TEAC 's newest portable audio player is an unusual beast in that it's the first MP3 player we've ever seen that's dedicated to helping users learn an instrument.

The instrument in question is the electric guitar, which is why the Tascam -branded MP-GT1 sports an input for plugging in the lead that usually goes to an amplifier. The JPY30,000 (£126) box weighs a hefty 220g and has only 1GB of flash memory inside, but it has plenty of tricks up its sleeve.

Tweaking encouraged

The memory is enough for about 240 tracks, which is plenty for all but the longest experimental Frank Zappa box set. Music can be slowed down and looped to allow for practising particular passages. Once mastered, any section of a song can be muted, leaving the learner to fill in.

The pitch of the music can be adjusted to match the tuning of any guitar, obviating the need to re-tune for every song. When adjustment is needed, there's an electronic tuner to help out, as well as a metronome for keeping time. The battery lasts nine hours between charges, which can be performed via USB or through the included AC adapter.