Tag Archives: guitar

Creators of Rocksmith Respond to Facebook Trolls



Rocksmith logoIt’s pretty much a given that if you do anything online that attracts an audience, you’ll run into internet trolls whose sole purpose is to harass you. This problem is as old as the internet itself, and it’s only gotten worse in the age of social media.

There are a lot of different ways to handle ‘net trolls. The old adage, “Don’t feed the trolls,” advises that simply ignoring troll commentary is the best way to go. Direct engagement rarely works, as trolls will use these interactions as an excuse to keep the harassment loop going. The truly brave (and patient) may try another route when it comes to trolls; An appeal to reason.

That third option was recently implemented by the makers of Rocksmith, a guitar-instruction program available on many platforms. Rocksmith offers up many songs by popular recording artists that can be downloaded and used within the program. And every time Rocksmith would announce new downloadable songs, the trolls would come out in force to complain about Rocksmith’s latest song selections.

Rocksmith recently responded to these naysayers on its Facebook page:

Folks, we’re going to say this as nicely as we can: Nobody cares what you don’t like.

Okay, now that we read it, that doesn’t seem all that nice. But it’s something worth considering before you post on our page and tell the world that whatever artist, song, or genre currently being discussed is “garbage,” “fake,” “worthless,” or any other negative adjective you can dream up. “Real,” “good,” “fake,” “bad” – none of that holds any power here. That’s simply not how we see music.

As the moderators of this page, our philosophy is simple: There’s music that inspires you to play guitar and bass, and there’s music that does not. We don’t make DLC based on what you *dislike* — we only make DLC based on what people actually tell us they want. That’s why we have a request app, embedded on this page – so you can offer specific song suggestions directly to the team. But once something’s released, it’s there for the people who want it. If that’s not you…honestly, we don’t need to know. Knowing what you’d rather see in the future is far more valuable. Something good could come from that. Nothing good comes from you suggesting that your entirely subjective taste in music is superior to everyone else’s.

What’s more, in all the time we’ve moderated this page, we have never seen someone respond to a “your band sucks” post with “Now that you mention it, I don’t like my favorite band anymore.” You cannot stop people from connecting with music; it’s a personal, emotional relationship, and it’s a fight you cannot win. It’s not a fight we want to host on our page, either. Don’t pick that fight here.

If it helps, think of Rocksmith like a restaurant. Check the menu, then choose only the items that seem appetizing. You’re not expected to order everything on the menu, and if you were to say “take this off the menu because I don’t personally want to eat it,” you’d get funny looks. If it’s not to your taste, just look for something else that is. Our menu has nearly 1,000 options for millions of customers, each hungry for something different, and we add to the menu every week. If you find something that doesn’t appeal to your tastes…keep looking. There’s gotta be something on that menu for you. There’s something for everybody else, too.

So, please: Before you waste any time or energy insulting music that does not inspire you to play — for the good of your own community — stop, and shift gears. Nobody cares what you don’t like, but there’s plenty of other things we can talk about.

Thanks.

Rocksmith’s response to troll comments is succinct and on point. Instead of lashing out, the message explains why positivity (telling Rocksmith what songs you’d like to see in the future) is so much better than negativity (telling Rocksmith why you hate the new songs they’ve added).

I hope this message helps to keep the trolls at bay, at least for a little while, on the Rocksmith page. This message also serves as a good example to other companies who are dealing with similar problems on social media.


Become an Instant Guitar Hero with Airiax



Airier glovesYeah, it’s an April Fools’ joke in a sea of April Fools’ jokes. It’s April 1st. We get it. But I thought this one was particularly amusing.

Musical instrument and equipment manufacturer Line 6 is currently touting its new Airiax gloves on the company’s homepage. Airiax is a nice takeoff on the company’s line of electric guitars called Variax. These guitars are unique because they contain special electronics that “model” the tones of other guitars. The Variax is loved by some guitar players (like me) who appreciate its versatility, and it’s hated by others who believe it’s inauthentic and lacks the soul of the instruments its replicating.

Line 6’s Airiax gag does a nice job of parodying this dichotomy. Airiax carries the tagline “Air guitar never felt this real.” Yes, that’s right. Airiax gloves make you a great air guitarist. Just plug the Airiax’s wireless connector into any guitar amp and you can shred with the best of them:

Ever since the birth of rock guitar heroes, the general population has envied the class, style, attitude, energy and mating potential of those revered guitar players. Emulation of the player’s sounds, poses and facial expressions has led to the birth of air guitar as a favorite hobby, bar activity and competitive sporting event. Historically, air guitarists were never able to coax convincing tones out of their ethereal instrument, which severely limited true creative freedom and hindered prospects for attracting a complimentary member of the species. After several years of exhaustive research and a few broken fingers, we are proud to present a revolutionary solution to the air guitarist’s biggest problem.

When used in tandem, Airiax gloves faithfully translate finger and hand movements into highly convincing guitar licks and tones, allowing anyone with guts and a few choice moves to churn out the best licks in any style – be it swinging jazz, twangy country, classic rock, or searing metal. Pack them conveniently in any carry-on bag so that you don’t miss those impromptu international jams that only require the slip of a glove. You can even play bass with the ever-convenient finger style bass setting.

