ThumbJam

Last modified
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Category

Description of App

 ThumbJam is a powerful musical performance experience. You get over 30 high-quality real instruments multi-sampled exclusively for this app. Hundreds of included scales allow you to effortlessly play in any style from rock to classical, whether you are a musical novice or a seasoned professional.

Jordan Rudess, the world-renowned keyboardist for Dream Theater says:

"ThumbJam stands at the very top of the overcrowded music app world. The sounds included absolutely rival those found in pro instruments and making music on the app is a total joy. The only problem I have with this app is that I did not make it myself! Luckily, I'm able to work with the developer and offer a few good feature ideas as well as some choice sounds from my personal collection!"

Two signature sounds from Jordan are featured in the application!

Even if you've only played air guitar, ThumbJam lets you sound like a pro. Pick an instrument and jam -- with all the scales to choose from you'll never hit a wrong note. The high quality instrument samples will make you sound like you just skipped years of music lessons.

For the performing musician, this app is awesome for soloing on an instrument you didn't bring along. Play in any key, any style -- go from a string ensemble to a wailing guitar. ThumbJam was developed and tested by musicians to feel and sound like a real instrument. You'll be surprised at how expressive it can be, make sure to check out the videos and audio at thumbjam.com.

ThumbJam makes use of tilt and shake to add vibrato, tremolo, note bends, and volume swells for more realistic and expressive results. It supports up to five (eleven on iPad) simultaneous touches and up to 24 voice polyphony. Delay and stereo reverb add depth to the sound, and a resonant lowpass filter gives you more tone shaping power. Put on your headphones or plug in to your home stereo to experience some of the highest quality instruments in the App Store.

Build your own loops from the ground up or import your favorites and jam from there. Layer as many loops as you want, with different instruments for each. Export your loops as audio files or Ardour DAW sessions via WiFi. Copy and paste audio from other apps using Sonoma Wire Works AudioCopy/Paste as well the general pasteboard used by BeatMaker, via email, or iTune Document Sharing.

Want to jam with your friends? ThumbJam lets you broadcast tempo, key, and scale to other nearby devices via Bluetooth so you can play together live. Even better, you can use it as a MIDI or OSC controller over WiFi, with any CoreMidi compatible device to control software instruments on your computer, or play ThumbJam with hardware MIDI controllers!

The app includes a huge variety of scales, from western to eastern. Save your favorites for quick access, or create your own in-app. You can even import new scales in the Scala format for complete flexibility.

You can also record your own samples using a built-in or attached microphone and play them instantly. Create your own presets with different settings, scales and keys based on the existing instruments. You can even import samples from other apps using audio copy and paste!

Included instruments:

  • Cello, Violin, Viola
  • Upright Bass (plucked and bowed)
  • Several drumkits
  • Darabukka
  • Djembe
  • Electric Guitar
  • Electric Bass
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tenor Sax
  • Flute
  • Low Whistle
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Hammered Dulcimer
  • Mandolin
  • Cittern
  • Grand Piano
  • Drawbar Organ (2 types)
  • Rhodes
  • Pipe Organ
  • Synth Strings
  • Synth Choir
  • Theremin
  • Sawtooth Waveform
  • Sine Waveform
  • Triangle Waveform
  • And from Jordan Rudess:
  • JR Zendrix
  • JR Smooth Steel

Many more for immediate free download in the app including several drumkits, Mellotron instruments, slap bass and more! New instruments posted regularly.

Version

2.0

Free or Paid

Paid

Apple Watch Support

Not Known

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPhone
iPod Touch

Accessibility Comments

It's pretty good. There are a couple of small issues here and their, but, overall, it is very easy to get the hang of this app.

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver, but the interface could be easier to navigate and use.

Developer's Twitter Username

@thumbjam

Recommendations

4 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Victor Tsaran 4 years ago

Options

Comments

Submitted by Joshua A. Miele on Friday, October 29, 2010

I downloaded this app and have been having a great time with it. The instruments and options are really impressive, and it is worth every bit of the $7. On the other hand, I want to put in a word of caution regarding its accessibility. While it is relatively easy to choose and play the instruments, and scale selection is also relatively straight forward, most of the advanced features are difficult or impossible to use effectively with VO. Even just to play the instruments you have to toggle VO off -- not a big deal, but novices might not know this... In order to adjust the instrument and scale settings you need to select the item in the top-left corner of the screen called "Sound," which doesn't let you know in any way that it is selectable. Once in there, the buttons for scale and instrument are well-marked, but many of the other functions don't do anything when you use VO to select them -- you need to tap-and-hold, or turn VO off completely, select the item, and then turn VO back on. In so doing, it is quite easy to get the app into states from which graceful escape is almost impossible. Many controls are not easy to find without using previous and next, which eliminates tap-and-hold as an access option. Over-all, I think only a relatively limited set of the extremely rich feature set of this app can be called accessible. If anybody else has figured out ways of using the advanced features (setting up split-screen instruments, loop control and recording, etc.) with VO, I would love to hear about it. The app is still really cool though...

I just purchased ThumbJam. I would like to know how to begin using ThumbJam for more than randomly generating notes by moving my fingers around the screen. What is the best way to hold the phone while playing? Are the instrument adjustments accessible? Pitch, key, Harmonies, etc? Is it possible to record loops with voice over and Thumb Jam? I would be glad to hear from other blind users who have created tunes using this app. The samples are really cool. I would like to know how to layer sounds so that I can create a track with guitar, piano, drums and flute. What is the best way to play a melodic line with the app? The screen seems very sensitive and adjusting the reaction time so that one can play single notes or cords would be good. Thanks for any input you all may have.

Submitted by Sean Terry on Friday, March 11, 2011

In reply to by Jack M

As of some in February 2011, Thumb Jam has been updated to 1.3.1. I wonder if it has been updated with better accessibility? I want to use this app. being that I am a musiciat myself.

Submitted by Joseph on Monday, April 30, 2012

The app is quite accessible for the most part, but it can get a little cluttered in the editing parts (recording samples, setting keys, etc).

This is a neet little music app that's pretty accessible with voice over. The price in the App store id $6.99, but it's well worth it in my humble opinion.

Submitted by Victor Tsaran on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An awesome update with two very important improvements: 1. Thumbjam now takes advantage of the "direct touch" feature of iOS5. You can now play instruments without having to turn VoiceOver off. Note, in my testing at least one restart of VoiceOver was required after the update in order for VO to notice the "play area" control. 2. The crash with VO on the iPad with iOS5 has been fixed. This app is so great that I can't wait to start playing with the new update!

Submitted by Devin Prater on Sunday, January 25, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

So I've used GarageBand before, but I wasn't able to play the instruments well at all. What do people use to do this better? I'm on an iPhone 6.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Sunday, January 25, 2015

I find Thumbjam much more playable then GarageBand. In fact, they have a steel guitar… And I can play at the way you would actually play a steel guitar and country music… Three notes at a time… Sliding from a C major chord up to an inverted C-major chord and then down to in a minor chord… With three fingers… And an iPhone, If that tells you anything.

Submitted by Bobcat on Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm afraid to try the new version as it looks like there are lots of changes to the interface from the description. Is there a way to roll back to earlier version if I don't like the update? I wrote to the developer to see if they tested it with voiceover. Cross fingers that it still works well with voiceover. Or should I cross my thumbs?

Submitted by The podcast junky on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I heard that the app has had major updates since this app entry was added. I was just wondering if this app is still accessible?

Submitted by Joseph on Thursday, March 2, 2017

it seem to work just fine with me, at least when I last used it it did.

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