Back in June we posted about a clever iOS app called Banjo Rolls Trainer, offered for $1.99 in the Apple App Store. It was developed by Czech banjo player Jiri Marlalous to give banjo students and players something a bit more interesting than a metronome to practice with.
Now Jiri tells us that, in response to many requests from banjo playing Mac users, he has created a version for OSX. Banjo Rolls Trainer for Mac has the same functionality of the iOS version, with some valuable additional features.
Like its little brother, the screen displays your choice of rolls in tablature. When you click the start button, you will hear the roll at your selected speed, with each note in the tab highlighted at the moment it should be struck. Highlights can be turned off if desired, and you may choose between a larger font size and a colored highlight. Each roll is played back with a banjo, bass, guitar and metronome click, and the volume of each of the four can be adjusted or turned off.
A big bonus in the Mac version is the ability to create and save your own rolls, using a simple, visual interface. You can see how it all works in this video tutorial.
There is also a speed-up feature, where the metronome setting will increase after a preset number of repetitions, at a user-determined rate. 14 choices are available for the chord of the playback, including a number that run through G, C and D chords.
It would be useful if the app could create rolls longer than a single measure, and include quarter notes. Perhaps that will be included in a future update.
All in all, this is a very effective roll trainer, just as the name implies.
More details and downloads are available in the App Store. Windows users are out of luck.