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Entries in WildChords (3)

iPad Case That Thinks It's A Guitar

As expected, the iPad is featuring heavily at CES, or rather, accessories for the iPad are popping up everywhere. SlashGear and Engadget both reported this morning on the soon-to-be-released Guitar Apprentice from ION Audio (the people that brought us the iCade and Piano Apprentice for iPad).

The idea is that keys on the $99 fretboard light up, teaching you how to play guitar and perhaps also enabling guitar games. The potential is there for this accessory to be used by iPad musicians with CoreMIDI compatible apps to play an iPad synth app for example in an iBand.

We think it is a fun and creative idea for those who already have an iPad, but if you are really looking to learn guitar, we think you should get a starter electric or acoustic guitar and, if you have an iPad, get the brilliant WildChords app by Ovelin. You'll do a much better job of learning to play real guitar that way.

5 ways to start creating wonderful content with your new iPad

So you've browsed your favourite web sites, installed Real Racing 2 HD, got up to speed on your favourite social networks and messed around with Photo Booth - what's next? If you only ever use your new iPad for consuming content, you're missing out on some of the most satisfying aspects of the iPad experience - creating content.

Here we list 5 creative things you can do with your iPad along with links to help you to explore each area in more detail.

1. Create a song with GarageBand

The arrival of GarageBand for the iPad was quite a watershed moment. That Apple brought their best of class music creation Mac OS application to the iPad showed that they had bigger plans for the iPad than many a tech pundit had assumed. GarageBand is a marvellous piece of code, a true joy to use.

App Store Link: GarageBand

More about music creation with the iPad.

2. Paint a picture with ArtRage

More than any other creative iPad activity, finger painting has really fired the imagination of the general public. ArtRage simulates various types of media with astonishing accuracy. With a little bit of care and attention ArtRage is capable of art that is almost indestinguisable from actual physical art.

App Store Link: ArtRage

More about painting with the iPad.

3. Edit a video with iMovie

Apple recently upgraded iMovie with the ability to edit many different video formats. There's a good chance that the holiday video that you shot with your digital camera this summer will now play nicely with iMovie. We use iMovie almost everyday to edit both personal and iPad Creative videos. It's a pleasure to use, fast and capable.

App Store Link: iMovie

More about video creation and editing with the iPad

4. Edit your photos with SnapSeed

The iPad is a near perfect photo presentation device, but you might be surprised at just how useful it is for editing photos too. We've used and reviewed quite a number of photo editing and photo filter apps, but it's SnapSeed, with its power and simplicity, that we recommend to new iPad owners looking to explore the world of iPad photo editing.

App Store Link: SnapSeed

More about photo editing with the iPad

5. Learn how to play the guitar with WildChords

Turn the chore of learning guitar chords into a fun experience with WildChords. WildChords is one of the most impressive apps we've seen in 2011, as we said in our review, "Far from being the trudging, demotivating type of lesson that puts so many of us off learning to play an instrument, WildChords makes learning guitar fun and keeps you coming back for more."

App Store Link: WildChords

More about learning with the iPad

6. BONUS ACTIVITY: Add iPad Creative to your iPad home screen

Go to the iPad Creative home page by clicking on this link, once the home page is open tap the action button (a box with an arrow springing out of it located to the left of the address bar) and tap 'Add to Home Screen'. Now, inspiration is only 1 finger tap away!

WildChords for iPad - Guitar Tutor Meets Pied Piper

Have you ever tried learning guitar? How far did you get?

If you're like a lot of people you probably learnt a few chords, maybe even a few songs, but never really got any better and you lost motivation. If you took guitar lessons you may have a had a guitar teacher who struggled to engage you and made learning guitar a chore, not fun.

WildChords icon

WildChords from Finnish developers Ovelin has been designed specifically to dispel these problems with learning guitar.

Using a gaming approach, combined with a carefully ramped learning curve, cute cartoon graphics and bespoke, fun sounding songs to play along with, we think WildChords has a good chance at succeeding.

We were in on the beta program for this app and we have seen it develop a great deal from the early versions but the core idea of the app has remained the same: to make it fun to learn.

Here's a promo video made for WildChords that shows off the quirky European sense of humour that we love.

The story

As you will have seen in the video above, the idea behind the game is that a lot of animals have escaped from a nearby zoo and are now terrorising the locals.

You play our brave guitar hero, who takes to the streets armed with the knowledge that the escaped animals can be corralled pied-piper like by playing the corresponding chord. A for Apes, C for Crocodiles, E for Elephants, and so on.

Using a real guitar (acoustic or electric) you play the chords shown as our cartoon hero marches down the street. No plastic guitars allowed here! This is about learning to play guitar for real.

As each new chord is introduced there is a little tutorial showing you how to play the chord and where each finger should go.

The iPad's built-in microphone picks up how well you play the chord and lights up the string for each note that is sounded correctly.

Moving on

Once you have started getting used to playing the chords and as you move up through the levels you get to move on and play individual notes. The cartoon-like graphics continue here, with cute little birds sitting on telegraph wires, getting zapped if you don't play the notes correctly.

Somehow, you are suspended from a bunch of balloons, guitar in hand and you have to play the fret and string indicated or the birds get it! As the stages progress it gets trickier, requiring quite a bit of concentration.

Even though we've played guitar before, we found ourselves sweating a bit and getting quite tense on these levels.

 

What's it like to play?

WildChords really is a lot of fun to play and at the same time quite challenging. Each time you strum a chord it has to ring out correctly and you have to hit the timing bang on if you want to do well.

Far from being the trudging, demotivating type of lesson that puts so many of us off learning to play an instrument, WildChords makes learning guitar fun and keeps you coming back for more.

Rewards

Do you like collecting gold stars? We do!

WildChords rewards accuracy and timing with the oft-used three gold stars at the end of each level. Which is clever, because not getting three stars is annoying, especially when trying to learn a new skill, like playing guitar.

If you're determined to do this right, you'll want another go at the level, and another, until you get those three gold stars.

More lessons

WildChords starts as a free download and this will get you a long way towards making more recognisable sounds from your guitar.

If you have completed all these initial tutorials you can extend your skills and buy further tutorial 'packs' which include new challenges and some new chords and even scales.

These packs are currently available as in-app purchases for just $2.99 (£1.99), which is not bad at all and a great deal cheaper than a single guitar lesson.

Even if you don't want to pay for the extra lessons, the WildChords app is a free download from the App Store, and we reckon you should go and get it.

If you do grab WildChords, don't forget to leave us a comment and let us know what you think.