This article previously appeared on Harmony Central—your information source for making better music.
By Ara Ajizian
Although well intentioned, when most people make the decision to learn to play guitar or bass, they have no idea what the road ahead holds. Sure, there are the dreams of hitting the big time that fuel the passion early on, but once reality sets in and the realization hits that this is going to take some serious work and dedication, there's a good number of people who, for one reason or another, simply move on to other endeavors. That's a shame really, because anyone who's climbed that mountain and actually learned the art can tell you how rewarding all that hard work eventually is. That's why I applaud any attempt that a manufacturer takes at keeping the learning process fun and engaging. With their new Multi-Color NEON guitar and bass strings and integration with the intuitive Jamstar app, DR Strings has done just that.
What You Need To Know
• Since their introduction in 2010, DR's NEON series of strings have been aimed at the gigging player looking for a way to stand out without sacrificing tone and feel.
• I'm not typically a fan of coated strings due to the "silky" or slightly slippery feel that many have. I do like a bit of friction when I play, particularly bass guitar, and the NEON strings provided a nice balance between that and the longer-lasting advantages of the K3™ coating DR employs.
• Tonally, they delivered plenty of punch and articulation while keeping those pesky, unwanted overtones to a minimum.
• Already available in Hi-Def Green, Hi-Def Orange, Hi-Def Yellow and Hi-Def Pink, DR has added three new colors to the line for even more options: Hi-Def Red, Hi-Def Blue and Hi-Def White.
• They all look great under any light, but the show really starts when you get them under a black light. The strings glow brightly and provide a splash of color onstage that stays with you wherever you play. If you're looking to stand out on stage, NEON strings will definitely help you accomplish that no matter what color you prefer.
•Jamstar, available for free from the Apple App Store for your iPod and iPad, and the Google Play Store for your Android devices, is a stellar application designed for both students and teachers that makes learning your instrument easy and fun.
• Jamstar's Color-Play Learning System™ matches up with the Multi-Color Neon strings, providing a visual cue players that helps familiarize them with string positions. Additionally, Jamstar uses your device's built-in microphone, so there are no cables necessary to enjoy the benefits of the app.
• Jamstar's Color-Play Learning System also proved to be a great crossover from the Guitar Hero/Rock Band video games to playing a real instrument.
• Lessons go from Beginner level all the way to Advanced for players who are already familiar with their instrument but looking to take things even further. There really is something for everyone.
• NEON Multi-Color sets are also compatible with the popular Rocksmith video game.
• While Jamstar includes over 100 free lessons, new songs come at the price of $.99 each. included with the Jamstar app, for $.99 each you can purchase songs from artists as diverse as The Beatles, Green Day, Muse, R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles and many more.
Whether it's to make a splash onstage or to work on your playing with the free Jamstar app, DR's NEON strings have benefits that go much deeper than their great feel and solid sound.
Jamstar Demo Video
Ara Ajizian, Harmony Central's Editorial Director, has been playing bass and guitar as well as singing since he was 18, and soon that love of music combined with a passion for writing; launching what's now a decade-long career immersed in the gear world. He's thrilled to be back on the Harmony Central team after two years as Managing Editor for Musician's Friend covering gear, bands and events and gigging in the Los Angeles area.
HarmonyCentral.com is a leading Internet resource for musicians, delivering news, product reviews, classifieds, and forums.