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PlayPro Interactive Guitar

Manufacturer: PlayPro
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided DigiFreq with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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Playing the guitar is difficult. Anyone who tells you different isnít being truthful. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get a good sound out of the guitar, but that doesnít mean the learning process has to be boring or complicated. With the right instruction, learning how to play the guitar can be fun and intuitive. If you want to learn to play the guitar, but are too afraid the task may be out of your reach, the people at PlayPro may have an answer for you with their Interactive Guitar product.

Interactive Guitar is a multimedia-based instructional program for beginners to advanced students. You begin by plugging your guitar into your PC soundcard using the included 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch adapter. The program shows you how to properly tune your guitar using the virtual tuner (which is the software equivalent of a BOSS TU-12 Chromatic Guitar Tuner). From there, youíll start by learning about picking styles and notes. Youíll then progress to chords, learn about the 12-bar blues, as well as runs and phrases and turnarounds. The program also covers specific techniques, such as hammer-ons and pull-offs, vibrato, and string bending. And as you learn to play the guitar, you will also learn about music theory so that by the time you finish the program, you will be a well-rounded musician and not just a guitar player that mimics what he/she hears. Youíll learn about patterns, improvisation, scales and modes, chord substitutions and modulation, and youíll also learn how to read tablature, standard notation, and charts. There are 200 lessons in all.

To help you through all of the material, Interactive Guitar provides a number of features that make the process fun and intuitive. The Virtual Fretboard allows you to see the fingering and note names or intervals highlighted in real-time. There are also over 55 high quality videos that show the various techniques performed from the playerís perspective. No more having to mentally flip the image to figure out exactly where your hands are supposed to be positioned. And if you are used to hearing your guitar sound with effects applied as you practice, Interactive Guitar has you covered with the Virtual Effects Rack. The Rack allows you to apply real-time effects to your guitar as you play. The effects include distortion, reverb, chorus, flanging, and delay/echo.

Of course, just learning through exercises can still be boring even with all the multimedia bells and whistles, but Interactive Guitar doesnít leave you hanging there. As you progress through the program, you can get feedback on your performance using the Comp-U-Pare technology, which is one of the main features that makes this a top-notch product. With Comp-U-Pare, you can record and compare your playing to the exercises you are performing. You are graded on accuracy, timing, and overall performance, and then the program provides comments and advice to help you improve. In addition, Interactive Guitar provides the Fifty Famous Feels backing tracks that allow you to practice all the various playing styles you may come across including country, rock, blues, funk, heavy metal, and more. The only downside here is that there are no popular songs to learn like those found in other guitar tutorial courses, such as the products from eMedia (see listing below).

Interactive Guitar is one of the most comprehensive teaching courses Iíve come across. Itís suitable for all levels of players (unless youíre already a professional, of course), and combines both traditional learning with technological enhancements in a way that makes playing the guitar an excursion rather than an exercise. And if you purchase the Deluxe edition, not only do you get the computer-based instruction, but two audio CDs and a 200-page book for those times when you want to learn on the go. For those of you looking to play bass guitar, PlayPro has you covered with their Interactive Bass product, which sports the same great features and instructional methods as those found in Interactive Guitar.
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