Learn how to play guitar in your browser (in 3D)

iPerform3D teaches you how to play guitar right in your browser. The service uses motion capture technology to record guitar playing professionals as they walk you through each lesson.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Apple's Macworld announcement about professional and celebrity music instruction as part of GarageBand '09 may have been impressive, but what might be a little more eye catching (and ultimately useful) is iPerform3D. This browser-based music learning system shows users how to play guitar in 3D, and works on both Macs and PCs.

iPerform3D eschews A-list music celebrities like Sting and Sarah McLachlan in place of guitar-playing veterans who have undergone motion capture recording of their entire bodies (fingers especially) to teach you various lessons. To learn, you get control of a 3D video player that lets you change vantage points, as well as slow down or speed up the lesson.

The service's claim to fame is that this 3D viewer gets rid of some of the limitations that come from simply watching someone play in a video or over a Web cam. You can zoom around behind the neck of the guitar and see through where your fingers are supposed to go. It's pretty neat, and a lot easier than trying to reverse the image in your head to do what you're seeing. Each video comes with three view presets, although you can simply click and drag around with your mouse to adjust each angle further.

iPerform3D's player lets you zoom around to whatever angle you want, and includes three button presets to let you skip to ones that cover finger placement. Click to enlarge. CNET Networks

The service offers both a beginner course ($40) and three different monthly membership subscriptions ranging from $30 for one month all the way up to $140 for an entire year. These give you access to set of intermediate lessons and "jam tracks" which serve as background loops for you to practice what you've learned.

One thing worth noting is that the service won't work without the installation of the Unity-3D rendering engine (which isn't just a simple browser add-on). The upside of this is that once it's installed on your machine you can run the lessons from almost any of your browsers, although IE, Firefox, and Safari are the only ones "supported."

Here's the video pitch:

Related: JamLegend turns your keyboard into a guitar