Incident Technologies gTar: More than just another iPhone app

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gtar

“Even if and when you do reach Jimi Hendrix-like status, the gTar can still be used as a digital guitar to hone your skills on or to show off to friends. It also looks good.” – Gizmag.com

gtarLearning to play a new song on the guitar just got a little bit easier with the “gTar”, from Incident Technologies. Forget about buying pages of sheet music or piles of books containing reams of tablature for your favorite bands. The “gTar”, in conjunction with the iPhone, has changed all that.

A Word About Incident Technologies

As a recent Silicon Valley, California start-up, the gTar is Incident Technologies’ sole claim to fame. Above and beyond profit margins, the company apparently has another ambition. All signs point to a business that wants to make learning to play guitar simple and fun, without getting caught up in glitzy and often expensive brand name products that seldom speak to the average picker.

In order to deliver accessibility to a greater number of Vai, Satriani, Petrucci, Wylde, Hetfield, Clapton or other guitar-great wannabes, the folks at Incident Technologies have a plan. According to the gTar website, “By empowering anybody with the tools to enjoy, create, and perform music naturally and intuitively, we seek to keep music core to the human experience for everyone.”

What Does the gTar Look Like?

The gTar, manufactured in China, resembles a life-size Fender-looking double cut-away, electric solid body, complete with a pick guard, bridge and a realistically sized neck with frets, pointed headstock and corresponding tuners.

Though not an actual instrument, the gTar is pretty convincing. What gives it away is the absence of pick-ups, control knobs and instrument cables. There’s no need for an amplifier, either. Instead, an iPhone, which slips into the body of the gTar, does everything and then some.

How Does It Work?

In order to operate the digital gTar, first you’ll need to own an iPhone 4, or a newer model, which conveniently slips into a routed area on the instrument, where control knobs would be on the real thing. Then, once the gTar app is dialed up, sweet music is just a strum away. Select a tune and the notes for the song are neatly displayed in tablature on the iPhone and simultaneously in small LEDs on the fretboard.

The next step is to choose a playing level: easy, moderate or hard. In the easy mode, only the open strings are played. You heard correctly, yes there are strings. The moderate stage is more like a true guitar because the strings require some fretting. Hard involves precisely knowing the fingering positions of all the notes and chords.

Where does the sound come out? The answer is of course, the iPhone. Minute sound sensors transmit data, from the strings and neck to the iPhone, while it’s embedded in the gTar.

Some Cons

Comparisons have already been made to other visual game trainers, namely Rocksmith.

As Dave Parrack points out in an article published in gizmag.com on May 22, 2012, “gTar uses an iPhone to teach you the guitar,” “There are other options to consider though, such as Rocksmith, a game/training tool available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360…At least with Rocksmith you end up with a real guitar after the lessons have come to an end rather than a digital copy.”

Something else to contend with is the price. The gTar retails for about $449, plus the cost of an iPhone, if not already an owner of one.

Is the gTar worth the price? Parrack states on gizmag, about the gTar, that “… it’s not just a learning tool.”

But part of the good-time experience of being a guitar player is being able to grow into better songs. Greater confidence and improved ability goes hand-in-hand with upgrading to a better guitar.

While the gTar from Incident Technologies offers the convenience of a contemporary iPhone app to aspiring musicians, there is no substitute for the real thing.

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Paul Wolfle

As a vintage and contemporary music enthusiast, guitars dominate Paul’s life. He plays slide in open tunings on a National Steel Tricone resonator and electric blues, in standard tuning, on an assortment of other instruments including his white Fender Stratocaster.

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