Tascam vocal trainers and Tascam guitar trainers - review
Learn tunes at your own pace with a Tascam trainer
These devices make ideal gifts for a singer or instrumentalist who wants to learn songs and tunes by ear.
They are nifty gadgets that enable you to listen to a piece of music and slow it down as much as you like without changing the pitch. Beginners no longer need to be bewildered by trying to learn a tune at full speed.
On the other hand, if the pitch of your recording does not suit your voice or instrument, you can adjust it lower or higher until it is just right for you as well as adjusting the timing to as fast or slow as you want.
This hub reviews the different models that are available and provides links to where you can find them to buy online.
Tascam DR-1 (vocal) and Tascam GTR1 (guitar) featured to the right are the ultimate accessories. All the trainer functions are integrated with a recorder to capture tunes at sessions, workshops, lessons or rehearsals. With the guitar version it is possible to plug an electric guitar into the trainer.
IMPORTANT: Please always ask permission before recording any live music. Most session participants and workshop teachers will be happy to let you do this, but they do appreciate being asked!
These two models are expensive. If you just want the basic training function, keep reading for details of cheaper models, as well as for more details about what these fantastic gadgets can do.
Listen over and over again
Remember that wonderful tune you recorded at a session or workshop? Or that superb recording of a favourite performer on CD? How exactly was that piece performed? How did the performer get those special effects?
Maybe you even found the written music somewhere, but you either got only the bare bones in notation or you found the ornamentation as written was far too complex to follow.
Now, with a Tascam trainer, you can slow down a tune to a speed that is comfortable for you to follow.
The loop facility means you can play a small piece of the music over and over again so you can follow it note by note until you learn how to sing or play it perfectly.
A trainer for every need
The original Tascam trainers take CDs. They run on 4 AA batteries, but an optional power connector is available. If price is a consideration, a CD model will be the most economical.
Newer, more expensive, models work with mp3 files, which are uploaded via the fast USB connector. Up to 240 songs (approximately 960 hours of music) can be stored. The rechargable battery gives up to 9 hours of playback time.
It is easy to buy a Tascam trainer on-line. Amazon has some excellent offers. The prices are well below the manufacturer's recommended retail prices and shipping is free.
Pitch it, time it, tune it, go it alone
Is the tune you like in the wrong key for your voice or instrument? No worries. You can shift the pitch higher or lower until it is comfortably in your range.
If you need some help with timing, the inbuilt metronome will give you a constant beat to keep you on track. The chromatic tuner that is included will ensure that your instrument is absolutely in tune.
You can even practice playing or singing with other musicians in the comfort of your own home until you gain the confidence to do so in real life. Use the voice/instrument canceller with adjustable frequency to cancel out the sound of the part you wish to perform. Even if it does not remove the sound totally, it will make it quiet enough that you can sing or play along to the rest of the music.
If you are a guitarist, there are trainers specially for you. Your electric guitar can be plugged directly into one of these. Check out Tascam guitar trainers MPGT1 (mp3) above and CDGT2 (CD) below. Of course, singers and players of other instruments can also use these models.
Tascam guitar trainer demo
The two models below are bass guitar trainers. These are specially designed to be used by bass guitar players and will also be helpful for players of other bass instruments.
A portable aid for every musician
In folk or jazz music, learning by ear is a vital part of the process. A Tascam trainer makes this easier than ever.
Tascam vocal and guitar trainers can also be invaluable for music students learning with a teacher. The teacher can supply a recording of a practice piece. The student can listen, learn and play as often as desired.
Professional musicians, who have to learn many new pieces in a short space of time will also find life becomes much easier with a Tascam trainer.
There are real bargains to be had on eBay. If the model you want is available there, you can make fantastic savings. Some currently active eBay listings are featured below.