Ultimate Guitar Lesson

Ultimate Guitar Lesson

MP-GT1 (Scroll down for Price/Vendor Info)

Update: Unfortunately the MP-GT1 has been discontinued, or at least is not available anywhere I've linked to at this time.

I've been waiting for something like this for a LONG time. Yes there is excellent software out there for your computer that will basically accomplish most of what the MP-GT1 will, but I wanted a stand alone contraption I could take on the road with me. I also use it teaching and would rather carry this around than my laptop. I can plug my guitar right into it and the built in effects make practising with it tolerable. But what I've mostly been using it for is to transcribe solos. Typically I can skip the VSA (variable speed adjust) and simply drop the pitch and octave and the speed by half, to work on a solo. The sound quality is excellent using this method. I can set an IN and an OUT point and loop that part of the phrase I'm working on. How cool is that?! After I've got the solo together I can gradually up the speed- now at the original pitch using VSA. Build up speed and bring it up to tempo! It's so much more practically easy to do that I'm actually doing it instead of having those solos on a list I've been meaning to get around to.

I knew I had to have one the minute I read about it. I'm really happy with it and I'm getting great use out of it. That said, let me tell you what is a royal pain about it, and what I hope will be addressed in the next version or perhaps even a Firmware update.
-That you have to scroll wheel through a series of menus to adjust the speed/pitch. For instance, if you have a section dropped down and octave/50% speed, and you're getting it, and want to try it up to speed, you have to Enter> Tempo> Scroll past different settings and easily miss the one you want> Menu.>Menu >Menu to get back where you started at the new tempo. Not to mention that you have to adjust VSA as well as soon as you're not playing back at exactly 50%. It just seems to me that one of the four function buttons on the front panel would better have been used to turn all pitch/speed function On/Off so that it would be easy to A/B.

Another thing I don't like is how you set the loops. You set an In point and then later an Out point, but if you don't get it exactly right on either end you have to start over, i.e. Set In> let tune play or fast forward to > Set Out. Now we're looping. But I really need the next 2 notes of the phrase...Hit I/O to start over again> Navigate to the In point and hit I/O > Navigate to the new Out point and hit I/O. Kind of a pain. It would be great if there separate I and O buttons.

Just a couple of other things. Only likes 44.1 mp3s and you'll get an error message with anything else.
On a Mac anyway (and from what I read this is how it should be) the MP-GT1 shows up on your desktop as a USB drive. It's drag and drop as far as mp3s go. Your computer has to be on in order to charge the MP-GT1 (supplied mini USB cable), but if you turn on the MP-GT1, you're in hard disk mode (i.e. the computer thinks it's a hard disk and so does the MP-GT1) meaning you can't charge the unit from the computer and be using it as a player at the same time. Not sure if that would be the case if you were charging from the NOT INCLUDED (LAME) AC adaptor. (BTW, I don't have one to check with, but it seems to me a USB ipod charger might also charge your MP-GT1.) The manual says the rechargeable lithium battery, when new, lasts for 8 hours.

I currently have 140 mp3s (all high quality 192k) and have 160MB of the onboard 1Gb Flash drive storeage available.I guess it would be hipper if there was a removeable flash media slot, but I'm not going to ever really need to access more than a couple hundred tunes. I have my iPod for that.

I think those of you who want one already know it by now. It's a very cool new tool to have. If you're used to figuring out tunes/solos from cassettes (remember those days! Ugh) this is going to make transcribing SO EASY. If you're new to transcribing the MP-GT1 is going to give you your best shot at adding this new, necessary skill. OTOH, if you don't need a standalone player, slow downer, pitch shifter you can plug into with effects, you'd be fine with software on your computer. But for under $200 I mean really, it's just more fun to have it handy- backstage, the van, the beach or camping. I don't like dragging a $1500 laptop around if I don't have to.

I have the link here from Shop.com. At $149. it's about the best price I could find. If you find a better price from a reputable vendor anywhere, let me know.
Best,
Ed

My MP-GT1 Notes and Wish List

-A button to toggle Playback Control settings on and off so you can easily A/B tempo/key changes.

-Individual tune settings memory! You get a tune tweaked for transcription,i.e. tempo/key/fine-tuning/effects settings, but it's all gone when you power down. I want my whole library of tunes to hold their individual settings.

