin, Tx
As for lyrics, I just put down the first line of each verse. That's all you need. It's a cue card. Every song fits on 1 page, no need to scroll.

Back in the dark ages, when I started gigging, my friend/lead singer Larry did a similar thing.
When he learned a new song, he would tape a card to the side of his guitar with the first and last words of each verse.
He didn’t have trouble with choruses, for some reason.
Perhaps because they repeat.
Anyways, it worked for him.
All I have to do is sing or play a tune a couple of times, and it’s mine (so far).
Hope my luck holds a while longer!
 
Last edited:

OlRedNeckHippy

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Posts
5,014
Age
66
Location
South Jersey (Atco)
...but it really slowed down our performances...lots of dead-air time as he was searching thru for music and lyrics. .....
We find pre-configured set lists are the way to go for us. Special requests mess that up, but we handle it.

I use a set list app (Orpheus), set up prior to every gig. Before one song ends, I've already got the next song's sheet up on my tablet.
No dead air, no searching for songs. That is simply poor planning / lack of effort.


Back in the dark ages, when I started gigging my friend/lead singer Larry did a similar thing.
When he learned a new song, he would tape a card to the side of his guitar with the first and last words of each verse.
He didn’t have trouble with choruses, for some reason.
Perhaps because they repeat.
Anyways, it worked for him.
All I have to do is sing or play a tune a couple of times, and it’s mine (so far).
Hope my luck holds a while longer!
I had the first word of each verse for The Dead's Trucking on a 3x5 taped to the top of my acoustic back in '78! I knew all the words all right, it was spitting them out in the right order that I found impossible. It was the only song that did that to me. It's not a story that has a beginning and a end, it's just a bunch of random statements!
 
Last edited:

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,255
Location
God's Country
A few years ago I was invited to play out at a jamboree, far out. There were three acts with female singers ahead of me and each one sang Stand By Your Man, plus the usual assortment of ice pick in the ear. I played Little Runaway, B-Movie Boxcar Blues, Runaway Around Sue and Summertime Blues. I was not invited back.
I would have much preferred your presentation to the gals'. Pity they didn't invite you back - but with today's gas prices, it probably wouldn't have been profitable.
 

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
3,255
Location
God's Country
At 65 years old, I been singing in the bars for over 45 years. I've learned and forgotten hundreds of songs.

My memory ain't what it once was, but I've earned the right to use a dammed tablet if I want to.

I'm still, constantly learning new songs. It's what keeps me going.
Yea I learn the words, but having that tablet there to give me the 1st line of a verse, be sure I get the arrangement right, it's ok.
I don't stare at the darned thing, I do learn the words, but at 65, sometimes I need a little help. I need to look the crowd right in the eyes as I'm singing. It's important to me. When I see singers literally reading the words off their tablets, it takes away so much from their performance.
I will not be that guy, but I do use the tablet.

You guys that shout Learn The Dammed Words... come back when you're 65 and still giging the bars regular, let us know how it's going.

These pics are very typical, that tablet is there, reinforcement, my security blanket, but my eyes are up and I'm singing to the crowd.

View attachment 980064 View attachment 980065 View attachment 980070

And, I use a capo sometimes too.
Right on! And nice guitars!
 

telemaster03

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 1, 2008
Posts
635
Age
60
Location
Wichita, KS
I've used iPads onstage for lyrics and lead sheets for worship material but I've tried my best to NOT use either the past couple years. I found that I relied on them too much and was losing the ability to memorize lyrics, or maybe it was just that not having a device or sheet in front of me lowered my confidence on lyrics that I knew but felt more comfortable with them in front of me. If we pick up a new song I work hard to learn the lyrics and even then the tune can be a little shaky until we do it a few times.

These days we mostly do the same songs that I've done for years so it's not a problem. Occasionally we get request for a song that I haven't done in a while or that I'm familiar with but don't know all the words, in that case I'll look up the lyrics on my phone and write the first few words of the verses on my paper setlist as a prompt. Works well for me.
 

