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In the late seventies, Roland took the sonic palette available to keyboard players and opened it up to guitarists, with the introduction on the GR-500. It was quite simply a marvel, but is positively primitive when compared to the latest evolutionary leap taken by the company with the GR-55 guitar synthesizer. Featuring a pair of independent synthesizer sound engines and a Composite Object Sound Modeling (COSM) engine, the device makes hundreds of different sounds available to the player – anything from pianos to strings, drums to synths, various acoustic and electric guitar and bass emulations, as well as numerous amplifiers. Read More
Personally, the most interesting part of the announcement of the new iPad on March 2 was GarageBand for iPad. Sure, the cool-looking drum kit and dynamic piano are worth a passing mention but my weapon of choice is the guitar. But rather than tap onto the touchscreen's virtual instrument I would prefer to plug in my own. The new JAM input from Apogee will allow me to do just that. Read More
Unless you're a music lover who lives alone, you'll likely own a set of headphones for some private sonic enjoyment. As such, you'll appreciate that wearing cans for extended periods isn't always the most comfortable of experiences. Sony is looking to address this with a new range of headphones and earbuds which give comfort just as much importance as sound quality. Read More
After you've spent a considerable time learning to play guitar or bass, you're then likely to want to find an individual tone. For most of us, this involves the never-ending search for an instrument that fits our personality, or taking what we can afford and switching out the pickups or, if you're brave, more advanced rewiring. With the aptly-named Game Changer from Ernie Ball's Music Man wing, you can hang up the soldering iron for good and still get access to millions of tonal variations in one guitar or bass. Read More
With all consumer units of the limited edition Firebird X reportedly having been sold, Gibson is already looking to the future. The company has announced the forthcoming introduction of hundreds of thousands of guitars at various price points based on the new technology showcased in the somewhat controversial new model. To help this process along, the entire Firebird X system and its Pure-Analog Engine are to be opened up for third party application development. Read More
The numerous guitar amplifier simulators and digital effects now available via apps for the iPad are a great way to play around with different sounds and setups in a portable and relatively inexpensive format. But having to tap the screen to change effects or tweak presets while playing is, at best, awkward. Help is at hand from Griffin Technology, which has partnered with the Frontier Design Group to develop a multi-function foot controller for guitar effects on the iPad. The StompBox has been optimized for use with the iShred LIVE amp simulation and effects app and can be used to switch between up to four effects or control features such as the metronome or tuner. Read More
When learning a popular song on a guitar, wouldn't it be great if guitarists like James Hetfield, Jerry Garcia or Ritchie Blackmore could teach you how to play their music? The first product from Los Angeles company The Way of H offers the next-best thing. Rock Prodigy is an interactive teaching app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that offers a quick way to learn, brush up on or hone guitar skills using a real instrument and original recordings. The app uses the device's microphone to listen to your playing, and provides feedback to help quickly correct errors or improve technique. Read More
There was a time when the tempo of a band's performance was left in the capable hands of the drummer. But as pre-programmed, sequenced music started to creep into both studio and live work, the beat-master found himself being shackled by the pace set by the invader's metronome-like click track. Now researchers at Queen Mary, University of London's Centre for Digital Music have developed some clever software that puts the power to control tempo back into the mighty limbs of the band's time-keeper. Read More
A few short years ago, Flaxwood challenged traditional thinking about what is necessary to produce great guitar tone. Its guitars are made by breaking down recycled wood fiber, mixing it up with an acoustically sensitive polymer and then injection-molding it into the familiar shape of a guitar. In an effort to introduce the technology to a wider audience, the company has allowed a traditional axe to mate with one of its own. The result of this unholy union has now been born. The appropriately-named HYBRID has a European alder wood body and a bolt-on Flaxwood neck and is available in single coil or humbucker pickup configurations. Read More
Veteran amp technician James Brown has announced the forthcoming release of a new metal-head-pleasing crunch pedal in his Tight line of Amptweaker effects units. The new TightMetal pedal has all of the features of the original TightDrive, but with a few notable additions geared towards dark and dirty metal speedsters. Read More
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