The i-Tab electronic songbook for guitarists
By Paul Ridden
March 1, 2010
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.