I’ve just been delving into the guitar world of Jimi Hendrix via IK Multimedia’s new app Amplitube Jimi Hendrix for iPad ($15.99 from the App Store) . This ingenious app models the range of guitar sounds that Hendrix actually used and is similar in concept to Amplitube Slash which I looked at last year.
In the Hendrixsphere you get a choice of two amplifiers – The JH Gold based on a Marshall and the JH Dual based on a Fender. For speaker cabinets you can choose between 4 x 12” or 2 x 15″ and decide whether you’d like a condenser mic or a or a dynamic mic effect to capture the sound. But to get the real Jimi Hendrix sound you’ll need his favourite stomp boxes or foot pedals. Three of them come with the app and a fourth one is available on registration. Convincingly distressed from hard use. A noise filter pedal has been added, as they say, “to keep the high-gain sounds under control.”
The full range of what are now standard Amplitube features are built-in. These include a quick and accurate tuner, a tap-tempo metronome and single-track recorder, this one with a nice 70s retro reel-to-reel look.You can load tracks from the iTunes library on your iPad if you want to play along to some of your favourites. There’s also a wide range of presets. And this is where Jimi Hendrix differs from IK Multimedia’s previous offerings. Instead of generic presets, you get the actual sounds that Hendrix used on a song-by-song basis, over 40 in fact.
In most of the songs you get separate presets for the rhythm part and the solo. To make things even better you can load in any Jimi Hendrix songs you have on your iPad and play along with them. You can also slow down the tempo without changing pitch so you can get a better idea of what he was up to. When you’ve nailed that, use the NO VOICE feature to remove the vocal track and sing it yourself. Instant Jimi!
But there’s more. The app has a MIDI feature, which allows you to use an external MIDI controller to control the effects parameters. For example with a MIDI pedal you can operate the wah effect to get even closer to the fabled sound. The MIDI option is an in-app purchase and you’ll need a MIDI interface such as iRig MIDI.
Of course you will also need a guitar interface into your iPad to get the whole thing working. Robust and reliable, the iRig Stomp has served me very well in all my recent live gigs. Another option is the just-released iRig HD. Both well worth a look.
Summing it all up, this is a very impressive app. With its clever discography of presets and the addition of MIDI functionality, the boundaries of guitar modelling iPad apps have been pushed even further. I’m not particularly a Jimi Hendrix fan but I had a lot of fun playing through the presets and seeing onscreen the settings he actually used. Now if they could do the same for Mark Knopfler or Hank Marvin I’d be even more impressed.