About this project
“If you’re ever picked up a guitar for the first time and tried to play a favorite song, you know how discouraging it can be. The gTar completely changes that.”
-Drew Houston, Dropbox founder/CEO
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.
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.
The Story of the gTar
Incident began out of a personal need for a guitar that could plug into the computer to compose music digitally. When the first functional prototypes started coming together, we were inspired by innovative musical instruments like the Monome and decided to try adding LEDs to the fretboard. We started to see how fun and easy it was for someone with no musical background to interact with the bright, colorful lights and we knew we had something worth pursuing.
from L-R: Josh (Marketing/Branding), Marty (Engineering), Franco (Engineering), Maly (Design), Idan (Founder/Engineering)
The gTar grew out of a series of hacks and we’re very excited to see what the rest of you do to tweak and customize yours. We plan to offer an SDK in the future, so if you’re interested in building apps for the gTar, shoot us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). The gTar is also USB-MIDI compliant, so if you’re interested in hacking the gTar to create/perform music, we’ll be releasing some tutorials and hacks soon!
Size: 35″L x 13″ W x 1.75″ D
Connections: USB, 1/4″ Line Out, SmartPick
Power: Internal 5000 mAh Li-Ion Battery, Charging via. USB
In the Box
– Padded Backpack Gig Bag
– Guitar Strap
– USB Charger (1A 5V)
– USB Cable
– Two Sets of Replacement Strings
– Three SmartPicks
– Line-out Headphone Adapter
iPhone not included
Does the gTar need to be tuned?
Since the gTar is entirely digital, it doesn’t care whether the strings are in tune or not. Keeping reasonable tension on the strings will improve the performance and sensitivity of the gTar.
Where does the gTar get power from?
The gTar has an internal battery that lasts between 6 to 8 hours on a full charge. To both power and charge the gTar, you can use the included USB charger or plug the gTar into any standard USB dock on a computer or charger of equivalent power.
What phones will be supported? Currently we plan to support the iPhone 4/4S. We hope to support other devices in the future.
How do I get the gTar app? The gTar app will be available for free in the App Store before we ship the gTar. It is already been built and approved.
Will this teach me how to play on a “normal” guitar? The strings and fret layout of the gTar has been designed to be virtually identical to that of a traditional guitar, playing it will teach you the same fundamentals that you would need to play on a traditional guitar.
How do Song Selections work? If you’ve selected any of the reward tiers that offer you a Song Selection, we will work with you to integrate a song of your choosing into the app. Since some things (like licensing restrictions) are out of our hands, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to include your first choice. However, we’ll work with you to find something you like and will enjoy playing on the gTar.
Can I integrate the gTar into an existing guitar?
The gTar is a completely redesigned solution that cannot be retrofitted onto a traditional guitar. If you are a guitar manufacturer that is interested in integrating our technology into your designs, please contact us directly.