David Ellefson collaborated with Pocketlabworks to produce an amp modeling app that functions as both a guitar and bass amp. Not only do you get dual functionality for guitar and bass, the app comes with some settings that are specific to either guitar or bass for a nice range of sonic customization.
What is it?
David Ellefson Rock Shop from Pocketlabworks is a pint sized amp modeling app that provides huge sound. Download the app to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and plug in. This app packs a lot of functionality into a pocket sized device, and works very well as a portable practice amp.
How does it work?
Quite well, thank you. Oh, you want to know how to use it? That’s easy; once you have plugged in your hardware, tap either the Guitar or Bass button to get the model and tools specific to your instrument and start playing. You will need an iRiffPort or comparable connecting device. Plug one end of the cable into your iDevice, the other end into your instrument, then plug in either headphones or external speakers and you’re ready.
The controls consist of swipe sliders and some buttons. The buttons are simple on/off toggles, and the slide controls use the standard left to right (less to more) arrangement. At the bottom of the screen you have buttons to access the amp settings, effects (chorus, flange, and reverb), what type of cabinet you prefer, your music list, and “setup.” The guitar amp lets you set the volume, gain, bass, and treble; you can also select the desired “channel” from clean, “British” (more mellow distortion tone), or “Metal” (brighter, more aggressive tone). The clean channel lives up to its name—very tight with a little growl showing up only if you play through a humbucker pickup and turn the gain way up. The British channel has an almost tweed sound and the metal channel wants to take you outside and rip your face off. What did you expect? This was developed with input from David Ellefson from Megadeth for cryin’ out loud.
On the bass side, you get a three band EQ, reverb and “slapback.” The slapback is basically a one hit delay. The slide control changes the interval between the actual note and the repeat. Set the slide all the way to the left and slapback is “off.”
Also available for the bass is a choice of chorus or flange with a side of reverb. With either the guitar or bass model, the reverb has a very wide range. Just a little makes for a nice, full sound. Move the slide all the way to the right and you get a monster hall reverb.
Once you have the settings where you want them you can save the presets to a list so you can switch between desired sounds quickly. The website says the list is “unlimited” so save all the guitar or bass combinations you want. The app lets you name each preset so you don’t need to worry about memorizing a bunch of numbers.
One of the best features of David Ellefson Rock Shop is the trainer option. Tap on the “music” button at the bottom of the screen and you have access to a very potent practice/training tool. You can pick a song to play along with and adjust the mix between you and the track, change the pitch of the track without changing the playback speed, change the speed of the track without changing the pitch, or create a loop so you can practice a tricky section repeatedly until you are comfortable with it. Whether you are new to guitar or have been playing for a while, this feature is incredibly handy for learning something new.
Is it contagious?
To quote Eddie Trunk, “Are you kidding me?!” Apps that are good tools really appeal to me, and this one has a lot of appeal. As a sound generator, the audio is nice and clean, the latency is almost nonexistent, and the control range is great. I played a guitar and a bass—I used high end can headphones, in ear buds, and both a solid state and tube amp—and the app sounded good through everything (best through the tube amp by a little bit, but that’s no surprise).
If you can use a practice amp that you can shove in your pocket, this is worth every bit of the asking price. The only downer is that once you start playing you will be having so much fun you might get the old “low battery” warning before you’re done playing (I got that one twice…).