The musical quarantine: Free apps and lessons from Korg, Moog and Fender

Captivity breeds creativity.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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  • Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
Justin Jaffe
2 min read

I'm stuck at home with two kids and am constantly looking for new activities to occupy them. We're fortunate to have a piano and guitar around -- but we've been collecting music apps and software to beef up our instrumental arsenal. So far, we've added two electronic synth apps and an online learning platform for guitar, bass and ukulele -- all for the grand total of zero dollars. Check out the details below.

Fender Play


Fender is offering new users a free trial of its Fender Play service, which streams instructor-guided lessons for guitar (acoustic or electric), bass and ukulele across a variety of genres (rock, blues, folk, country, funk and pop). The free trial usually lasts for 14 days and requires you to enter your credit card information but Fender has now extended that period to 90 days and has waived the credit card requirement. (Note that you may need to disable your browser's ad-blocking software to see the promo code.) The deal is limited to the first 100,000 new subscribers, however, and new signups will be discontinued on April 20. 


Korg, the venerable Japanese maker of synthesizers and electronic instruments, is currently offering its iKaossilator app for free until March 31. The app, which usually costs $20, features gesture-based controls and 150 integrated sounds. It's easy to use; just drop your finger on to the glowing "X-Y pad" to make a sound, move it around and build from there. 

But the iKaossilator also offers a sophisticated set of features including loop sequencing, support for WIST, which lets you sync-start with other music apps and the ability to import and export files. It's simple enough to occupy a 7-year-old for hours and comprehensive enough to get a fledgling producer off the ground. The app is available for iOS on the iPhone and iPad through the end of March. (The free Android app promotion ended on March 20).

Read more: Free entertainment to help you survive coronavirus social distancing

Minimoog Model D

Another storied name in electronic music, Moog -- maker of the eponymous synthesizer -- is offering its Minimoog Model D app for free. The app, which cost $5 before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, is based on the company's 1970s-era Model D synthesizer, which has been a favorite of musicians ranging from Herbie Hancock to Dr. Dre.

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Featuring more than 160 preset sounds, the Minimoog Model D app is simple enough to use; you'll have fun just playing around with all of the sounds, dials and buttons. But there are also sophisticated features to help you filter and control your bleeps and boops, make loops and beats, share your productions -- and even integrate with other MIDI devices. According to a company representative, the Minimoog App will not remain free forever but there is no set end date.

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