Alex Skolnick Trio Performs With AmpKit & AmpKit LiNK During Week of WWDC 2011

June 15th, 2011 by John Liu

WWDC 2011 iOS 5 Banner

Along with about 5200 other developers from around the world, our team gathered in San Francisco last week to learn about the latest in iOS and Mac OS X technologies at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). While we were there, we also hosted two evening performances by the Alex Skolnick Trio playing live with our AmpKit guitar amps and effects app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. We wanted to share the events broadly with anyone interested in the intersection of music and mobile technology, so we filmed HD videos of one of the performances. Links to the videos and an overview of the trio’s setup are provided below.

Perhaps best known as a member of the thrash metal band Testament, Alex Skolnick thrives on the duality of playing metal and jazz music, as he shares in “Alex Skolnick: Double Identity.” We first connected with Alex back in January to kick off the 2011 NAMM Media Preview Day. He demonstrated AmpKit’s wide range of tones and his versatility by playing both jazz and metal riffs using AmpKit on iPad. In the weeks following NAMM, we kept in touch with Alex who continued to explore AmpKit and created his favorite AmpKit setups to share with other users.

At the end of March, the Alex Skolnick Trio released their fourth album, Veritas. The eleven-track album with nine original compositions includes a cover of Metallica‘s “Fade to Black” and a song named “99/09″ that gets us tapping our feet and nodding our heads whenever we listen to it. The trio performed those two songs and other selections from Veritas during the live events last week. They also played “Skol Blues” from their debut album, Goodbye to Romance (see video below).Alex Skolnick Trio AmpKit Video

The events last week took place at the Apple Store, San Francisco on Monday evening, June 6, and at the Marriott Marquis on Wednesday evening, June 8. The audience for both events included WWDC attendees and San Francisco jazz enthusiasts, including many long-time fans of Alex, a Bay Area native.

Alex Skolnick Performing with AmpKit Both Alex on guitar and Nathan Peck on bass used AmpKit on iPads for their amp and effects tone (Alex also used a looper pedal which, along with foot control, is on our radar screen for future products). To connect their instruments to iPads, Alex and Nathan used the Peavey AmpKit LiNK guitar interface. The outputs of the AmpKit LiNKs were wired directly to a PA system. Scott Amendola, a Bay Area drummer who sat in for trio drummer Matt Zebroski, played his drum kit as well as a drum kit in GarageBand on an iPad to add special effects. Check out these videos of the trio playing “99/09” and the cover of Metallica’s “Fade to Black” during the performance at the Marriott Marquis.

We want to thank the Alex Skolnick Trio, the Apple Store, San Francisco, the Marriott Marquis, and everyone who came out to the two events last week. We’ll be repeating the performance at the Apple Store, Upper West Side in Manhattan on June 21 from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. If you’re in the area, we hope to see you there.

Guitar World Lick of the Day Celebrates 500,000 Downloads!

March 21st, 2011 by John Liu

Guitar World Lick of the DayWe’re really excited to announce along with our partners at Guitar World, the world’s best selling guitar magazine, that Guitar World Lick of the Day for iPhone / iPad / iPod touch passed 500,000 downloads less than three months after its launch! We hope you’ll celebrate with us by downloading the latest release of Lick of the Day from the App Store and taking advantage of over 50% discounts on in-app subscriptions for a limited time.

Lick of the Day on iPadGuitar World Lick of the Day provides guitar players of all levels with a fun and engaging way to improve their guitar skills across a wide range of styles: rock, metal, blues, country, jazz, and more. Lick of the Day can be downloaded for free to evaluate its instructional content and features. To receive a new and challenging lick every day, subscriptions can be easily purchased within the app.

