The 14 best music creation apps for iPhone and Android: how to re-make history’s greatest music with your phone

5. Reverb

As heard in: Wicked Game, Chris Isaak

Reverb is in almost all music - sound engineers use it to make flat recording rooms sound more lifelike, and vocals without reverb tend to sound really weird - but obvious reverb can make songs sound bigger, more widescreen or just spookier. Rockabilly and surf guitar wouldn't work without it – and reverb-free dub doesn't bear thinking about.

Get the app: 

AmpliTube (iOS, £Free (in-app purchases))

usbEffects (Android, £1.99)

6. Wah

As heard in: Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Jimi Hendrix

The wah-wah pedal was created by accident: given the job of creating a new footswitch for a guitar amplifier, Brad J Plunkett stumbled across an interesting new effect - the "wah" that Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and thousands of other guitarists would use. But the wah wasn't just limited to guitars: it does great things to harmonicas, to brass instruments and to pianos too.

Get the app: 

AmpliTube (iOS, £Free (in-app purchases))

usbEffects (Android, £1.99)

More after the break...

7. Distortion

As heard in: Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones

Distortion is another happy accident: in 1951, Ike Turner's guitarist Willie Kizart played through an amplifier that had been damaged in transport, producing buzzy, fuzzy tones as a result. Early rock'n'roll musicians tried all kinds of things to get distorted tones, in some cases slashing their speakers with razors to get the required sound. The advent of distortion pedals in the 1960s saved countless amps from destruction, and the sound remains a staple of metal, garage rock and anything else that needs guitars to bite. You'll often hear it used on vocals too. 

Get the app: 

Ampkit+ (iOS, £13.99)

usbEffects (Android, £1.99)

8. Overdrive

As heard in: Howlin' Wolf, How Many More Years

Overdrive is similar to distortion, but it's the sound of an amplifier - ideally a valve one - driven just a little bit too hard. That produces a fuzz, but it's more melodic and less harsh than distortion. Overdrives are common in the pedalboards of modern rock guitarists, often alongside harsher distortion/fuzz pedals and over-the-top heavy metal pedals.

AmpliTube (iOS, £Free (in-app purchases))

Real Guitar (Android, £Free)

9. Digital Delay

As heard in: Where The Streets Have No Name, U2

A digital delay pedal listens to what you play and plays it back at a specified time – so for example you might hit a note once and the delay then replays it sixteen times, getting quieter each time. U2's The Edge loves his delays - it's the sound of some of the band's best-loved songs - and younger musicians are fans too: more recent models, which can replay multiple loops, have been used to excellent effect by the likes of Ed Sheeran. 

Get the app: 

AmpliTube (iOS, £Free (in-app purchases))

usbEffects (Android, £1.99)

Comments

these aren't music creation apps, they're effects apps - I'd really like to see Stuff recommending the best music creation apps available for smartphones

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