My iOS Guitar Journey

Back in 2013, IK launched the Blueboard, a bluetooth MIDI pedalboard with 4 buttons and, extremely importantly, two jacks for expression pedals. At launch time, it was for the iOS and Mac systems only, but no biggie, technology marches on.

Or does it? Oh IK Multimedia, what happened to you? (This may become a recurring theme as we go on). 2017 and its still just iOS and Mac…there is an android version called iKlip Stage, but it appears to only be for turning pages. And still no Windows version. Gack…

Then again, I currently have an iPhone 5 and people are always giving us old iPads, my girlfriend had an iPad Mini 1, so I figure, into the iOabySs I go. Seems #2 is taken care of

For those who know me, it doesn’t need to be said that my relationship with Apple, the company, the software and especially, the culture, couldn’t even charitably be described as “contentious”, so it was with some trepidation that I approached this, and despite not naively diving in, I was blindsided quite a few times beyond even my lowest expectations.

But the lure of a wireless MIDI pedal in the form of the Blueboard was too much for me to resist, so into the fray I go!

What were my other choices for a pedal? Well, I definitely wanted wireless and the only devices I really knew about were the Blueboard and Positive Grid’s BT-4.

Ahh, Positive Grid…Where to begin? Their amplifier software, BIAS, in my opinion is absolutely, positively amazing sounding. It gives you a LOT of control over amplifier tones, just awesome, seriously. But the implementation? Ouch. I spent many a long night trying to go to bat for the REAPER community to resolve some issues with their VST’s and really, not much help back from Positive Grid themselves. Their pages were very, VERY light on information, and at the time to me seemed quite cryptic. (of course, I would later learn that this was the bread and butter of iCulture, yet another recurring theme we will be seeing). I wasn’t confident that using a product by a company I had no confidence in, on an OS I had no confidence in, would not add undue stress to an already trying situation.

Since I had been given a Blueboard around launch date, I figured I’d dig it back out and at least start from there. Usually, I’m the guy people ask about new tech when it comes to DAWs and things, it was kind of embarrassing that I was really clueless on this mobile device guitar stuff, especially since I was already sitting on a Blueboard and definitely had a guitar, and had been carrying around the mobile devices that could run the stuff for years. I guess I always figured there were friends who had been running this stuff since it began, and they could field whatever questions anyone had.

I was a little bummed that there were just four buttons on these things, and then read that you couldn’t use two Blueboards and probably can’t use a Blueboard and a BT-4 together, but, hey, this is an experiment, we shall see how it shakes out.

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