Is it a coincidence I keep seeing guitar tech devices and software everywhere I look? Or is fate telling me it's finally time to learn to play that parlor guitar I picked up and instantly neglected?
Recently, I came across the Guitar Sidekick (www.castiv.com, $29.99), a clever way to read music stored on your smartphone while strumming. It's an adjustable clamp that fits across the strings at the top of the guitar's neck, above the fretboard. Use it and you can refer to thousands of pages of sheet music, all from your phone.
Next, I stumbled on Raw Talent Guitar (www.rawtalentguitar.com, $199), a comprehensive software teaching system, while walking the floor at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. The price is high, but I was won over by the software which contains enough lessons to take you from beginner to intermediate.
The program lets you connect an electric guitar to your computer, then gives you immediate feedback as you practice. Evaluations are set up like a game, so they're fun. I can't use the software since I have an acoustic guitar, but it seems like the next best thing to a teacher.
Finally, I stopped by the Gibson Guitar booth at CES and got a look at the Firebird X Limited Edition (www2.gibson.com, $5,570), a gorgeous computerized guitar the company recently released. If you ever get the chance to see one in person, ask for a demo. It's able to tune itself, which looks like magic out of a Harry Potter movie. This version includes a variety of built-in effects, so the player doesn't need pedals.
So after all that, my parlor guitar is still sitting neglected, but perhaps not for long. I'd like to experience this guitar tech, rather than just admiring it.
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