-More options on setting In/Out points. I should be able to use << or >> to navigate to a new in or out point and reset it. As it is you have to cancel both your in/out points and start all over again to set up a loop. << and >> should be live while you're in a loop.

-Too many clicks to get where you want to go. If this was a cell phone you'd find them all over the freeway- people would just throw them away.

-It's lame that the AC adaptor is a separate order.

All that said, I wouldn't be saying any of it if this weren't a very cool thing to have. I'm using it a lot. I just wish it were better.

Approximate Tempo settings to drop pitch (i.e. No VSA)
Down a 5th = Tempo: -34
Down a b5 = Tempo: -30
Down a 4th = Tempo: -25
Down a 3rd = Tempo: -21
Down a b3 = Tempo: -17

MP-GT1 Price/Vendor Comparison
TASCAM MP-GT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer Standard

TASCAM MP-GT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer Standard

240-song memory capacity (based on average 4-minute MP3 encoded at 128kbps). Variable Speed Audition changes the speed of the MP3 playback without changing the pitch. Pitch control in 1% steps so you don't have to re-tune. Seamless looping for practicing tricky passages. High-impedance 1/4" guitar input. Guitar multi-effects include overdrive, distortion, delay, flange, reverb and more. Guitar Cancel effect eliminates the guitar part from the recorded song so you can play along. Built-in tuner, oscillator and metronome. 1/8" Headphone output. Built-in rechargeable battery with 9-hour reserve (rechargeable through USB port or optional power supply). 128x64 graphic LCD display. USB jack. Auto Power Off and Hold function
$199 - Guitar Center -Free Shipping -30 Day Returns - Manufacturer Warranty

TASCAM MP-GT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

TASCAM MP-GT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

TASCAM's MP-GT1 is the first MP3 player designed for musicians. Based on the award-winning CD-GT1mkII, this fun mobile guitar trainer includes enough memory to store up to 240 songs. Guitar parts can be slowed down, looped and even eliminated to help you learn new riffs. Play back MP3s using Variable Speed Audition, which slows down the speed without changing the pitch, and sections can be seamlessly looped while practicing tricky passages. Songs can even be pitched up or down to match the tuning of your guitar, so you don't have to re-tune for every song.The guitar input lets you rock along with thick overdrive and multi-effects, including a guitar canceler so you can play along with your favorite bands. A tuner, metronome, and rechargeable battery are also built-in. All of this is packed into an MP3 player smaller than a stomp box, so stuff it in your backpack, gig bag or back pocket and hit the road.The MP-GT1 uses a high-speed USB connection to load up MP3s and charge the built-in battery. Zip through your MP3 collection using a data wheel, dedicated buttons and a graphical LCD display. A rechargeable 9-hour lithium ion battery is built into the unit, and an optional power supply is also available.
$199 - Musicians's Friend - Free Shipping - 45 Day Returns - Manufacturer Warranty

Portable MP#3 Guitar Trainer

Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

Portable MP#3 Guitar Trainer. 1/2 speed playbac without changing pitch. Built-in FX, Tuner, Memory, Battery.
$168.99 - The Nerds - $9.99 Shipping - 30 Day Returns - Manufacturer Warranty

MacBook Pro 17 Rechargeable Battery

Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

$143.50 - Yogi Computers (through Amazon) -Free Shipping - 15 Day Returns - Manufacturer Warranty

Tascam MPGT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

Tascam MPGT1 Portable MP3 Guitar Trainer

TASCAM's MP-GT1 is the first MP3 player designed for musicians. Based on the award-winning CD-GT1mkII, this fun mobile guitar trainer includes enough memory to store up to 240 songs. Guitar parts can be slowed down, looped and even eliminated to help you learn new riffs. Play back MP3s using Variable Speed Audition, which slows down the speed without changing the pitch, and sections can be seamlessly looped while practicing tricky passages. Songs can even be pitched up or down to match the tuning of your guitar, so you don't have to re-tune for every song
FREE PSP520 Power Supply (a $35.95 value!) included while supplies last!.

$179.99 - Zzounds - $9.99 Shipping - 30 Day Returns - Manufacturer Warranty