New Ion Guitar Apprentice

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Lighted portable keyboards offer an extremely intuitive and user-friendly method for learning to play piano. In order to play a song, the first keys that need to be pressed are illuminated, and the next notes in the tune light up after the previous set have been played, so the user knows exactly where to strike in succession. It’s just a fun and painless way to learn to play a song. This is great for piano, organ and glockenspiel, but not very helpful if you want to learn to play some licks on a guitar. However, the announcement of the new Ion Guitar Apprentice brings the “lighted-key” method of musical training to a full-scale guitar neck.

An iPad holder is prominently placed in the body of the electric-guitar-shaped Guitar Apprentice. This dock is compatible with both the original iPad and the iPad 2. A 30-pin connector links the iPad and the Guitar Apprentice, which enables you to control any Core MIDI compatible iOS apps (including Apple’s Garageband). A free guitar training app is on the way from Ion, which takes full advantage of the Guitar Apprentice’s architecture to make learning to play guitar a little easier. Its neck is full scale, featuring 14 frets with six illuminated buttons per fret (a total of 84 buttons).

There’s a built-in speaker, so you can start playing and practicing anywhere you go. The iPad’s headphone jack is accessible for private, late-night shredding sessions. Strap buttons enable you to attach your favorite guitar strap and really rock out. Whether you need a guitar controller for your Core MIDI audio apps, or you want a fun way to learn how to play guitar with an iPad, the Ion Guitar Apprentice lets you strap on an app and learn as you tap.

Built-in Speaker Yes
Strap Buttons Yes
Controls Volume knob
Frets 14
Lighted Buttons 84
Effects (in free app) Distortion, reverb, flanger, delay
Connector 30-pin dock connector
Required Hardware iPad and iPad 2
Compatibility All Core MIDI apps

The Ion Guitar Apprentice was just announced at CES 2012, and is estimated to arrive in August.