[caption id="attachment_28214" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Image courtesy of The Guitar Collection: George Harrison"][/caption]Hanging out with a musician in his own natural habitat usually morphs into a massive bout of show and tell when there are instruments at hand. He cannot ignore the siren call of his prized guitar/cymbal/synth, and, with the alacrity of a juggler, launches into a litany of band stories whilst wailing on his musical tool of choice.
Most of us have only shared such an experience with our cousin who plays drums in a Ska band -- or someone of that ilk -- but imagine sitting down with the likes of George Harrison and getting an intimate tour of his guitar collection. "Impossible -- on so many levels," you may say. Until you download The Guitar Collection: George Harrison to your iPad, which pretty adeptly replicates the experience of hanging with a musician, letting him wax poetic about his favorite strummers -- just add a beer and some illegal substances and you're about 85% there. The $10 app is a complete guide to the Beatles guitarist's extensive collection, created, in part, by his son, Dhani Harrison.
Fire up the app and you'll be provided with a menu of information, giving you access to the collection via a variety of channels. You can surf through images of Harrison and his guitars, as well as videos featuring Dhani Harrison and the likes of Ben Harper, Josh Homme, Mike Campbell and Conan O'Brien discussing and playing the guitars at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. Sometimes video can seem like an afterthought in music apps, but in this one, it's a highlight. Every one is a kind of jam session, allowing users to hear the guitars played by talented musicians, as well as stories about George Harrison from his own son in conversation with those musicians.
The centerpiece of the app, however, is "The Collection," a pictorial, detailed spread of Harrison's guitars. Tap a guitar for more details: 1). A playlist of tunes played on that guitar (you can listen to samples via iTunes, or, if you own the song, the whole jam), 2). An overview of the guitar's history, 3). Info on its origin, 4). Facts and perspectives, 5). Info about performances it was used during, 6). Details about the manufacturer, 7). Images. Some of this information is a little repetitive, but die-hard fans will likely eat it up.
After reading up on the guitar, you can get the aforementioned playlist going -- or listen to a selection of clips featuring Harrison talking about/playing the guitar -- and explore the image. You can pinch to zoom in on the guitar in detail, and rotate it to inspect every curve and scratch. It's a very cool, interactive experience -- the closest you can get to wielding the guitar yourself without sullying it with your fingerprints. The 360-degree images were created by photographer and filmmaker Steven Sebring.
Once you have thoroughly explored each and every guitar in the app, your Harrison hangtime doesn't have to end; you can look forward to more content in the coming weeks. According to The New York Times, Harrison Junior plans to add more guitars to the app, which will come as a free upgrade to those who already purchased it. He also hopes to create more apps featuring the guitar collections of people like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshed and Angus Young -- so break out some beers, guys, and tell your Ska-loving cousin you have plans.