Red Ryder

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Posts
1,405
Age
67
Location
Sulphur Springs Tx.
I would have much preferred your presentation to the gals'. Pity they didn't invite you back - but with today's gas prices, it probably wouldn't have been profitable.
Thanks. The guy that was running the entertainment advised me that my music was disrespectful and inappropriate for the older crowd. I was 64 at the time, I thought I was the older crowd.
 

PhoenixBill

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jan 12, 2021
Posts
524
Age
62
Location
Phoenix
There’s a video of Pat Benatar recently doing a NPR Tiny Desk concert. She’s getting ready to sing “Promises in the Dark”…and her mind goes blank. She can’t remember the opening line. She asks the audience…nobody knows (really sad, I’m screaming at the screen—“never again, isn’t that what you said?”) and finally somebody googles it. Bizarre. By the way, she wrote that song, and has Sung it a few thousand times over the last 40 years…
 

Red Ryder

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jun 8, 2021
Posts
1,405
Age
67
Location
Sulphur Springs Tx.
We find pre-configured set lists are the way to go for us. Special requests mess that up, but we handle it.

I use a set list app (Orpheus), set up prior to every gig. Before one song ends, I've already got the next song's sheet up on my tablet.
No dead air, no searching for songs. That is simply poor planning / lack of effort.



I had the first word of each verse for The Dead's Trucking on a 3x5 taped to the top of my acoustic back in '78! I knew all the words all right, it was spitting them out in the right order that I found impossible. It was the only song that did that to me. It's not a story that has a beginning and a end, it's just a bunch of random statements!
Took me constantly going over Dylan's "It’s Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)". Was able to use it at four shows with good results. To do it again would take a lot of practice.
 

Beachbum

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Posts
5,184
Location
Sand Land
I've suddenly got this picture in my mind of John Prine playing Austin City Limits with a tablet. Yuk. Even he was known to blow it once in awhile and that's OK no one is perfect. He did it here right out of the gate.

 
Last edited:

39martind18

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Posts
3,718
Age
71
Location
Spring TX
At 65 years old, I been singing in the bars for over 45 years. I've learned and forgotten hundreds of songs.

My memory ain't what it once was, but I've earned the right to use a dammed tablet if I want to.

I'm still, constantly learning new songs. It's what keeps me going.
Yea I learn the words, but having that tablet there to give me the 1st line of a verse, be sure I get the arrangement right, it's ok.
I don't stare at the darned thing, I do learn the words, but at 65, sometimes I need a little help. I need to look the crowd right in the eyes as I'm singing. It's important to me. When I see singers literally reading the words off their tablets, it takes away so much from their performance.
I will not be that guy, but I do use the tablet.

You guys that shout Learn The Dammed Words... come back when you're 65 and still giging the bars regular, let us know how it's going.

These pics are very typical, that tablet is there, reinforcement, my security blanket, but my eyes are up and I'm singing to the crowd.

View attachment 980064 View attachment 980065 View attachment 980070

And, I use a capo sometimes too.
you use a capo?! Horrors!
 

Telecastoff1

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Apr 28, 2009
Posts
1,817
Location
Mistake Lake
"We find pre-configured set lists are the way to go for us. Special requests mess that up, but we handle it.

I use a set list app (Orpheus), set up prior to every gig. Before one song ends, I've already got the next song's sheet up on my tablet.
No dead air, no searching for songs. That is simply poor planning / lack of effort."


I'm glad that it's working out for you. We don't work off a set-list, but really watch the crowd and play off them....usually thinking of two-three songs ahead of what we're doing. Yup, special requests come into play alot and we're always ready for that. It's really part of the fun and energy, working with the crowd and dancers. They're having as much fun as we are and it shows. It's fun seeing so many of them following the lyrics on their cell phones.....who needs a Pad onstage(?), when reading lips gets the job done?!
 

