The i-Tab electronic songbook for guitarists
Sitting there waiting to help run through a song with you, providing a prompt or helping you learn - the iTab songbook
Guitarists are bound to suffer the occasional spot of memory loss given the volumes of material they're expected to remember. Those new to the instrument often have problems keeping up with all those bothersome chord and key changes. Happily, there is shortly to be a product released which can help with both issues. The i-Tab can be mounted on the guitar's headstock or on a mic stand or cabled up to a TV and will run through the song while you play, acting as a aide memoire when you find yourself drawing a blank or as a learning tool for new or unfamiliar songs.
Somewhat resembling a sat-nav, the i-Tab will similarly help to guide you through the twists and turns of any of the 2000 plus songs that can be stored on its 4Gb of internal memory. According to its designers, "it doesn't come with a talent module or ability pack" but the device is geared towards helping "you learn a song and to show you chords and lyrics while you get the hang of it" or "to act as a prompt and a memory aid when you play until you have the song down 100% and committed to memory".
The i-Tab can either be snapped over the strings at the headstock of your guitar via an optional headmount (available for US$24.95) or hooked up to a TV for big screen playback via the included TV-out cables if the 5in touchscreen interface is just not big enough. The headmount can be detached from its clamp to be fitted onto a mic stand if necessary. The device will play audio and video files too, in fact the manufacturers will be making some free song tuition videos available via its online store when the product is launched later this month.
The i-Tab store will also be the place to purchase and download thousands of high quality, approved and copyright cleared tabs. A PC-based wizard interface is currently in development which will cater for custom song creation, allowing users to load the device with their own creations.
The manufacturers are currently finalizing distribution deals whilst also showing off their innovation at music shows throughout Europe, the next one being Musikmesse on 24-27 April in Frankfurt, Germany. The first unit will be shipped later this month for US$199.
Further products are in development, details of which are likely to be announced at NAMM in Nashville during the summer. However, early adopters will not miss out on future feature enhancements as free firmware upgrades will be made available to existing users.
About the Author
While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.
All articles by Paul Ridden
Just over engineering! Can\'t see this product going anywhere, useless to a guitar vocalist, and if one can\'t remember the chords, or \'feel\' them, the old-fashioned typed idiot sheet can be printed out in a large font for easy reading [and cheapness], onstage.
I dont see any interface that allows actual tabs... Looks more like chords.
This would be great if it could do real tabs.
The image on the screen looks to small to read, and how would you sing into a mike and read off the screen at the same time? I am a guitarist, and I have small clipboard attached to my mike stand. I print out the lyrics in font size 7 or 8. In my experience,if you use a prompt of any kind, you don\\'t actually learn it. I have managed to memorize the chords of 100s of songs, but I still get problems remembering lyrics. I am in my mid 60s, and I still play in a band. I do love gadgets (Gizmag is my favourite site), but this one does seem a bit expensive
The player does indeed play and scroll tabs. The screen on the unit in the picture is actually of the song selection library. For the actual scrolling tab, there is the option of increasing the font size. For further information or to see how the unit operates, check out this video: http://i-tab.com/wp/demos
I bought one from Musician\'s Friend as soon as they were available. So far the only hiccup I find with the unit is the inability to align/realign the touchscreen. It comes with a small stylus and their \"support\" have told me to use a guitar pick but I\'ve tried both and neither produce the expected result. When I touch a song, dead center on the line, it will go to either the one before or after. The side scroll bar is off as well. Very frustrating to get it where you want it to go. Once there, it works as advertised and I\'ve been able to add my own songs very easily. Not for the technically challenged.
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning