Never be without your guitar again
Guitarist is an innovative guitar simulator for the iPhone that ensures you will never again find yourself guitar-less during an inspirational moment.
Experienced guitar players can use Guitarist on the road to experiment with chord progressions, and record riffs or solos on a "musical notepad" for later study back in the studio with their full kit.
Novices can program in existing tablature and chords to popular songs, and then give note-perfect performances to their friends.
Guitarist features a selection of guitar interfaces that have been especially tailored to the iPhone to give, for the first time, the ability to play music written for a five foot mechanical device on a three inch touch screen.
The 'Manual Fret' Guitar
The Manual Fret guitar is a complete emulation of a real guitar. Traverse the full fretboard to the 21st fret, then hold the string at a fret and then tap or strum over the pickup to sound that string. Hold that string for note sustain, or release it to mute the note. Each string has a label showing the current fret for your convenience when playing. Although the multitouch capabilities of the iPhone allow you to fret and strum chords, the size of the iPhone and touchscreen limitations mean that complex chords are difficult to play, which is where the other guitars come in.
The 'Hammer On' Guitar
The Hammer-On Guitar assists your playing by removing the concept of plucking the string, and allowing you to concentrate instead on fretting notes. This uses the same principle as the real-world guitarist technique of 'Hammer-On' where notes are played by striking heavily at a fret with a finger of either hand, allowing extremely fast solos and scales to be played. With the Guitarist Hammer-On Guitar you press on a fret to play that note, and then can either Hammer-On again to a higher fret, or Pull-Off (remove your finger) to a lower fret.
The 'Tab' Guitar
The Tab Guitar takes the opposite path from the Hammer-On Guitar and removes the concept of fretting strings, allowing you to concentrate on plucking notes. With the Tab Guitar it is as if you have already trained up your fret hand to fret the song for you before you arrive at the gig, and so no longer need to worry about it. This is represented in Guitarist through the use of the standard musical notation for guitars: 'Tablature'. You will be able to find tablature to any song on the Internet, and even novices can use the Tab Guitar to play their favourite songs.
The 'Scale' Guitar
The Scale Guitar allows you to play runs through a large number of musical scales (from Blues to Chinese) in any key. Both the key and scale can be changed at any time, even while you are playing the scale but running a finger up and down the guitar neck. Not only can the Scale Guitar be used as a live performance instrument, or recorded into the current song, but it provides a useful scale teaching aid by displaying the notes in each scale in each key as you play.
Guitar Patches and Effects
Each note in Guitarist has been painstakingly sampled from a real guitar for maximum authenticity. Two separate guitar types (or 'Patches') can be loaded at any one time and recorded together into a song.
Guitarist ships with a number of patches from acoustic guitars to distorted electric guitars to a clean tone that you can use to drive any external effects you own simply by plugging the iPhone into those effects.
In addition to the effects that are pre-recorded with each patch, each of the two loaded guitar patches has a separate effects bus for you to add additional effects. Each effect is designed to look like a real effects stomp box with dials and footswitches operating as you would expect.
The Digital Delay effect allows you to mix a delayed signal into the output. Delay time can be set with a dial or by tapping a button in time with an external rhythm, and can be set from zero to infinite feedback.
The WahWah effect allows you to add expression to your song. When enabled you can operate a virtual WahWah pedal while playing by tilting the iPhone in exactly the same way that you would tilt the foot pedal.
The Fuzz effect allows you to add an extra layer of distortion to the guitar by setting a threshold limit on the signal.
Recording a Song
Notes played on any of the guitar interfaces can be recorded and overdubbed an unlimited number of times until the track is perfect. Songs are stored internally as a list of notes, rather than an audio file, and Guitarist allows you to erase recently recorded notes or even the entire last overdub if you make a mistake. This is presented with a simple interface, rather than trying to cram a complete 'piano-roll' sequencer onto the screen.
The recorded songs can be saved to the iPhone for later retrieval, and so you can build up a library of cool demos to play to your friends, or of song ideas and riffs to utilise when back in the studio with a real guitar.
The Tab Guitar
One of the more innovative aspects of Guitarist is the Tab Guitar. This allows you to program in entire songs of chords or solos, and then play back those songs merely by tapping your way through the notes. The Tab Guitar has a built in automatic strummer that strums any chords in the tab with a single tap, or you can pause your progress through the song and any point and then actually strum the current chord manually. You can even use the Tab Guitar to set up a chord progression and then step your way through the song by strumming or fingerpicking each chord manually.
The two fundamental design goals for the Tab Guitar were to make it possible for experienced guitarists to play complex chords and solos on a 3.5 inch touchscreen, and also to allow people with no guitar experience to be able to play all their favourite guitar songs live.
The key to the Tab Guitar is programming in the tablature. There are three methods of doing that: Tab Entry, Fret Entry, and Chord Entry.
Tab Entry displays a single column of digits that correspond to one column in the tab. Novices will find it easy to work their way through a downloaded piece of tablature, setting this column to the correct digits, and pressing Insert to add the column to the current song.
Fret Entry displays a scrollable fretboard, and allows more experienced users to toggle the fret that is being held for each string (or not) by tapping on the fret. When a chord has been composed then again it can be added by pressing Insert. This mode is not only faster than the Tab Entry method, but it also allows song composing on the fly by traversing the fretboard.
Chord Entry displays a list of keys and a list of chord types. The user selects one of each and can then add that chord into the song. In this mode the user can experiment with different chord progressions, and, should a preferred chord not be present in the list, you can always switch back to Fret Entry mode to enter it there.
Once programmed, the tab can be saved on the iPhone for later retrieval. This allows you not only to build up a library of recorded songs, but also a separate library of tab which can be later mixed into a song or played back live.