Guitar World Lick of the Day offers a one-of-a-kind feature set that includes:
  • high quality videos of Guitar World’s award-winning instructors and amazing guitar celebrities such as Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, and Gus G demonstrating licks.
  • scrolling tab and standard music notation for each lick.
  • practice mode settings that control music notation tempo, looping, audio synthesis, a metronome and more.
  • a visual fretboard that shows finger positions synchronized with the scrolling music notation.
The new release of Guitar World Lick of the Day introduces several new features, including sponsored licks that provide Lick of the Day users with a way to enjoy additional high quality licks for free.  Sponsored licks begin with a short video message about the sponsor’s product and include all the features that make Lick of the Day a groundbreaking guitar instruction app.  Other new features include AirPlay support on iOS 4.3 devices, full support for landscape orientation on the iPhone and iPod touch, synchronization of favorite licks across subscribers’ devices, and the option to receive notifications when new licks are available.

We hope you’ll celebrate with us by downloading the latest release of Lick of the Day and taking advantage of the special discounts on in-app subscriptions. After celebrating just a bit, we’ll be getting back to the next release that we’re already hard at work on!

The 2011 NAMM Show – What A Difference A Year Makes!

January 18th, 2011 by John Liu

GuitarToolkit, TabToolkit, AmpKit, Guitar World Lick of the Day IconsIt’s a bit striking to compare Agile Partners’ participation in NAMM (the music industry’s largest and most important event) this year versus last year. Last year, a couple of us simply walked the 2010 NAMM Show floor, learned what NAMM is all about, and frankly, were a bit overwhelmed by the 80,000 attendees and cacophony of sounds that permeated the Anaheim Convention Center. This year, not only did we set up a triple-kiosk exhibit that featured our AmpKit, Guitar World Lick of the Day, GuitarToolkit and TabToolkit apps, but we were also fortunate to share some incredible experiences with renowned artists that we’ll remember for a long time.

NAMM Media Preview Day
We started 2011 NAMM with the Media Preview Day on Wednesday, January 12, the day before the show opened. Agile Partners was honored to kick off the Media Preview event with a presentation of our AmpKit and Guitar World Lick of the Day apps to a swarm of reporters and photographers from around the world. Helping us to present our two highly acclaimed apps were none other than Alex Skolnick from Testament / Alex Skolnick Trio and Phil Collen from Def Leppard. Alex Skolnick went on stage first to talk about and play guitar with AmpKit on iPad. Next on stage was legendary rocker Phil Collen who also played guitar using AmpKit and talked about our Guitar World Lick of the Day app. Here’s Alex playing some incredibly beautiful jazz and serious metal tones, and Phil giving a Lick of the Day lesson to the NAMM media – all using AmpKit.

Phil Collen and Alex SkolnickFollowing our presentation to the media, Alex and Phil walked over to Agile Partners’ exhibit with a crowd of reporters and photographers following closely behind. For the next three hours, the two kind and gracious artists continued to play guitar, answer reporters’ questions, and just make sure everyone was having a really great time. Phil and Alex are two of the kindest and most gracious — not to mention talented — people you will ever meet on this planet. It was a real treat not only to have them at our exhibit, but to hear them play amazing guitar using AmpKit!

While Alex and Phil were hanging out at our exhibit, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was being honored on the NAMM Media Preview stage for his efforts to give more school kids access to musical instruments. When the press asked Huckabee if he could play a little bass, someone suggested that he jam with Phil Collen. Being the incredibly gracious person that he is, Phil agreed to do so. Taking AmpKit on iPad with him, Phil joined Huckabee on stage with Martin Guitar’s Dick Boak. What followed was a highlight of the entire 2011 NAMM Show.

Dueling iPads
Jordan Rudess and Rob MathOur memorable NAMM moments continued after Media Preview Day when our exhibit area became the scene of an amazing performance: Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess came to our booth to jam on keyboard and his MorphWiz app with Rob Math, the guitar virtuoso who played guitar using AmpKit at our booth during the entire NAMM Show. Although the two musicians had never played together, their impromptu NAMM jam (which we billed as “Dueling iPads”) was a beautiful performance that gave many of us in the audience goose pimples.

