Developer: Surich Technologies Inc
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
I play iBlues because my woman done me wrong, my dog left me and if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.
iBlues, from developer Surich Technologies, is a virtual blues harmonica. Tap “Blow” to blow and “Draw” to draw. It's a harmonica geez — what else do you need to know? You also have the option of choosing a key — 12 in all — you would like to play in.
iBlues replicates a “diatonic harmonica,” with 10 notes. If you know what you’re doing, you can fill in with notes this kind of harmonica isn't supposed to be able to play unlike a "chromatic harmonica."
That’s about all I and Wikipedia can tell you about diatonic and chromatic harmonicas. No one has ever confused me with Junior Wells, the best blues harmonica player you'll ever hear on CD (he's dead).
I diddled with iBlues and a Hohner International Bluesband harmonica and compared them side-by-side. From what I can tell, iBlues does a good job of simulating the real thing. On the other hand, I have more tin in my ear than a pewter plate, which is 85 to 95 percent tin.
One thing I’d like to see fixed: You can’t visually tell whether you are blowing in or drawing out. Both buttons always look alike — they don’t dim or illuminate to cue you to what option you've selected.
There’s also no visual feedback when you select a key to play in. I had to go back and forth between the Options menu where I can select a key and the virtual harmonica screen to find the right sound. There’s just too much trial and error for a novice like me, especially one who is pining for his woman and his wayward dog.
Someone who can actually play harmonica can figure what to do with iBlues without the need to tap shiny buttons, but if you have a squirrel’s brain like I do, you need better visual cues.
It also would be nice if iBlues had a few sample tunes to try, along with numbers for each note, so you could work on your chops, or licks, or whatever serious musicians call it. I got that much info out of the box for the Hohner harmonica I bought years ago and I think I paid about $2.99 for it, which is what iBlues sells for.