Welcome back to the Musician’s Corner, where we tell you about our favorite apps and accessories for musicians and music lovers. Last week, we delved into the workings of Tab Toolkit, a sheet music app that lets you store your own song notation, plus purchase specially created files for sheet music that includes multiple instruments, real-time playback, and a whole lot more.
Today, I wanted to let you know about a really cool new instrument from Fender. The Squier by Fender USB Stratocaster Guitar lets you plug your axe directly into your iPhone or iPad.
Unlike IK Multimedia’s iRig or other guitar cord adapters, Fender went the extra mile to create a whole dang instrument that connects to your iOS device. The Squier USB Strat has bi-directional audio streaming to allow users to plug into any compatible music app and start making music. It also features a “headphone amp” so you can monitor the guitar’s sound directly instead of through the iPad or iPhone.
The guitar itself includes a pickup switch selector, volume and tone knobs, headphone volume control, a traditional 1/4-inch jack, a 1/8-inch jack, and a mini USB dock. It also comes with two cables – a 30-pin connector and a USB connector, so you can either plug the instrument into an iOS device or a USB-compatible computer.
As I mentioned, the guitar does include a traditional 1/4-inch jack so you can plug your guitar into an amp and play it loud with your bandmates. To be totally honest, I wouldn’t want to play a Squire in my band. I’m sure you can make this guitar sing like an angel when it’s connected to an iPad using lots of guitar effects, but I’ve never been able to get a good tone out of a Squier.
Apple’s product page shows that this guitar is only compatible with the first and second-generation iPad. However, we spoke with someone at Fender who is familiar with the instrument and were assured that it is compatible with the third-generation iPad and, although they have not personally tested it with the fourth-generation, there is no reason not to believe it is compatible. Obviously, if you have a device with a Lightning connector, you’re going to need to buy the 30-pin adapter in order to use the Fender USB Stratocaster.
You can purchase the iOS-compatible guitar directly from Apple’s online store for only $199, which is a pretty good price for a guitar, but makes me think it is one of the low-quality instruments in Fender’s line. As a comparison, you can get a kiddie Fender Squier for about that much.
Check out the video below to see the Squire by Fender USB Stratocaster in action. If you can’t see the ad, click here for a direct link to it on YouTube.
Thanks for reading Musician’s corner this week. We had some great suggestions last week for apps and accessories that you would like us to check out. Keep ‘em comin’. I am always interested in new music-related stuff. If you don’t want to leave a comment, you can hit me up through email and I’ll linger on your every word.