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.
There are a lot of guitar interfaces out there for the Mac, but at about $32, the Behringer Guitar Link UCG102 (just rolls off the tongue, no?) is one of the cheapest you’ll find. Even more surprising? This little duder sounds good.
The AC1 RythymVOX ($60) is more than a little guitar amp you can jam on. Built into its circuits are the drum beats of many popular musical genres, all at the ready to accompany you while you practice or play.
I’ve tried a lot of “anyone can make music” apps in the past, and they’ve not always lived up to the hype. That’s why, at first, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for three-dollar music app Sound Wand – but I should have been more optimistic. Like a real instrument, you need to spend some time learning how it works.
Described simply, the Apogee Jam ($99) is a just little gadget that lets you plug your guitar into your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. But in this pairing of instrument and iDevice, the Jam unlocks a wonderful world of musical possibility that is nothing short of magical.