User’s Guide
to FATpick for Guitar and Bass


These buttons are usually available at the top of your screen and can be used to navigate within the application or access common features. Some buttons may be hidden or disabled when you are not logged-in to FATpick. Log in or create an account to enable the full feature set.

FATpick's Header Controls.

Settings — opens the Settings menu, described below.

Home — return to the main (home) menu.

Back / Forward — move back and forth between screens like in your web browser.

Messages — will be highlighted when you have unread notifications or messages; click to read your messages.

My Profile — opens the "My Profile" menu, described below.

Send Feedback — opens a little dialog box you can use to send feedback to the FATpick team. You will not lose your place in the application.

Help — toggles the on-screen help on and off.


Searching for Songs to Play

Use the "Play" button on the home screen to begin your search for songs to play.

This will open the song search screen.

Use the query input field to search for songs by title, artist or album.

Use the tags to filter results by instrument, your favorites, songs you've played (or haven't played) recently and other aspects. Or just browse the song catalog by scrolling down.

In the song list you can "favorite" a song to make it easier to find later. Favorite songs act like bookmarks. You can use the "FAVORITES" tag below the search field to only see the songs you have favorited. Click the heart button in the upper-right of each song tile to favorite or un-favorite a song.

Once you have selected a song to play click on the song tile to open the song in the track selector.


Selecting a Track and Configuring the Mix

Each song in FATpick is made up of one or more tracks. Like in the recording studio, each track usually represents a different instrument or part of the song.

In FATpick, each track in a song will include a score or a backing-track, or both.

Any track that has a score can be played in FATpick. That means there can be multiple ways to play a given song. For example, you might choose to play the lead guitar part on one playback and the rhythm guitar part, or the bass part, at a different time.

You can control the mix by setting the volume of or even muting the different backing tracks. For example, when first learning a new song you may want to mute everything but the part that you will play so you can hear what your part is supposed to sound like. Once you've mastered the song you may want to mute the backing track for the part that you play so that your performance shines through.

Track Listing — a description of each track is provided, including the instrument type. When a track includes a playable score the track listing will also indicate the tuning that the song is written for.

Show Score — choose the track (part) you'll play for this song.

Backing Track Volume — use the slider to control how loud or quiet the corresponding backing track will be in the final mix. Or use the mute button to silence a track entirely.

Cover Art — if there is cover art associated with the song you can click the image to toggle the cover-art backdrop (on the player screen) on or off. Note that the cover art backdrop will never be displayed if "Cover-Art Backdrop" setting is disabled in the Gameplay Settings menu.

Play — once you've selected the track you want to play and configured the backing track mix, click the "Play" button to open the game play screen.

Heart — tap the heart icon to favorite or unfavorite the song.

You can use the back button at the top of the screen to return to song search.


Playing a Song

Playback Controls

These controls are always available at the top of the screen while you are playing a song. For the most part they work like the controls you might find on a cassette or CD player.

FATpick's Playback Controls.

Practice/Perform Toggle — use this button to switch between practice mode and performance mode.

In practice mode you can adjust the playback rate to speed up or slow down the song. You can also jump around to different parts of the song by clicking on the mini-tab view.

In performance mode you must play the song straight through (you can pause but you can't jump around) at normal speed. Only performance mode performances are eligible for high scores (including your personal record and the global song leaderboard).

Restart — jump back to the beginning of the song and reset the player (clearing the hit/miss status of all notes). You can also press the R key on your keyboard to trigger this button.

Play/Pause — when paused, start playing. When playing, pause the action. You can also press the spacebar or the P key on your keyboard to trigger this button.

Sound Activated Start — when playback is paused you can click this button to enable sound-activated-start mode. When this mode is active a noise from your instrument or a spoken command like "go" will start playing as if the play button was clicked. This allows you to start the song without taking your hands off of your guitar.

Playback Rate — when this button is clicked a slider is revealed. Move the slider up or down to increase or decrease the rate at which the song is played. The horizontal line on the slider indicates the "normal" or original speed.

Eject — clicking the eject button will take you back to song search.

You can use the back button at the top of the screen to return to track selection to choose a different part to play or to adjust the mix.

At the end of the song, or when playback is paused, a performance summary dialog will appear. On this dialog you can see a summary of your performance, including your measures of your accuracy and timing and, when in performance mode, your overall score.

You can access the settings menu and make adjustments — including to the Gameplay Settings — while on the player screen. But some settings are disabled during game play to prevent changes that would impact your score or interrupt the game play.


Settings

Click on the gear icon (or the "Settings" button on the home page) to open the Settings menu.

From the settings menu you can navigate to screens that allow you to manage many different aspects of the FATpick application and the game play experience.

Each screen is described in more detail below.

General Settings

Theme — changes the color scheme of the entire application.

Tooltip Mode — determines how frequently help bubbles appear when you hover over or focus on controls.

