Back on 2012, Paul Vo and Moog revealed a working prototype
of a device that took control of acoustic string vibrations to provide a harmonic soundscape behind whatever the player was picking. After making some necessary tweaks, Vo took the newly-named Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer
to Kickstarter for the final push to production. The campaign was successful and the product is now available to buy. Vo has now revealed a handheld single string sustainer prototype that uses the same technology as the Vo-96. Say hello to the Vo Wand.
Last October, Gizmag grooved along to what has to be the world's most reliable drummer – the BeatBuddy
drum machine stomp. Next month, DigiTech will release a new guitar pedal called the Trio that crams a funky bass player into a pedalboard-friendly box alongside a virtual bin basher. The Band Creator pedal is reported capable of automatically generating bass and drum parts that match the rhythmic feel or chord progressions being belted out by the guitar player leading the power trio.
Necessary evils though they are, changing strings and tuning up have got to be two of the most boring and/or tiresome guitar-related tasks around. Band Industries offered a helping hand in November 2013 when a crowdfunding campaign was launched to bring an app-controlled motorized tuner named Roadie
to market. The campaign was successful and the handheld robotic tuner recently became available to buy. Gizmag nabbed one of the first commercial units off the production line and has been whizzing and whirring away with gusto ever since.
An acoustic guitar needs old tonewood soundboard, body and neck to really make the unplugged party pop, right? Well no, not really. Guitar makers have experimented with a host of other materials over the years, including aluminum and carbon fiber. Blackbird Guitars has now followed the 2013 launch of its Clara concert-level ukulele, which is made from something called Ekoa, with a NAMM debut for an acoustic guitar called El Capitan that's constructed from the same sustainable material.
Guitarists wanting the classic tones of yesteryear can
risk financial ruin by amassing a sizeable collection of original instruments or they can take a much cheaper route and turn to the digital world for help. Line 6 has been modeling vintage guitar sounds for a good many years, with its Variax guitars offering multiple vintage tones on one instrument. Now the company has added a very special new member to its Variax family, the Standard, which represents the first major collaborative effort since Yamaha acquired Line 6 in January 2014.
With the Kemper Profiling Amplifier
(or Profiler for short), Christoph Kemper aimed to offer guitarists similar sonic sampling capabilities enjoyed by keyboard players, but in an easy to use lunchbox package capable of authentically modeling any guitar amp tone. And though industry opinion appears to agree that he succeeded, diving into the Profiler's impressive arsenal of digital effects and amp models during a song can be a bit of a challenge, especially when in the studio or on stage. The newly-announced Remote puts the power to switch at a player's feet.
It's been over 4 years since IK Multimedia first launched a nifty double act that allowed guitarists to plug into numerous digital stomp box and amp emulations on a smartphone. The company has since added a number of new versions to its iRig interface and AmpliTube app family, including the iRig HD
and iRig PRO
, but until now players will have had to use an Apple smart device to access IK's world of tone. Though the iRig HD was recently
made compatible with a very few Android mobile devices, the iRig 2 is spreading the Android love to more users.
It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer
and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero
, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months.
So what do you do if your solo performance set list includes compositions featuring parts for electric guitar, banjo and Dobro? You can either try to simplify the arrangement or attempt some exhausting quick change wizardry mid-song. When accomplished string picker Bow Thayer couldn't find an instrument that catered for finger-pickin' and steel slidin' and banjo rollin' all in one place, he designed his own. Meet the Bojotar.
Let's face it, we live in wireless times. The living room hi-fi has been replaced with Bluetooth speaker systems, the home telephone by smartphones and the USB charging cable by induction mats. Though cable-free technology for guitar players has been around in one form or another for a good many years, reliability and affordability issues have meant that many players choose to be cabled to an amp. Scotland's Ingenious Audio says help is at hand in the form of Jack, which can wirelessly throw an electric guitar's output to an amp without users having to worry about radio interference or annoying Bluetooth latency. Offering responsive high resolution audio over a secure connection, the device can also link a guitar or amp to any Wi-Fi-enabled device.