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Music

Unlimited guitar with built-in amp comes with smartphone-based digital effects

Travel-friendly guitars like the Backpacker from Martin are all fine and dandy if you're into acoustic playing but those of us who prefer electric portability will likely need to seek out something like Traveler's Speedster or Bob Wiley's Ministar. The problem with the latter choice is also having to lug around an amp and cables in order to be heard. Stanford graduates Andrew Penrose and Ari Atkins have developed a go-anywhere electric guitar called the Unlimited that features a built-in, battery-powered amplifier and smartphone-controlled digital effects.Read More

Fretlight LED learning guitar lights the way to quick and easy tuition

I have to admit to a tinge of sadness as I report that both of the LED learning sleeve for guitar projects we featured back in April have so far failed to appear. Development of both projects is said to be continuing but Tabber withdrew its presence on Kickstarter after only two weeks to regroup and improve the product and the LED Sleeve didn't make its funding target. Fortunately, there is an existing system called Fretlight that uses lights embedded in the neck to show would-be players exactly when and where to place fingers on a fingerboard. The recent addition of the rather attractive FG-461 PRO electric guitar to the range offered the perfect opportunity to take a closer look.Read More

Ergonomic chairs for musicians could help improve performance

Much of today's modern workforce has been touched by the helping hand of ergonomic science. In a former professional life, I remember colleagues regularly disappearing on day trips to specialist furniture suppliers arranged by the Health and Safety department to be measured and fitted for a new office chair. Professional musicians, on the other hand, are often required to make do with whatever seating is provided by the concert hall or theater, as if all instruments and players had exactly the same requirements. After spending 18 months studying the needs of various players, David Brothers has now designed an adjustable three-legged seating solution to help promote good playing posture and correct breathing techniques.Read More

Griffin claims superior sound from reclaimed wood earbuds

Griffin Technologies has just released some new eye- and ear-pleasing earbud-type earphones that come with a slice of eco-friendliness, too. The outer housing of the WoodTones Earbuds is made from bits of exotic scrapwoods rescued from the workshop floors of furniture and cabinet makers, which is said to add volume without distortion or coloring while also bringing mid-range frequencies to the fore and delivering even, solid bass.Read More

Taking the lid off the Piano Box 12-note paper synth

Last year, Portugal's Catarina Mota was part of a New York hackerspace team that created a toy piano made from Jell-O (and some electronics) for a competition in Brooklyn, NY. Being a lover of mixing electronics with low-tech materials like fabric and paper, she has now created a paper box that opens up to reveal a 12-key touch piano/synthesizer sporting some cool LED light action. The Piano Box is built around an Arduino Mega board running the CapSense and Tone libraries, and features twin speakers, capacitive keys made from paper-covered copper tape, and some custom code that's available for free download to allow anyone to make their own paper synth. Read More

gTar uses an iPhone to teach you the guitar

Learning to play any musical instrument can be a mammoth task, especially for those who aren't naturally gifted in that regard. The guitar is particularly difficult to learn to play, with a steep learning curve and some extraordinary finger dexterity required right from the start. Therefore, any tool designed to make the process less painful is welcomed with open arms by budding guitar gods. A company called Incident is hoping that will be the case for gTar, a new digital guitar that utilizes the power of the iPhone.Read More

Digitech's new Whammy V adds unique Chordal Pitch-Shifting capability

Altering the tension of tuned strings through the influence of the tremolo or whammy bar on an electric guitar is an important part of any modern guitarist's trick bag. Early mechanical vibrato systems were notorious for throwing the instrument out of tune, and although huge improvements have been made over the years, intense or brutal use of some modern systems can still lead to problems. In 1989, DigiTech launched a pedal-based solution called the WH-1 Whammy, that offered players the same pitch altering capabilities of hardware systems, as well as additional harmony and detune effects, without any of the associated tuning hassles. Over 20 years later, and looking very much like the iconic original, the fifth version of the Whammy is currently being readied for release and brings something new to the party – the unique Chordal Pitch-Shifting. Read More

Peavey and Muse Research release MuseBox virtual instrument and effects module

Peavey Electronics and Muse Research have partnered to develop the MuseBox, a rather nifty software-powered, digital sound module, vocal processor, guitar processor and effects processor all-in-one. The half-rack-sized unit features a mind-boggling number of presets, comes supplied with a software package valued at over US$900 and benefits from two pro-grade guitar/mic inputs at the front of the unit with phantom power, stereo, 24-bit, 48 kHz 0.25-inch rear-panel inputs and outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, full-size 5-pin DIN MIDI and four USB 2.0 ports.Read More

ARIS: The wireless speaker designed for Windows users

While there seems to be an unending stream of wireless speakers designed primarily to stream audio from iOS or Android mobile devices using AirPlay or Bluetooth, Oregon-based Aperion Audio is showing Windows-using music fans some love with the ARIS wireless speaker. The unit is designed to work with Windows 7’s “Play To” feature that makes it easy to stream content from a PC over a home network.Read More

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