What It Is: A guitar effects pedal that interprets what you play on guitar to automatically create a three-piece band (it adds in bass and drum tracks).
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Why We Like It: We like noodling around on the guitar, but aren't really good (or confident) enough to spend time playing with other musicians, much less join a band. We're generally more comfortable making mistakes on the couch in our own living room. Thankfully, the new Trio lets guitarists of all abilities have a band-like experience simply by plugging in to the floor-pedal device. Trio is capable of churning out seven different genres of music, with 12 styles for each — for example, you could play a British rock tune with hard-hitting drums or a Southern rock-style song with a boogie bass and a swing beat. After you've selected your style, you have to play a very clean, simple chord progression to teach Trio your song. This is all controlled by knobs mounted on top of the foot pedal.
While we appreciate that we don't have to dig through multiple levels of menu options in any kind of smartphone app, there is a small learning curve in recording your song parts: You can essentially set up three different pieces of a single song — say, the verse, chorus, and a bridge — but each is accomplished through a series of presses to the foot switch and a sequence of flashing LEDs. Fortunately the instruction manual is very thorough and clear, so you'll be jamming in no time. Once you've set up your song, you can switch between the parts on the fly by pressing the foot switch for two seconds during playback; Trio will seamlessly switch to the new song part as soon as the previous one ends (again, this is all based on what you fed into the pedal during setup). The bass and drums produce a steady backing track for you to either strum or to play lead over.
Nitpick: Our practice setup includes a Traveler Guitar and headphones, to silently jam out at home or in a hotel room. But, since Trio requires a wall socket for power, our setup is a bit less portable.