By David Ponce
There’s a growing trend where companies marry new technology to old instruments in order to help us learn how to play them. There’s a few examples: Ion Audio’s plastic LED fretboard guitar, which has a limited number of frets and is not a real instrument. There’s Tabber, which adds LEDs to a real guitar. There’s Rocksmith, which uses a real guitar but requires you to be tethered to a TV and a console. And now there’s gTar. It’s sort of a compromise between a fake plastic instrument and a full fledged guitar. It’s made of wood and has strings, but there are no pickups. The sound is instead generated by the iPhone you have to insert. The companion application has tunes you can play along, in three difficulty settings. The fretboard is covered in LEDs which light up at the right time, so you just put your fingers in the right place and strum. Since there are no pickups and the sound is generated by an app, they’re able to have this feature called SmartPlay which mutes out whatever wrong notes you play. This makes you feel like you’re better than you really are and could help keep you motivated.
The product is not complete yet. It’s going through a round of financing on Kickstarter and you could have pre-ordered yours for $350 if you’d gotten in early enough. Now it’s $399 for 85 more units, and $450 afterwards. Yeah, that’s a lot of money but don’t forget you’re not getting a toy controller here, but the closest thing to a real guitar without the need to carry a TV and console with you everywhere.