5 gadgets to tune up your inner musician

Embrace technology to tame your musical wanderings and set you on a path to international stardom. Or a five second spot on BGT

If you thought playing good music was all down to practice, think again, technology can push you further.


£10, snarktuners.com

Rid your gigs of atonal inter-song twangings with this neat clip-on tuner. You don’t even have to plug it in – it hears your instrument’s vibrations through the headstock without picking up the honks and bonks of the rest of the band. And it’s chromatic, so you can tune down a half step for that ultimate Hendrix tone. Available for guitar, violin, bass and ukelele.

Vox amPhone

From £85, voxamps.com

Do your neighbours a favour and practice in silence. Vox – the company that made amps for the 1960s ‘British Invasion’ – has made these headphones that plug directly into your instrument, feeding pre-amp modelled sound directly to your ears. They’re available in four flavours: AC30 (Vox’s classic amp), Twin (American tube amp), Lead (British crunch) and Bass (er, bass). They come preloaded with effects and can be used as normal headphones when your fingers start to bleed.

Akai LPK25

From £35, akaipro.com

In terms of stagecraft Akai’s mini LPK25 is right up there with the keytar for making you look naff, but when you need a nifty velocity-sensitive ‘board to use as a midi trigger or for plugging grooves into GarageBand, you won’t find a better value sidekick than this 25-key deck. It’s lacking a mod wheel, but you’ll forget about that once you start mucking about with the built-in arpeggiator. And it plugs directly into your PC or Mac via USB. Neat.

Tascam DP-008EX

£260, tascam.com

Studios are expensive, often smelly and usually come with an ill-tempered engineer (also often smelly). Not so Tascam’s digital Pocketstudio range, which makes recording, editing, mixing and mastering the work of moments. Recording is direct to SD, so you can export your opus to a computer in order to email it to Simon Cowell.

Korg KDM2

£35, korg.com

How do you know if there’s a drummer at the door? The knocks speed up (badom-tish, etc). It’s not just the hairy bloke sitting at the skins who could do with his tuning his inner click, though – all musicians should discipline their grooves. This meaty metronome has a range of tones to cut through the noise and a blinking light for, well, drummers probably.