What we did on our holidays: a classic guitar, an iPad, Fender and iRig

This post is somewhere near the border of being off-topic but I consider it geeky enough myself to share it here.

Like many others of my generation, living their high-school day in the end of the sixties/ beginning seventies, I’m a guitar kid. Despite my heroes like Hooker and Hendrix I never had more myself than a nylon stringed Spanish instrument. And love that. This holiday I tried to bridge some gaps using today’s technology.

There are wonderful apps for an iPad like Amplitube which emulates classical Fender guitar amps, complete with distortion and the like. Using an iRig you can plug an electric guitar straight into your iPad (or iPhone). A pickup does not work on a nylon strings (no, don’t get me started on Takamine) but I did have an old Aria (a brand known over here mainly for its recorders) contact microphone. The output level of a (contact) microphone is less than that of an electric guitar, but perhaps it could work with an iRig. Googling around brought up a lot of ways to build your own contact microphone (on Youtube) but no answer to my question. So I went to a real life music shop (Westerhaven in Groningen). They shared my doubt but offered to give it a try. In case it wouldn’t work I could just return the iRig. Where do you find that in a web-shop ?

And I’m going to keep it, it does work ! This is my setup:

iRig

The signal is weak, just raise the input level in Amplitube’s settings.

Level

Of course the sound does not have the electric punch. The level of noise is acceptable with the noise filter switched off. In most settings switching that on filters out to much of the tones as well.  The tremolo of a Fender Twin is not as deep as I had hoped. But the Super-Sonic really let’s the Christmas blues scream out.

That’s it, a nice combination of classic old stuff and new technology. I’m looking forward what surprises 2012 will bring. Happy new year !

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