Joel Kosche from Collective Soul
Collective Soul's Joel KoscheAgile Partners was also thrilled to have Joel Kosche, Collective Soul’s lead guitarist, play guitar using AmpKit at our NAMM booth. Joel recently released a full-length solo album, Fight Years, and has been playing guitar using AmpKit for several months. He says he finds AmpKit really useful for “practicing and recording ideas for songs, especially while traveling.” Joel is not only a talented artist, but also a gracious person as demonstrated by the many interviews he gave and autographs he signed while at our booth. He also emailed us several of his AmpKit presets to share with other AmpKit users. Many thanks Joel!

Last But Absolutely Not Least!
We also want to thank the thousands of people who stopped by our exhibit during the four-day 2011 NAMM Show. Our team particularly enjoyed meeting “NAMM families” – families that included moms, dads, and children of all ages. What a great way to enjoy not just the NAMM Show, but music in general! We particularly got a kick out of watching parents and their kids jamming together with guitars and AmpKit at our booth.

Finally, to all our customers who visited our exhibit and told us that you have been enjoying one, two, three or all four of our guitar apps – thank you! We assure you that Agile Partners continues to work hard at enhancing all of our products, ensuring they remain among the very best apps in the entire App Store.

Guitar World Lick of the Day Launches to Rave Reviews

December 18th, 2010 by John Liu

Guitar World Lick of the Day

It’s been just over a month since the release of Guitar World Lick of the Day, the groundbreaking guitar instruction app that we launched with our friends at Guitar World, the world’s best-selling guitar magazine. Lick of the Day provides guitar players of all levels with a fun and engaging way to improve their guitar skills anytime and anywhere on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  The app offers a one-of-a-kind feature set that includes:
  • high quality videos of Guitar World’s award-winning instructors and amazing guitar celebrities such as Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, and Gus G demonstrating licks in a wide range of styles: Rock, Metal, Blues, Country, Jazz, and more.
  • practice mode with settings that control music notation tempo, looping, audio synthesis, a metronome, and more.
  • a visual fretboard that shows finger positions synchronized with the scrolling music notation.
  • tab and standard music notation for each lick that scroll in sync with videos on iPad.
Soon after the launch of Guitar World Lick of the Day, the app was featured as both the iPhone and iPad App of the Week on the iTunes App Store. The feature helped propel Lick of the Day to be among the top apps in the App Store Music category. In the US and other countries around the world, Lick of the Day remained the iPhone and iPad App of the Week from November 18 through December 2.

Lick of the Day App of the Week Feature

With amazing content produced daily by Guitar World and the kind of polished user experience that our customers have come to expect from Agile Partners’ apps, it’s not surprising that Guitar World Lick of the Day has received rave reviews around the world:
  • The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW): “If you’re a guitar player and you’re looking to improve your skills and techniques, we’d definitely recommend you go and check out Lick of the Day, now!”
  • Boles Blues: “Guitar World’s Lick of the Day is a high quality and inspirational iOS app that any guitar player can use and enjoy every single day.”
  • CrunchGear: “After trying it out, I give this app a thumbs up because it does what it says.  It’s a multi-method approach to teaching simple, short guitar lessons in clear and helpful ways.”
  • Gear Diary: “Lick of the Day is a beautiful app with an intuitive user interface.  Every part of the app works perfectly … I highly recommend Lick of the Day for any guitarist.”
  • Macworld: “Guitar World Lick of the Day is a useful, well designed iOS app that offers just what its name implies: a fresh guitar lick every day for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users who subscribe to the service through this free app … I’ve really been enjoying this app and if you’re a guitar player, chances are you’ll like it too.”
  • Publishing Executive: “Guitar World magazine has created a lot of positive buzz – or perhaps we should say feedback – with the launch of its Guitar World Lick of the Day app … Other publishers might want to sit up, plug in and take note of new and creative ways they can make their content and information assets rock on the iPad.”

