Ever wanted an easy way to learn how to play the guitar with music from your favorite bands? The iPhone app Jammit: Classic Rock Vol. 1 will help you learn songs with an intuitive way of teaching on the iPhone. The app features CD quality original recordings of three songs: Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen”, Foreigner’s “Dirty White Boy”, and Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”.
One of the key features is the ability to control the volume levels of the guitar on one track and the rest of the instruments (vocals/drums/bass) on another track. For instance, you can turn off the guitar track so that you can only hear the drums, vocals, and bass to jam along with. Or, if you wanted to learn how to play a guitar solo, you can listen to the guitar part by itself. It also features a slow mode which plays back the music down at half speed to help with learning. It keeps the music at the same pitch in the slower speed, which is a nice touch. There is also a synchronized tablature page that will show you what frets to hold down while the music is playing. You can also review your learning progress by using the recording mode.
As an experienced guitar player, I found some minor flaws with the application. First, the volume levels quiet down significantly when you enable the recording mode. This makes it hard to match up your guitar playing with the original recording. I would have preferred to have separate set of track levels for both playback and recording modes. There is also missing notation on the tablature for slides and bending of notes, which is noted in the “stuff you should know” section. Another thing to consider is the limited availability of songs — there are only 3 songs per game. They are planning to release several versions of the game for different rock genres and bands including White Zombie, Sum 41, Fall Out Boy, Tracy Lawrence, and many more.
Overall, this application does a good job at teaching you how to play songs on the guitar. It is a lot more fun learning to play songs with this app than using sheet music. The synchronized tablature/notation page is my favorite feature. One feature I would like to see is the ability for the tablature notes to flash when it is being played. I also liked the ability to control the levels of the songs for easy learning, especially since the tracks are from the original master recording. It is nice to play along with the original band recording, especially if you are fans of the music. This is an excellent app for people who are looking at new ways for learning how to play the guitar.
PROS: The songs are the original master recordings, synchronized tablature page, ability to record own guitar tracks, ability to change the levels of the original guitar track and the mix without the guitar, slow mode, an innovative way to learn guitar
CONS: Limited song selection, recording mode volume too low, missing notation for bends and slides, the app ignores the mute switch on the phone, uses a lot of power, no in-game purchase of additional songs.
Jammit: Classic Rock Guitar Vol. 1 is available for $6.99 in the App Store.