Do you remember when you decided you would use your extra time during quarantine to pick up a hobby or learn something new? Well, 10 months have passed, and we’re rolling into a new year with continuing restrictions due to COVID-19.
But don’t let that discourage you. One fun and productive hobby you can pick up is playing music. And we have some great musical training bundles that’ll help you start 2021 off right.
Roxsyn is the “world’s first metamorphic guitar synthesizer” for iPad. The app lets you plug in your guitar and, when you play it, synthesizer sounds come out. It also offers a full suite of knobs to tweak and shape the resulting sounds, just like a regular, keyboard-driven synth.
But — and this is important — it’s not just using your guitar as a MIDI controller for a normal synthesizer. Let’s take a look.
At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.
The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.
But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.
Making music with an iPad and a synth
If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.
And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.
A new music app release from Klevgrand is always something to get excited about. And a new guitar amp simulation app? Almost as rare as an in-the-wild sighting of an AirPower mat. Combine both, at an introductory price of just $10, and you have a pretty special day. The app is called Stark, and it’s also the first Audio Unit amp sim for iOS.
If you’re learning to play the guitar, then you will constantly be looking up two things: Scales and chords. After you get a bit further into it, you’ll add arpeggios to that list. And you will keep referencing them for years, becasue there are a zillion way to play each chord, scale, or arpeggio on the guitar. And here’s the problem. Reference materials for these three essentials are a pain to use. Either you spend more time clicking around an app than you do practicing, or you have to keep a ton of PDFs around, and try to keep those organized. Now, though, a super simple (maybe too-simple) app finally ge ts it right. It’s called Fretbud, and I love it.
This is Fender’s new Tweed Monterey. No, it’s not a tweed-covered guitar amp from the 1950s, although it certainly looks just like one. It is, in fact, the sweetest-looking Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever seen. It might not be the most practical, most portable or even best sounding Bluetooth speaker around. But if you want people to think you play guitar, this is the perfect accessory for your fake sleeve tattoos.
Truth: Every wireless musical gadget has to have its publicity photos shot in a park. Never mind that the user/model is wearing headphones, isolated from their idyllic surroundings, and likely struggling to read their iPhone display in the hot sun. The Jammy is no different. It’s a 17-inch-long practice guitar that can not only be taken to the park, but splits in two for carrying on planes.
There are great guitar effects apps for iOS, apps which take the signal from your electric guitar and process it with weird and/or great-sounding effects. And there are also several Bluetooth gadgets that let you control those apps with your feet.
But what about the other way around? Is there a way to take a guitarist’s collection of old-school analog effects pedals, and control them from your iPhone? Well yes, now there is. It’s DC Pedals’ Bluetooth Looper and VirtualLooper app.
Learning a musical instrument is hard. Really hard. It takes a long time to make anything that sounds like music, and yet still people put in the long hours and the hard work to become great at their chosen instrument.
There’s no way around practicing, but there is. lot you can do to make the practice easier, more effective, and much more fun, and all you need is there on your iPhone or iPad.