Saturday
Apr022011

« -Tascam Portable Recorder »

I honestly don't know how I lived without the Tascam GT-R1!  It's the 'jack of all trades, master of none' that is well worth the compromises.  The GT-R1 is a battery powered digital recorder and player with features tailored specifically for working guitarists and bassists.  It's a constant companion that I use to learn new music, chart songs, 'refresh' my memory before shows, record rehearsals and as a great quickee songwriting recorder.  

Charting songs is one of my most ubiquitous tasks as a 'hired-gun' bassist.  It seems I exist in a constant loop of performance, recording, charting, performance, recording, charting...  Charts, if you're not "in the know", are basically a musical shorthand road-map that allows a player to quickly digest what's happening in a song that they aren't very familiar with and enable them to play along in real-time.  Charts are indispensable in recording sessions and used far more than you'd guess in live concerts (the art of using charts in a live performance is learning to use them so the audience has no idea at all that you are!).  For the record, I'm a compulsive 'over-preparer', but sometimes I simply don't have the time to memorize dozens of songs for an impromptu, one-off concert.  As my friend & colleague Andy Gurley says: "They won't remember if you used charts, but they WILL remember if you screwed up!". Good point, Andy!  It's worth mentioning that I use and recommend the Nashville Numbers System when charting.  It's an excellent system for virtually all popular styles of music!

The GT-R1 combines, in a single unit, a bunch of tools that make learning music extremely easy and convenient!  It has a decent stereo microphone for capturing rehearsals or for recording song ideas as they form.  It only takes a few seconds to power up & start recording.  You can even overdub additional parts on top of your recorded track.  The GT-R1 also lets you plug in & use headphones- again to record, play along with music on the device, or just practice.  A full suite of amp emulation lets you get a decent tone and there is a feature-packed metronome with pretty great drum patterns to play along with in a myriad of styles.  The built-in tuner is accurate and convenient.  The GT-R1 really shines in it's ability to play back music you are learning at different speeds (without changing the pitch).  It also can transpose what you are listening to into any key!  An easy to use 'loop' feature is helpful when learning tricky passages.  Tascam pretty much thought of everything!

As I stated above, the GT-R1 falls into the "jack of all trades master of none" category.  It's sound quality is good, but not amazing;  it's metronome is robust, but there is no tappable tempo; the amp emulations are serviceable, but not inspiring; etc...  Still, this little box does so much & does these tasks well!  The battery life is very long and can either charge plugged into the wall or over USB.  The GT-R1 has a removable sd card for even more flexibility and storage options.

Overall, the Tascam makes my life as a professional musician much easier!  I used to have to bring a separate mp3 player, headphone amp & laptop if I wanted to accomplish everything that this hand-held unit does.  It's truly amazing!

 

 

Tech Talk

Tascam GT-R1 available online or stores everywhere!  product details at Tascam

My GT-R1 on the job!

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