Thomas Jefferson, the great American statesman, was also a renowned inventor who devised a range of instruments for use around the house. One of these, a revolving book and music stand, allows its user to easily rotate between multiple texts – let’s say, scales and other exercises, a piece for performance, and a lesson in right-hand technique from Rodrigo y Gabriela – much as the most newfangled of smartphones do today.
Castiv, in grand Jeffersonian tradition, has updated this concept for musicians of the 21st century by releasing their handy Guitar Sidekick. The Sidekick clips onto the strings just below the tuning keys and holds a smartphone – online tablature being the sheet music of choice for many guitarists – for easy sight reading. The contraption can be adjusted for comfort, and is spring loaded to accommodate whatever size gadget you happen to have. In addition to tabs, it’s useful for lyrics and even for watching instruction videos.
The Sidekick is great for learning a song in a pinch, and when a computer and print-outs are unavailable. Be careful, though, if you plan to use it during a performance – an unexpected phone call from an ex-girlfriend would not only interrupt your playing, but might rattle you a bit more than you can handle in a high-pressure situation. Fortunately, there is a solution: to avoid being interrupted by a call, put your phone into “Airplane Mode” to disable 3G (after you’ve pulled up the web page you need, of course).
Castiv assures prospective customers that the Sidekick “does not affect the acoustics of your guitar” and that “you can still tune your guitar with the Sidekick on.” I was skeptical of the second claim: how can you clamp something to the strings, even above the nut, without messing with the tuning? I must hand it to Castiv, though – my guitar tunes and stays tuned just as if it wasn’t there. Their engineers have defied the laws of physics, folks. You heard it here first.
Unlike Jefferson, who never patented or sold his inventions because he felt everyone should be able to make and use them freely, Castiv charges $29.99 for the Sidekick. If you learn a lot online, though, the investment, which makes all the music on the web completely portable, is well worth it. So if you think the Guitar Sidekick would make the perfect accessory to your musical wardrobe, get on over there and buy one! And be sure to tell them The Acoustic Version sent you.