Learning to play an instrument is hard, but technology can help you along and keep you motivated. We’ve seen a number of inventive solutions over the years – including follow-the-lights setups, others that gamify the experience and even one that puts a guitar teacher on your wrist. And now there’s the Roadie Coach, an audio recorder, music learning system and MIDI controller rolled into one.

Band Industries, the technology company behind Roadie Music, first pinged our sonar in late 2013 when a Kickstarter was launched for an automatic tuner for stringed instruments. Another three have followed in the years since, but the company’s latest gadget is a bit different.

“For the past 6 years, we have been working on perfecting our vibration detection technology,” said company CEO, Hassane Slaibi. “As we developed Roadie Tuners, we asked ourselves, ‘what can we learn by leaving our sensor on the instrument while playing rather than just while tuning?’ The answer was an absolute deluge of new data points and from this, the idea for Roadie Coach was born.”

The blocky device clamps onto a host acoustic/electric guitar or ukulele, with an adjustable grip for different body widths and padding to protect the instrument.

The Roadie Coach works with a companion mobile app over Bluetooth to help students to learn songs, skills and techniques
The Roadie Coach works with a companion mobile app over Bluetooth to help students to learn songs, skills and techniques

Band Industries

There’s a piezo sensor and a microphone built-in, and it has two LED touch strips on top that allow users to interface with the device, keep track of progress or adjust gain. Features such as dialing in digital effects or firing MIDI commands are also in the works.

An electric guitar or external mic can be plugged in via the 3.5-mm audio input at one end, which sits next to a 3.5-mm audio output for headphone monitoring. And an internal battery caters for continuous recording for up to six hours, and is topped over via USB-C.

The Roadie Coach works with a companion mobile app over Bluetooth to help students learn songs, skills and techniques. Hundreds of popular tracks are available across numerous genres, the app can break tunes into manageable chunks and slow the songs down to cater for learning at your own pace. Backing tracks can be played to help with focus, and songs can be moved to a different key if that’s more comfortable.

Hundreds of songs, tutorials and exercise are available to help students learn to play
Hundreds of songs, tutorials and exercise are available to help students learn to play

Band Industries

The learning system uses the onboard mics to analyze what’s being played and provides feedback along the way to help improve skills and maintain progress, suggesting areas that may need more attention and offering tutorials and exercises for nailing technique. The setup also allows students to share learning data with a music teacher or mentor.

The built-in mic can pick up vocals too, so the device can help those who want to master singing and playing at the same time, with feedback available on both.

The Roadie Coach has other tricks up its sleeve too. It can serve as a portable multi-track recorder, with ideas, jams and practice sessions automatically organized in folders for easy access to practice histories and metrics. It will work as a contact microphone when playing live or as a micro amp when practicing electric guitar. And it supports Bluetooth MIDI, with both touch surfaces available for assigning to controls, tools or parameters in music production software.

The Roadie Coach is an audio recorder, music learning system and MIDI controller rolled into one portable device
The Roadie Coach is an audio recorder, music learning system and MIDI controller rolled into one portable device

Band Industries

As with the Roadie tuners, this latest creation certainly looks like a useful piece of kit. As before, the Roadie Music team is taking to Kickstarter to raise production funds for the Roadie Coach. Pledges start at US$129 at the time of writing. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October ahead of general availability. The video below has more.

Roadie Coach: Music Tutor, Smart Recorder & MIDI Controller

Source: Band Industries

Audio New Atlas