One might be forgiven for saying “it’s just a cable,” and that’s all the Griffin GuitarConnect Cable is at face value. But what it represents is liberation, a pathway to creativity and access to a diverse variety of reasonably good quality filters which would set you back a pretty penny in pedal form.
I’ve got an Electric Guitar and an Electric Bass tucked under a bed somewhere in this house, but I never pick up and play. I suppose the main problem is that I should be playing an acoustic, but that’s a pain in and of itself. The lack of a soundproof room, or a garage, means I’ve got a wife to contend with when it comes to making noise, so I’m confined to a pair of headphones and the odd stint on a keyboard, if I’ve got something pretty in for review.
The GuitarConnect Cable, however, brings the ability to pick up and play back to the guitar and bass, without the expense or bulk of an amplifier, or a naff and otherwise useless “practise” amp. Whilst there are other products out there that do the same thing, Line6 make some excellent ones, they’re more hardware based than a simple cable and software combination, and thus more expensive.
The GuitarConnect cable is simple, it has a quarter inch male jack for plugging into your guitar, and a 3.5mm male jack into which you can plug a pair of headphones, or a 3.5mm->RCA cable for running into the Tape input of your mixing desk or simply 3.5mm->3.5mm for going directly into your computer for recording. You can get more elaborate if you want to, but there’s really no need. You can also record directly to your iPhone if you’re on the go, but if you are interested in recording and learning from what you play, it’s best done straight onto a laptop.
GuitarConnect generally represents the cheapest way to get effected audio out of your active bass or guitar but does, of course, demand that you own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad on which to run the necessary software.
Fortunately many of us do have iPhones, and carry them around everywhere, meaning that portable practise amp could be right there, in your pocket, just waiting to go.
The cable really is meant for on-the-go, easy to pick up and play use. Freeing you from a complicated desktop setup. But this doesn’t mean you can’t introduce the iPhone into your rig as an effects unit, using the GuitarConnect either directly from your guitar, or hooked up to an FX send of your mixing desk and using the headphone out to return.
The most touted App, iShred Live, which Griffin promote along with the GuitarConnect Cable, does an admirable job of simulating effects, and is more than enough to both practise with, and even work into a solo live performance, if you’re fortunate enough to have an active acoustic guitar. It wont necessarily hold its own in a band, however, you’ll get utterly lost in the practise room loudness war and manipulating the iPhone with two hands occupied by a guitar is easier said than done. You can mount your iPhone or iPod Touch to your guitar if it’s glossy enough, and you’ve got a spare windshield mount, but this will just make it a bit more convenient to quickly switch between presets, a handy feature of iShred live, between songs.
Whilst I don’t honestly believe anyone will use GuitarConnect and iShred Live… live, it’s almost possible. A dock-adaptor pedal would be a nice, but extraordinarily insane addition to the setup, and ultimately the iPhone isn’t quite as rugged as your typical gigging gear. The GuitarConnect is very much at home, at home and presents a great way to practise leaving others in peace, and experiment with an array of effects on the cheap until you find your sound and splash out on some proper FX pedals.
Overall, the GuitarConnect Cable is a brilliant product, even if it is just a humble cable. It unlocks the door to a wealth of sonic potential and should be included in any iPhone-owning, guitar players guitar case. You can, of course, replicate the GuitarConnect with off-the-shelf adaptors and cables, but you’d be making life difficult for yourself and not saving an awful lot of money in the process. At $29.99 it’s not cheap, but it’s not too expensive either.