Wristruments puts a personal guitar teacher on your wrist
We've seen a number of novel ways to learn to play guitar over the years, including LED sleeves that light up the fretboard, software that picks out chords from MP3s and gets you playing along to favorites, and a Gibson app that puts a guitar teacher in your pocket. The upcoming Wristruments app also puts guitar tuition within reach, but this time on a smartwatch.
Currently raising development funds on Kickstarter, the Wristruments app will be compatible with Apple Watch, Google Wear and Samsung smartwatches. It serves as a metronome, instructor, sheet music and song library, and instrument tuner.
The app springs to life when the smartwatch microphone detects the student starting to play, striking a power chord for example. The idea is to wear your smartwatch so that the face is showing on the inner wrist, so what you need to know is always in your line of sight.
Three learning modes are offered: learn, practice or play. Learn mode is a hybrid mode that presents video lessons on a smartphone or tablet screen while the watch displays real-time instructions. The video will pause at certain points so that the student can try out what's being shown.
Practice mode feeds morsels of useful info into jam sessions so that you learn the tricks of the trade without even thinking about it. And Play mode allows you to select a song from the library and learn to play the rhythm or lead parts – or both.
Usefully, the guitar fretboard presented onscreen moves position as your hand moves up and down the neck, so that the visual representation always matches where you are. Multi-player caters for other learners to join in.
The developers say that one of the cool things about the Wristruments app is that it learns about you as a student and player as you go along, re-assessing your progress every time you play and allowing for a more tailored teaching experience.
The team has successfully beta-tested the app and is now looking to add a final polish and get it on the smartwatches of would-be Paul Gilberts or Joe Satrianis. Kickstarter pledges start at US$29 for a year's premium subscription with availability estimated for December, if all goes to plan.
Learning to play an instrument is hard work and there are no real shortcuts, but as this app is designed to fit into your busy life and personalize the learning experience to your needs and skills, it may prove less of a chore than sitting in front of generic YouTube videos or going old school and reading notation. The video below has more.
Update July 27, 2020: A new Kickstarter has been launched to fund the app's production, with pledges now starting at US$39.