The Boss Pocket GT could very well be your one-stop-shop when it comes to recording, jamming, song learning, and even playing live. Built on the legendary BOSS GT sound engine to give you more than 100 assignable amp, stomp, and effects models in a pocket-sized portable format. Tom Quayle gives us the full breakdown.
Since it was launch back in 2005, YouTube has grown to become one of the biggest and most useful teaching and practice resources for guitar players. It's a bit of a minefield trying to find the best material, but with all the songs, backing tracks, lessons and edutainment videos available on the platform, it's incomparable as a free learning and practice resource.
This phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed by Boss and, with their Pocket GT, they are aiming to integrate YouTube use with a truly pocket-sized amp modeller and multi FX for the ultimate portable practice and learning setup.
At its heart, the diminutive Pocket GT is based on the same core technology as Boss' GT1 floor unit. This GT sound engine offers up over 100 amp models and effects, allowing you to create pretty much any tone you can imagine and save your sounds to 99 user memories. There are three small rotary dials on the front of the unit allowing you to assign and control up six parameters directly from the hardware. By default they're mapped to Gain, Level, Reverb, OD/DS amount, Mod and Delay levels, but can be re-assigned if required to whatever you use the most. A small LED display shows you the current patch number and basic tuning info for the onboard tuner, whilst a larger main dial allows you to browse and select between your presets.
Mobile devices can connect via Bluetooth allowing you to edit the sounds in more detail from the free Pocket GT Tone Studio app (iOS, Android, Mac and PC compatible). Selecting effects and amp models is a breeze and the signal path can be rearranged if you need some effects before or after your amp block. The Bluetooth connection also streams audio from your mobile device to the Phones/Rec output of the Pocket GT so you can play tracks from your phone or tablet for jamming along with. The integrated USB connection allows for the same functionality from a desktop or laptop computer and even turns the Pocket GT into a fully-fledged, guitar-based audio interface with ASIO and Core Audio compatible, low latency operation in your DAW.
The real power and fun comes from the app's integrated YouTube session view, where videos can be added and then controlled using the hardware transport controls on the unit. Adding videos is a simple case of copying and pasting the relevant URL from your browser or the YT app and multiple videos can be added to create longer practice or learning sessions as required.
Controlling the playback of videos is cool, but Boss has gone a step further by allowing you to add custom markers at any point in a video that will automatically switch the preset on the Pocket GT wherever a marker is placed. This functionality allows the user to set up different sounds for different sections of a video or practice session without ever touching the hardware. Let's say you're learning a Pink Floyd song - paste the relevant video URL into the app and then setup all the sounds you need for the intro, verse, chorus and solo section. Then place markers at the exact spot in the video that you need the sounds to change and then hit play - all the sounds will now change automatically for each section of the song!
The possibilities here are limitless and represent some fantastic opportunities for streamlining your practice sessions and learning without having to change sounds on the fly. Just plug in your guitar, grab your mobile device and press play! No more excuses for not practising. Boss also allow you to setup A/B loops for a particular spot in the track that you might be struggling with. There's no slow down function for now, but hopefully, that will come in a future update.
Once you've set up your markers you can save the video URL and marker information as a file or to the app itself so that you can recall everything for your next practice session or share everything with a friend or student. Tones can be saved or exported for recall or sharing too, so you could send all the sounds you've programmed for a particular YouTube video plus all the marker information for when those sounds should change. A fantastic addition!
Boss has also included an aux input for any devices without a Bluetooth connection and a useful centre cancel function that aims to remove vocals and guitar solos from most tracks. The built-in rechargeable battery gives you around four hours of runtime (slightly more if you're not using the Bluetooth connection) and takes around three hours to fully charge from flat.
The Pocket GT really is a fantastically useful practice and learning tool. Being able to carry such a useful device, with some great tones onboard, around in your pocket is amazing, allowing you to practice in any environment with just a guitar, cable, headphones and your phone! Having the recording functions and superb YouTube integration makes this package pretty irresistible for anyone looking for a portable and powerful practice setup. Another great release from the guys at Boss. Highly recommended!
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