This really made me laugh! Click the link above for the Airiax page and watch the embedded video. Nice job with this April Fools’ bit, Line 6!


Gibson Guitars and G Force Self Tuner at CES



Gibson LogoGibson produced their first electric guitar back in 1936 and since then, the name has been synonymous with the instrument. This doesn’t mean that Gibson trades on its history alone and the company remains at the forefront of instrument innovation. The latest “High Performance” series is the most innovative guitar they’ve ever made. Daniele Mendez gets a demo of the latest axe from Christopher Oliphant of Gibson.

These new SG-standard guitars have a range of new features, from physical changes to the contour of the neck heel through to auto-tuning. The new G Force tuning system self-tunes to both standard and alternate tunings, and the new version is faster and more accurate than before. Extremely easy to use, all the guitarist needs to do is press a button and strum the strings. The guitar will take care of the rest, tuning only one string or all strings. It’s not just for electric guitars either as the G-Force system is now fitted to high-end acoustic guitars too. Amazing to watch in action!

All the guitars are available now with prices from US$1,099 for the “High Performance” models.

Daniele Mendez is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Jamstik Brings MIDI to the Guitar at CES



Jamstik LogoKeyboard players have had a wide range of options for creating all kinds of sounds for years, thanks to MIDI (musical digital instrument interface). MIDI takes input information from a control device, such as the keys of a keyboard, and translates it into audible sound, usually by triggering sounds in a sample bank. If you’ve ever played an electronic keyboard or synthesizer, then you’ve experienced MIDI in action. And while using a keyboard to play MIDI notes makes sense, it’s always been a challenge to transfer MIDI control to other instruments, such as guitar. Jamstik is working to change that.

Chris Helle, Senior Music Product Specialist at Jamstik, stopped by the TPN booth to meet with Jamie and Nick. Chris showed off the latest version of Jamstik and demonstrated how it uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to an iPad. Jamstik can be used to control apps on iOS, Mac OS, and soon Android wirelessly. Jamstik uses infrared light to track a player’s movements on the fretboard, sending the data in near real time to the host device. This allows for fast responses, perfect for all kinds of musical performances. Jamstik is currently on the market for $299.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly which can be found at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic, and health journalist.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Line 6 brings Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch



Line 6 logoLine 6 is a musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer that’s been a real industry innovator for nearly two decades. I bought my first Line 6 guitar amp back in 2001 and have been hooked on the company’s products ever since. At this point, it’d be a neck-and-neck battle between Line 6 and Apple as far as which company has made a bigger dent in my overall net worth.

One thing that Line 6 has done recently that’s really intriguing is the development of “remote” apps that work wirelessly with its various products. The first of these connected-app lines is the Amplifi guitar amp/smart speaker system.  Amplifi was designed to bridge the gap between practicing at home and jamming with other musicians. At home, the Amplifi could be used as a speaker for entertainment systems. At the rehearsal space, Amplifi also works as a full-power electric guitar amp.

Amplifi is also the first Line 6 product to use a remote app to control different features of the device. The app originally launched for Android and iOS, running both on iPhone and iPad. Now, Line 6 has brought its Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch:

The new AMPLIFi Remote v2.11 update enables guitar players to control and access guitar tones via Apple Watch. Guitarists can now access tones, control levels, search the Line 6 Tone Cloud, and use the tuner, right from their wrist. AMPLIFi Remote works with the entire AMPLIFi family, and provides guitarists with unprecedented control over every aspect of their guitar tone and effects.

Amplifi Remote features such as Tuner, MyTones and master/instrument level controls will be accessibly directly on the Apple Watch version of the app. Users will also be able to do a “dictation search” of Line 6’s Tone Cloud service, which will allow them to use vocal requests to search thru guitar tones saved to Line 6’s cloud service. Tones can then be quickly loaded onto an Amplifi device for immediate use.

It’s great to see Line 6’s continued development of things like the Amplifi Remote App. The company has also started rolling out other products that work with similar apps. I’m definitely excited to see what else Line 6 comes up with this year.


Line 6 Releases new G70 Digital Wireless System



Line 6 logoAs a performing musician, it can be a real drag to have to deal with an instrument cable hanging off behind you on stage. You never know for sure if that cord is going to get tangled up in a weird way, potentially damaging your gear (or maybe even you!). Also, cables can be limiting in terms of mobility. Because sometimes, you just want to get out into the crowd and get up close with your audience during a show. Fortunately, modern music makers have access to wireless transmitters that can fix both of these problems. And audio equipment/musical instrument manufacturer Line 6 has just released the most advanced guitar wireless system ever, the Relay G70.

