Finger Bender

Finger Bender is an expressive pitch bending controller for MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) instruments. Create natural vibrato and unique pitch bending/looping effects by sliding your finger on glass.


The Finger Bender iPad app was designed to:

  • Create natural sounding vibratos
  • Allow pitch bending effects
  • Control modulation
  • Loop pitch/modulation
  • Quantize pitch bends
  • Explore microtonal tunings
  • Be customized to suit your playing style
  • Provide easy access to all functions

On many string accoustic instruments, vibrato is generated by wiggling your finger. Finger Bender brings this instinctive gesture to your MIDI instrument. Bending on glass feels natural.

Finger Bender also creates special effect bends as well as control the modulation wheel of your instrument.

Every function is just a tap away. This allows you to change the way Finger Bender behaves during your performance. Groups of related functions are color coded.


What's New in Version 1.2

Record and playback up to 20 seconds of pitch bends and modulations with the looper.

Modulate the mod wheel with any bender presets.

Status Bar

Status Bar

The status bar at the top of the screen displays the state of the app and a description of the last button selected.

Tap the status bar to show or hide the settings. When the settings are hidden, the bender will go fullscreen (almost).



Tap the gray ? button for help.

MIDI Output

MIDI Output

Once your iPad is connected to a MIDI instrument, tap its MIDI output port in the table to establish a connection.

Use the Network Session when connecting to an Apple computer or laptop.

If your MIDI instrument is not listed, tap R to reload the list of output ports available. It may take a few seconds for your MIDI device to be recognized.

The selected MIDI output port is highlighed in gray.

For further details, refer to the article on MIDI Connections.

MIDI Channel

MIDI Channel

Once your MIDI output port is selected, match the MIDI channel of your instrument by tapping 1 through 16.

If the MIDI channel is not the same as your MIDI instrument, nothing will happen. Refer to the documentation of your instrument on how to select a MIDI channel.



The bender is where the pitch bending happens. While playing a note on the keyboard of your instrument, swipe your finger left or right on the bender to bend the pitch.

Begin swiping anywhere on the bender. The starting touch point is always the "zero" mark.

A blue light in the status bar indicates the value of the pitch bend.

Tap 3 fingers on the bender to toggle the latch function.

Bender Width

Pitch Bender Width

Select the width of the pitch bender: 20%, 40%, 80%, 100%, 120%, 140% or 160%.

A shorter width allows faster bends with a shorter swipe. A longer width allows more degree of precision.



Finger Bender has 16 bender presets. Each preset has 2 sides: A and B. Tap the preset button to cycle through A and B.

Short Name Preset Name Description
FLP Flip Flop A unique quantized bend that alternates pitches up and down.
RND Random A random quantized bend perfect for sample and hold effects or subtle randomness.
Q3 to Q8 Quantize 3 to 8 These are linear bends quantized in 3 to 8 steps. Great for microtonal explorations and glitchy bends. Presets B add smooth transitions between steps.
VIB Vibrato A exponential bend perfect for subtle to extreme vibrato.
GLS Glissando A linear bend much like a pitch wheel on a synthesizer.
MAJ Major Scale A bend quantized to a major scale if the bend range of the instrument is ±12 semitones.
MIN Minor Scale A bend quantized to a minor scale if the bend range of the instrument is ±12 semitones.
12S 12 Semitones A bend quantized to 12 semitones if the bend range of the instrument is ±12 semitones.
DRT Dirty A bend that has "dirt".
BRK Broken A broken unpredictable bend.

Pitch Looper

Pitch Looper

Record and playback up to 20 seconds of pitch bends and modulations with the looper. Turn the looper on or off with the LOP button.

The status bar shows the looper state with a red or green ring. Red is for recording and green for playback. Time is inicated by the length of the ring. A completely red or green ring is 20 seconds.

The looper is always recording your gestures. Recording a loop starts when pitch bending begins and ends when you release your finger. When the looper playback is on, it will immediately cycle what you have recorded.

Note that if the looper exceeds 20 seconds of recording time, the loop will start over erasing what was recorded. The looper is empty when the app is launched.

The looper also records modulation when it's activated.



Tap the MOD button to select how to control the modulation wheel of your instrument. There are 2 modes of modulation: X and Y.

In X mode, the modulation wheel will track the pitch bends along the X axis (left and right) and follow any pitch bending preset.

In Y mode, swiping up or down in the bottom half of the bender will change the value of he modulation. Technically speaking, this changes the MIDI Continuous Controller number 1.

Like the pitch control, the modulation control continues where you last touched the bender. Try rocking your finger up and down to adjust the modulation.

Note that the upper half of the bender will only affect the pitch.

A yellow light will appear in the status bar indicating the value of the modulation.

Tapping on the MOD button again will turn this feature off.

Note that you can record and playback the modulation with the Pitch Looper.



Tap L to turn latch pitch on or off. When on, the last pitch you swiped to after releasing your finger on the bender will remain. Otherwise, the pitch will snap back to the starting frequency.

To avoid the pitch snapping back, quickly swipe your finger back to the starting bend point before lifting your finger.

A red "L" in the status bar indicates that latch is on.

Tap 3 fingers on the bender to toggle the latch function.

Bender Guide Points

Guide Points

Guide points are drawn on the bender to help you bend to the "in between" pitches. Select 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12 or 24 guide points.

If the pitch bend range of your instrument match the number of guide points then the spacing between each point will be a semitone. A semitone is the distance between each piano key. With 12 or 24 semitones, you can play your instrument like an Ondes Martinot or a Theremin.

Tap 0 to turn guide points off.

Guide points are only used with presets indicated with a circle under the button label. Also, guide points are not available in some skins.



Tap the SKIN button to cycle through these bender interfaces:

  1. The Box
  2. Ondes Martinot
  3. Model 1150
  4. Clara's Theremin
  5. Blue Vinyl

Each skin provides different visual interactions. Explore them.


Finger Bender will remember all of your settings the next time you use the app. However, you will need to select the MIDI output port of your instrument.


In the event of an error, a message will be displayed. Try the following to resolve the issue:

  • Tap R reload the MIDI ports available and select the port again
  • Ensure that the MIDI channel of the app and the MIDI instrument match
  • No bending will occur if the pitch bend range of your MIDI instrument is set to 0 or off
  • Ensure the connection from the iPad to the MIDI instrument is working
  • Restart the app
  • Restart the iPad and/or your MIDI instrument

Download Finger Bender on the App Store

Finger Bender screenshots

Download Finger Bender on the App Store

Finger Bender Version 1.20, October 2019
Finger Bender Version 1.10, August 2019
Finger Bender Version 1.00, December 2018
Copyright © 2018-2019 Denis Desjardins

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