How to record guitar with an iPhone or iPad

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You don't need expensive equipment to record your guitar, an iPhone or iPad will do just fine.
You don't need expensive equipment to record your guitar, an iPhone or iPad will do just fine.
Photo: Lee Peterson/The App Factor

app-factor-logo-thumbnailAs someone who plays guitar and records my own music, I’ve been really keen on trying to record an EP using iOS only. I’ve done it on a Mac before, but since the introduction of the iPad I’ve been wanting to record on a touch interface. I’ve used an iPad mini, and it worked well, but with the introduction of the iPad Pro, I wanted to give it another go. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Amazing guitar and vocal effects boxes will have you sounding like a pro

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Play Acoustic has all you need to sound like a pro. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
TC-Helicon's Play series has all you need to sound like a pro. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

It’s hard enough to sing and play guitar at the same time, let alone manage a floor full of guitar effects pedals. Add to that trying to create vocal effects like most listeners expect and you’ve got a solo musician’s worst nightmare.

The folks at TC-Helicon have come up with a couple of pretty nifty floor-style pedal boxes that have you covered though: You can dial in a fantastic guitar sound for either acoustic or electric guitar, fill a room with amazing vocal effects and backing harmonies, and even loop musical phrases to create a song with multiple parts on the fly. Dubbed Play Acoustic and Play Electric, these simple stomp boxes contain some serious technology in an easy-to-use platform.

Here’s how it plays out.

This miniscule guitar is actually playable and uses the iPhone as an amp and speaker

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fretpen-1

Next time some jerk mimes playing the world’s smallest violin at something you said, just whip out the miniscule Fretpen guitar, bellow something defiantly rock-themed at them, and relish in their stunned silence as you headbang triumphantly while shredding your way through Van Halen’s Eruption!

Yes, I see how it may seem as if I’ve let my rock fantasy get a little out of hand. But I strenuously maintain it’s completely appropriate when introduced to the FretPen, a tiny-yet-playable guitar that connects to an accompanying app on the iPhone via low-energy Bluetooth, then rocks out with customizable effects.

Learn To Play Like A Pro With GarageBand For Mac [OS X Tips]

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music lessons garageband

While the latest version of Apple’s fantastic (and free!) music production suite, GarageBand, has lost some functionality like podcasting and Magic GarageBand, it still has plenty to recommend it for those new to music or old vets alike.

One of these cool features is the Learn to Play function, which has some pretty good basic music tutorials baked right in, along with the capability to purchase videos from hit artists like Sting and Norah Jones, who teach you how to play some of their famous songs.

It’s a pretty heady set of music learning; here’s how to access it. Getting really good at your instrument will take more than watching a video or three, but this is a great start if you want to try your hand at the guitar or piano.