OlRedNeckHippy

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Posts
5,014
Age
66
Location
South Jersey (Atco)
.... We don't work off a set-list, but really watch the crowd and play off them....usually thinking of two-three songs ahead of what we're doing. ....
I've always been a little jealous of bands that could go without a set list, calling the tune on the fly. Me, I end up going "Um...what song do you want to do? Um..."

Getting the other band members set for the next song on the fly like that has been tough when I do change it up from the set list. Crowd noise, yelling song names at the guys, making sure they are all ready, just adds confusion. I like set lists.
 

Junkyard Dog

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Mar 7, 2016
Posts
2,652
Age
48
Location
USA
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?
Yes, I have been doing this since 2010 when the first iPad came out...still using the same one!

I maintain my master list of songs in Powerpoint...about 300 songs. Each slide is one song. Some have lyrics, some have chord changes, hooks, performance notes, annotations, arrows, circles, etc...just depends on the song. I use a black background and white text.

When a gig comes around I make a copy of the master list and rename it 'Set list - July 4, 2015.pptx'. Then I reorder the slides as appropriate for the gig. I save it. Then I save it again, this time as a pdf. I email the pdf to myself. This is all done on a computer up to this point.

Then I fire up the ipad, open the email I just sent, and download the attached pdf in iBooks (free ereader that came installed on the iPad). Do this part at home in case there is no WiFi at the gig.

At the gig, I access the songs sheets as needed using iBooks on the iPad. I flip through them in order, but if a song request comes up I can search all 300 by keywords like "Mustang" or "Sally" and go right to that result.

I have a separate stand for the iPad...basically a mic stand without a gooseneck or boom attached. I can easily move it to the side when not using it (e.g. don't need it for Folsom Prison Blues). I prefer to not have the iPad attached to the same stand as my microphone.
 

39martind18

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Posts
3,718
Age
71
Location
Spring TX
I've always been a little jealous of bands that could go without a set list, calling the tune on the fly. Me, I end up going "Um...what song do you want to do? Um..."

Getting the other band members set for the next song on the fly like that has been tough when I do change it up from the set list. Crowd noise, yelling song names at the guys, making sure they are all ready, just adds confusion. I like set lists.
But,but.... you use a capo! Good on ya!
 

Burlington Dave

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Posts
2,588
Location
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
If you NEED to read the lyrics, or chord changes, use a device.
I have never seen anyone using said device that performed smoothly.
They still falter.
The songs don’t flow, the phrasing is stilted.
It screams “I don’t know what I’m doing, and I’m not ready to perform”, IMO.
It’s amateurish and unprofessional.
Hilarious that virtually EVERY major act uses a promoter disguised as a monitor! An iPad on a small stand in front of your pedal board, with a Bluetooth scrolling pedal is hardly noticeable, and with some practice it can be used without the audience being aware that you’re reading the occasional chord change or lyric. When used effectively it doesn’t look any different t than using a pedal. Just don’t rely on it for every line!
 

DanglingNutslots

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Posts
247
Location
Canada
Hilarious that virtually EVERY major act uses a promoter disguised as a monitor! An iPad on a small stand in front of your pedal board, with a Bluetooth scrolling pedal is hardly noticeable, and with some practice it can be used without the audience being aware that you’re reading the occasional chord change or lyric. When used effectively it doesn’t look any different t than using a pedal. Just don’t rely on it for every line!
Did you mean prompter? Or is the band's marketing guy hiding inside a cabinet and holding up sheets? That would be cool actually.
 

John O

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
241
Location
Delaware
i remember memorizing the lyrics to "truckin" back in '84. it was really about learning the story associated with the lyrics.
alas, the brain is not as good now. dead tunes, like "eyes of the world", have some tough lyrics, ipad comes in handy for them. I use the Gig Hard app. has auto scroll, can set the rate. no footswitch.
dylan tunes, forget it, gotta have the ipad prompter.
 




Top