Thursday, May 24, 2012

gTar: The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play


Ever want to learn to play the guitar but just never got around to it?  That pretty much sums up my existence.  I really wanted to learn, but never had the time.


Well now there is a cool idea on Kickstarter about a guitar teaching system that could rock *everyone's* world.  The gTar uses a specially built guitar-like device that actually holds your iPhone.  An app is run that allows the gTar to light up the frets you need to be using.

 Take a look at the video and then tell me if this isn't one of the coolest ideas you've ever seen...


Here is more info from the Kickstarter page:


There's nothing like the thrill of playing a real musical instrument. Unfortunately for most, learning can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. That's why we built the gTar.

The gTar is a fully digital guitar that makes it easy for anybody to play music, regardless of experience. All you have to do is dock your iPhone in the body, load up the gTar app, and an array of interactive LEDs along the fretboard will show you how to play. 

You may be asking yourself what it means for a guitar to be "digital." While most guitars have pickups to amplify the sound of vibrating strings, the gTar has none - instead, we've designed the gTar with sensors that detect exactly what you're playing in real-time and relay each note to your iPhone, which then produces the actual sound. This makes it possible for us to do all kinds of exciting things, so let's get into it!


Start With Songs You Already Love

The free gTar app comes bundled with a library of songs that you can start playing right away. We're adding more every week and we'd love to hear your suggestions.  Also, if you've been itching to play a specific song check out the Song Selection reward tier where we will work with you to get a song of your choosing on to the platform.  One of the things that's so exciting about the gTar is the ability to incorporate different sounds outside of the guitar. So if you want to play a song with a big, warm synth or a booming grand piano, it's all possible with the gTar.


Stop Learning, Just Play

We think that everybody should be able to have fun playing music, regardless of how long they've been playing or how much time they have to practice. That's why we built an intuitive feature called SmartPlay, which mutes out incorrect notes as you play and nudges you along as you play through difficult songs.

Most Guitars Only Have One Level of Difficulty. We Have Three.

If you've never played the guitar before, start with Easy, where you only need to play the open strings. This gives you the chance to start playing your favorite songs right away while getting a hands on feel for the strings. SmartPlay is in effect here, so if you accidentally hit the wrong string, you won't hear anything. 

When you've graduated from Easy, you can move up to Medium and start playing the frets and strings at the same time. Don't worry though, Smart Play is still in effect, so you can continue to play without the fear of messing up.

When you've mastered a song and want to take it to the next level, try playing in Hard. Here, the gTar will continue to display the correct notes, but allows you to play whatever you want. SmartPlay stops working here, so every note you play will ring out.


Go Further

Since the gTar is powered by the iPhone, it can sound however you want. Try playing around in Free Play, where you can choose from a variety of guitar models, keyboards, synths, or even drums. Free Play also provides an expression pad for tweaking sound effects (chorus, echo, reverb, and distortion) and a panel that gives you full control of the LEDs.

Where Does the Money Go?

Over the last year, we've taken our completed hardware design to China where we've been working with an amazing manufacturing team in Shenzhen that have helped us take the gTar from a schematic to a finished product. The gTars in the photos/video you see are all working, fully functional prototypes.

We've already invested in the tooling and have lined up our supply chain.  We now need your help to fund the initial batch of production units. After the campaign ends, we expect it to take 2-3 months to produce, assemble, and ship your finished gTars.

More specifically your contribution will help us fund the following:

- Custom Guitar Body Manufacturing
- Volume Component Ordering (sensors, processors)
- Production Assembly
- Production Quality Assurance and Testing

Here's our team assembling the first pilot units. Due to the complexity of the gTar's assembly, we've had to iterate through more than 10 prototypes - these pilot units were built to ensure that our manufacturing processes would work at scale.

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