The G70 supports multiple transmitters so musicians can instantly switch between instruments. Each transmitter features a locking 1/4” input that allows guitarists to plug right in without requiring any special cables or adapters. User-programmable presets on the receiver enable performers to control each instrument’s signal routing, levels and more, with the single press of a footswitch. For example, guitarists can route an electric guitar to an amp via one of two assignable 1/4″ outputs, and an acoustic guitar to the PA system through the assignable XLR output. A dedicated always-on 1/4″ tuner output is also provided, in addition to a built-in tuner. And to preserve battery life in multi-instrument setups, the new intelligent sleep mode allows you to leave all your transmitters on with minimal battery drain while connected to the instruments you’re not actively playing.

Relay G70 provides the lowest latency of any digital wireless system, coming in at under 1.5ms. A custom-designed radio with four calibrated internal antennas delivers a lossless 24-bit digital signal and a wide dynamic range of over 120dB. The G70 also never compresses the signal, providing guitarists with the purest possible audio quality. Performers will enjoy 8+ hours of battery life with standard AA batteries, plus up to 70 hours of standby time thanks to the intelligent sleep mode. The Relay system features a rugged but familiar stompbox-style form factor that integrates easily with an existing guitar pedalboard.

Relay G70 is available now for purchase from most audio gear/musical instrument vendors. One receiver and transmitter retails for $699.99 and additional Relay TB516G transmitters are priced at $279.99 each.


IK Multimedia’s iRig 2 is Here for On-The-Go Music Production



iRig 2One of the more remarkable developments that’s happened in the post-iOS world is the rise of hardware and software that allows an iPad or iPhone user to create high-quality multitrack audio. One of the pioneers in this mobile recording technology is IK Multimedia. The company kicked things off with its simple but effective iRig, an adapter that connected to an iOS device’s headphone port and allowed users to plug in instruments like guitars and then use those instruments to interact with a wide range of apps.

Now IK Multimedia has upped the game with the release of its iRig 2. It improves on its predecessor by providing better sound quality and more universal compatibility. It does this while maintaining the convenience and ease-of-use that have made it a staple piece of gear for many musicians.

Like the first iRig, the new iRig 2 plugs directly into the headphone jack input of a mobile device. It lets musicians send an instrument signal to apps, such as IK’s AmpliTube, while also providing on-board output for real-time monitoring. Unlike the original iRig, the new model comes with a built-in gain control. This means that it can be customized to always provide the best sound, no matter what type of guitar, bass or line-level instrument or device is used.

Continue reading IK Multimedia’s iRig 2 is Here for On-The-Go Music Production


Roadie Tuner Automagically Tunes Your Guitar at CES



Roadie Tuner logoWhether you’re a musician or a music lover, no one appreciates an out-of-tune instrument. And while there are many solutions available to help players keep their strings properly tuned, they usually require clunky workarounds or inaccurate devices.

Todd and Nick met with Sam Force of the company Band Industries. Sam showed off the Roadie Tuner, a mechanical Bluetooth-enabled guitar tuner. Just place Roadie Tuner over your instrument’s tuning pegs and the connected smartphone app takes over, analyzing the sound coming from the strings and commanding Roadie Tuner to turn the pegs accordingly.

Roadie Tuner would be a great accessory for beginners and seasoned players alike. It is currently available for $99 direct from the Roadie Tuner website as well as a growing number of retail outlets.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Jamstik Guitar For Your iPad



Zivix LogoLearning to play a musical instrument is both challenging and rewarding but fitting practice into today’s busy lives can be difficult. Zivix Jamstik – the guitar for iOS – could be the answer. Chris Heille from Zivix shows the two Todds a few riffs.

The Jamstik is 16″ lightweight, portable guitar with six real strings and five frets designed to fit into modern life. It’s also a MIDI guitar controller which wirelessly connects with the iPad, iPhone and Mac. The Jamstik gives you the ability to use all of the nuances of guitar playing to control your favourite music creation iOS apps or Mac software.

Jamstik is a new idea in guitar controllers because it uses infrared light to “see” what your hands are doing in real time. Unlike other MIDI guitar solutions that rely on audio analysis and conversion to MIDI, the Jamstik scans the fretboard to detect what your fretting hand is up to before your picking hand ever hits a string.

If you want to learn the guitar, the included JamTutor iPad app will get you going through the basics of playing guitar without the hassles of tuning, lesson scheduling or expensive guitar teachers.

The Jamstik is available now for $299 from a range of retailers including select Apple stores. If buying direct from jamstik.com, look out for the limited time discount code CES2015JSSAVER.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.

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Gibson Takes TPN Award at CES



Gibson LogoCelebrating 120 years of Gibson, Aljon Go shows Jeffrey and Todd the superb Anniversary Edition of the Les Paul Standard.  It’s stunning both in the Ocean Water Perimeter finish, the level of detail and the technology built-in. The sound of the guitar can be changed to mimic the tone of your rock’n’roll hero and Min-ETune will tune the guitar automatically. Amazing – watch the video to see the guitar adjust the keys by itself.

There’s no doubt that this is a premium product – the price for the guitar on show is $2999 – but it’s hand-crafted in the US, taking 30 days produce. Every one is a collector’s item. Sweet.

(Is it not a little bit worrying that Jeffrey’s Google Glasses match the Les Paul finish?)

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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