Lick of the Day on iPad

We’re especially grateful for the feedback our customers have been providing about Guitar World Lick of the Day. On Twitter, @jasarien exclaimed, “Guitar World Lick of the Day on iPad is an amazing piece of work. The UI is just perfect”; @nicksergeant tweeted, “The Lick of the Day app – my new favorite”; and @Bondwalker said, “I’m loving the guitar world lick of the day app…” Meanwhile, some of our favorite App Store Customer Reviews include:
  • Eric Anderson: “Best app I’ve found for iPad … The only way to make this better would be to have 2 licks of the day.”
  • Pat Bowden: “Wow, amazing. Not only does it explain the daily lick in great detail, but it also features a video AND tabs/standard sheet music.”
  • DanielPNY: “Great guitar lesson learning tool. The ability to slow down the lesson is great!”
  • sam_astoria: “I’m learning how to play guitar and this app is awesome. Subscription price is really reasonable. Can’t wait for more tutorials from rock stars like Zakk!
  • hkremer: “Extremely impressed. This app really takes advantage of the iPad in every way. I am certain that if I would have had this when I was younger I would be rich and famous, probably living in some Scottish castle with a big studio and groupies.”

Like our friends at Guitar World, Agile Partners appreciates the support that amazing artists like Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde and Gus G have given to Lick of the Day.  Their Facebook posts and tweets have been a huge help in getting the word out about Guitar World Lick of the Day (check it out in the video below).

Finally, we’re proud to partner with Guitar World in providing guitar players around the globe with a fun and engaging way to continuously improve their guitar playing skills and broaden their repertoire. Lick of the Day is a wonderful addition to our family of guitar apps that already included Guitar Toolkit, TabToolkit, and AmpKit. We hope all of our customers will keep sending us feedback so we can continuously improve our apps. Rock on!

Improve Your Guitar Skills – One Lick At A Time

November 15th, 2010 by Scott Roth

Guitar World Lick of the DayAll of us at Agile Partners are excited to be partnering with Guitar World, the world’s best-selling guitar magazine, to release Guitar World Lick of the Day – a new app for guitar players who are serious about having fun while improving their guitar skills!

Lick of the Day is the perfect app if you’re a guitar player who has the basics down and is looking for a fun and engaging way to broaden your repertoire. After subscribing to Lick of the Day, a new Lick is delivered to your iPad, iPhone, and/or iPod touch daily. Each Lick is hosted by a Guitar World instructor or guitar celebrity and consists of a video of the host playing and describing the Lick, scrollable tablature and standard notation, and written performance notes.

Lick of the Day on iPad Once the Lick has been downloaded to your device, you’ll have a day’s worth of instruction in your pocket (a large pocket if your device is an iPad). Watch the video whenever you can grab a few minutes. Or, sit down for an in-depth session to practice the Lick your way: adjust the tempo of the notation playback, turn a metronome on and off, listen to audio synthesis of the Lick, loop the playback for practicing, view a dynamic fretboard that shows finger positions, and more. On the iPad, the music notation even scrolls in sync with the video for the ultimate learning experience. Personally, I’m most excited about the one-touch button that sets the music notation tempo to 50% of full speed — at my skill level, I know I’ll be needing that feature a lot!

The Licks are demonstrated by a variety of amazing instructors, including the pros at Guitar World and celebrities such as Zakk Wylde, Joe Satriani, Gus G., and Phil Collen. Each daily Lick provides a fun new challenge across a variety of genres including Rock, Metal, Blues, Country, and Jazz.

When developing Lick of the Day, it was important to us that you be able to bring your Licks with you wherever you go. The app is available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch and Licks purchased on any device allows you to download Licks to all your devices that are hooked up to the same iTunes account.

I hope you’ll download Guitar World Lick of the Day for free and check it out. You can easily purchase one, three, or six months of Licks to continue receiving Licks each and every day! Here it is in action below:

We are really excited about this engaging new way to learn music. Be sure to check out the killer axes the guitar celebs bring to the party. We know you’ll have a great time, too!