gTar iPhone Guitar Makes Waves on Kickstarter - Rolling Stone
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gTar iPhone Guitar Makes Waves on Kickstarter

Crowd-funded instrument scores nearly $200,000 from backers


Courtesy of Incident Tech

A new iPhone-powered guitar, titled the gTar, is currently rocking Kickstarter to the tune of $188,855 in pledges, ensuring that aspiring musicians will soon have a unique and high-tech way to learn the instrument. Having raised nearly double creator Incident Technologies’ desired $100,000, with 32 days still to go in the public fundraising campaign, the device proves yet another example of how crowdfunding continues to revolutionize the music business.

Billed as “the first guitar that anybody can play,” the full-size accessory features a dock for Apple’s popular smartphone and a back-lit fretboard. Users play the gTar by inserting the mobile phone and booting a companion app preloaded with songs that serves as a teaching tool; LED lights illuminate during playback, indicating where to place each finger and which strings to strum. Three difficulty modes provide varying levels of instruction with free play options also provided, should the mood for impromptu jam sessions strike. Several chord and tone effects are built into the app, too, which produces all generated sounds.

According to its creators, the gTar is powered by a proprietary technology called “SmartPlay,” which lights up corresponding finger placements to match notes currently being played by songs and – fortunately for any neighbors – mutes any errors made. A variety of special effects are also included, so players can make the instrument sound like myriad guitar models, synthesizers, keyboards and even a drum machine; song mixing features such as echo, reverb and distortion are also just a touch away. “I started playing guitar around the age of 10, and around 16 or 17 started to teach other kids,” explains Incident founder Idan Beck in a supporting video. “I wanted to be able to take what I learned as a guitarist and transfer that into using a computer to produce music. The great thing about the gTar is that it lets people have a hands-on, immersive experience… even if they’ve never thought about playing music before.”

Built by a team of five people and in development for three years, gTar has taken just days to ignite broad public interest. As of press time, 505 backers have contributed an average of $373.97 apiece (cheaper than the price of several professional guitar lessons) to make the project possible, with finished models expected to ship in fall.

[Full disclosure: The author has written The Crowdfunding Bible, a new book on how to crowd-fund businesses and startups, which is free for musicians, promoters and record labels to download online.]

A Beginner’s Guide to Crowdsourcing


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