Show Keyboard Focus — FATpick is designed to be navigated by mouse, touch or via the keyboard. (This is especially helpful when you have FATpick connected to a TV screen.) When this option is enabled a small frame will be drawn around the element that currently has focus and will be the target of tapping the spacebar or hitting any other key.

Show Advanced Options — when enabled, additional settings will be available. Note that this doesn't just enable additional options in General Settings, new options will appear throughout the application.

Backup and Restore — back up your current settings to the "cloud" or restore settings from a backup. Note that only one backup can be stored at a time. The Restore button will restore the last settings you saved. The "Restore Factory Settings" button can be used to reset all settings back to their original values.

Cache Controls (Advanced)

FATpick (like most applications) temporarily saves some files so it doesn't have to download them over and over again. This known as a file cache. Files in the file cache aren't needed, if they are deleted FATpick will just download them again. But they do help FATpick run faster.

Cache Size — use the slider to control how much disk space FATpick will use for its file cache. Unless you have an extremely small hard drive, the more space you allocate to the cache the better. Currently FATpick will use store around 1.5 GB in the file cache at most.

Clear Cache — this button will cause FATpick to delete all of the files in its current cache. You probably don't need to do this unless you suspect there's a problem with the data in the cache.

Note that the cache controls are disabled when you are playing songs in FATpick. This is to prevent you from accidentally deleting files that FATpick needs to play the song. You may return to the home screen to manage the cache as you normally would.

Gameplay Settings

The Gameplay settings control different aspects of the player on which songs are played. You can use these settings to adapt the game play to your tastes or needs.

Perspective — this slider controls the depth of the tablature track. At one end the tab player is completely vertical, and notes will appear on a simple flat surface. At the other end the tab track is becomes increasing horizontal so that notes on the bottom string appear closer than notes on the top string. Use the flat (vertical) perspective to maximize performance.

Zoom — this slider controls how much of the song appears on the tablature tracks at one time. Zooming-in will show a smaller slice of the song. Zooming-out will show more of the song. Note that the zoom is constrained to prevent notes that are too small or move too fast. When a song happens to bump up against these limits the zoom slider may not change the view very much (or at all).

Playhead Position — the playhead is the line on the tab track that indicates the "current" point in the song. You should strike a note at the same time it hits the playhead. Use this slider to move the playhead left or right on the tablature track.

Pulse Notes — when enabled a little "halo" will appear around the note when it is supposed to be played.

Bounce Notes — when enabled notes will float a little bit above the tablature track and drop down to their string at the instant the note is meant to be played.

Timing Feedback — when enabled FATpick will show you when you hit a note a little bit early or a little bit late. When disabled the notes are just marked as "hit" or "missed", but you can still see a report on your overall timing at the end of the song.

Progress Bar — when enabled a mini-tablature-track that contains the entire song will be displayed. You can use this mini-tab view to track where you are in the song.

Cover-Art Backdrop — when enabled the cover-art associated with a song will be displayed behind the tablature track while playing a song.

Input Monitor — when enabled a small volume meter will be included in the scoring area of the song playback screen.

Pitch Monitor (advanced) — when enabled the notes that FATpick detects will be displayed in the scoring area of the playback screen.

Restore Default Gameplay Settings — this button will revert back to the original gameplay settings. Only the settings on this screen are restored.

Audio Settings

Use the audio settings to configure the specific devices that FATpick listens to and plays on. Note that your operating system has a "sounds" control panel that may impact or even override these settings.

Input Device — choose among the input devices (microphones and other audio inputs) currently connected to the system. This is the device FATpick will listen to in order to evaluate your playing.

Input Volume — this slider controls the strength of the signal being read from the input device. You can use the volume meter below the slider to test your settings.

Output Device — choose among the output devices (speakers and other audio outputs) currently connected to the system. This is the device on which FATpick will play sounds.

Output Volume — this slider controls the strength of the signal being sent to the output device.

Calibrate Latency

All the components of your guitar set-up — your computer, pedals, mixers, amplifiers, microphones, even cables — whether analog or digital, will introduce a tiny bit of delay to the audio signal. In particular, there will always be a small but measurable delay between the time at which the sounds coming out of your guitar hit the microphone and the time at which that sound is delivered to FATpick as a digital signal that can be analyzed. Because of this, FATpick will always "hear" your playing a tiny bit later than when you struck the note. This delay is sometimes known as "latency".

Since there is no way to eliminate this delay, FATpick takes latency into account when evaluating your timing. But the tricky thing is that the latency is determined by the specific details of your set-up. Everyone's latency will be slightly different. Your latency will even be slightly different if you make changes to your set-up.

Because everyone's latency value is unique, FATpick must measure the latency of your setup, in a process known as "calibration". If the latency is not properly calibrated FATpick won't be able to evaluate your timing correctly.

Follow the on-screen instructions to perform the latency calibration. The process only takes a few seconds


 
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