Jammit… Picture this: You’re in your practice room trying to figure out a bass line from the original recording. You’ve almost got it, but there are a few phrases you just can’t nail because other instrumental parts are masking the notes in question. Well, what if you could literally strip away everything but the bass track and listen to it in isolation? What if you could also follow along with the musical score of the bass line in standard notation or in tablature as it displays in sync with the music? What if you could slow the part down and loop it to play over and over?
I have been playing with Jammit all morning and it does all of the above and more. Jammit is an application for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch that gives you access to isolated tracks from the original multi-track master recordings of a wide variety of popular tunes. The app itself is free and each song is priced between $1.99 and $5.99.
After following the instructions at the website, I downloaded the app and several tunes to my iPod Touch via a WiFi connection. For my first tune, I chose “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 with Wilton Felder playing the bass part. I couldn’t help but smile as I listened to his isolated part and follow his phrases on the written out notation. For the next song, I chose “Roundabout” by YES with Chris Squire on his Rickenbacker bass and this is where the Jammit takes on a whole new level of cool. When listening to the isolated bass track I could now hear subtleties of the performance that were simply not detectable when listening to everything at once. Slurs, hammer-ons, ghost notes, muting and even fret buzz and pick attack are all much more obvious. It should also be easier to determine how a track was eq’d and to get a much better idea of how and what effects were employed.
Jammit is very easy and intuitive to use. There are faders to adjust the volume of the isolated, band and click tracks. The transport consists of pushbutton controls to start, pause or loop a section of the song. You also have the ability to slow the song down without changing the pitch and to record your own part and even to replace the original line with your own.
Of all the new products out there, I think Jammit is truly a no-brainer decision. The app is free and the songs are very reasonably priced. It’s really fun to use and allows the user to experience some classic tunes (and new ones too) from a whole new perspective. Jammit also offers songs with isolated guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals.
For more information go to: jammit.com
About Eric Parsons
Eric’s passion for music has kept him active in the studio and on stage all the while balancing his creative pursuits with his fantastic family life and a career in Forensic Science. For the past 25 years Eric has played bass for the Peter Morgan Band and has opened up for several notable performers including Fattburger, Trumpeter Chris Botti and Keyboardist Phillipe Saisse. Eric has also performed at the Sacramento Jazz Festival, The Crocker Arts Summer Jazz Series and the PBS television series – Computer Chronicles.