Pocketstrings guitar practice tool review
I paid £15.00 from an online store.
Despite having the luxury of owning my own practice studio (a converted garage) I often practice the guitar in front of the TV in my lounge. This, inevitably, annoys the rest of the family who are trying to to watch the TV. So, before they all up and leave me, I may have found a solution with the PocketStrings Guitar Practice Tool ?
So, what exactly is the PocketStrings practice tool ? Basically it is a fold away plastic guitar neck with 6 frets that allows you to practice chord shapes and scales on it. It is important to note though, you cannot tune the tool. It doesn't matter as it is really meant for silent (or virtually silent) practice. It is extremely light and portable and measures 45 cm in length when unfolded and 25 cm when folded. The 6 fret version (they also do a 4 fret version) is effectively the same as having the first six frets of your guitar, but in a package only 25 cm long. You can tighten or loosen the strings and change them if they snap.
To use the Pocketsrings tool you only use your fretting hand. You move between chords like on a real guitar, or run up and down scales. There is no plucking with your right hand, so it is a tool for strengthening your right hand, as well as improving dexterity and chord memory.
It does feel like a real guitar neck/fret board. Of course it doesn't sound like a guitar (you don't really strum it with your right hand at all.....you can, but if you do, it sounds like an out of tune guitar thus annoying your family/cat/goldfish even more) but its not meant to. You can practice chord shapes and do scales.. It is very portable, although it doesn't really fit in your pocket, its just that bit too big. It is great for keeping in the car or having around the house to practice without annoying people. Mine came with very loose strings, but you can easily tighten these up with the Allen key that is included. For me the neck is a bit thin, but I think it is aimed more at the acoustic or electric player than the classical guitarist. Perhaps they could consider doing a classical guitar version - ie with nylon strings and a slightly wider neck. That said, even for the electric guitar player I think the neck needs to be about 2 mm wider. I don't believe it will build much hand strength for Barre chords as the action is very low and little strength is need to do a barre on it. It is though excellent for practising moving between chords and running up and down scales. Its great if you are struggling with a particular chord, you can just keep fretting it until you get it.
Would I recommend it ? Yes, I would. I think it could be a bit baffling for a beginner, as they really need to hear the chords to know if they sound right. For an intermediate or advanced player though, I actually think its rather good. I went for the 6 fret version as I wanted to be able to do a few pentatonic scales up the neck, but I may also go for the 4 fret version to see if it fits in my pocket. I like it so much I may even consider wearing cargo trousers at all times so I can hide it in those larger pockets !