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gTar Digital Guitar

Crafted from a solid basswood body and maple neck, the gTar is essentially a “real” version of Guitar Hero for your iPhone that makes it easier for people of all ages to learn to play guitar and have a blast doing so. This digital ax contains a multi-touch fretboard that knows the location of your fingers and uses RGB LEDs to indicate where to place your nimble digits. Because the gTar is fully digital, it doesn’t have traditional pickups like a normal electric guitar. Instead it relies on your iPhone (or a computer with MIDI) to bring it to life. This opens up a world of possibility, from changing instruments on the fly, to using the gTar onstage as a synth + guitar mashup. However you use it, you’re guaranteed to have fun.

Smart sensors in the gTar’s bridge pick up the slightest string movement, so you can strum with a pick, your bare fingers, or the gTar SmartPick, a conductive pick with an accelerometer that functions like a special stylus of sorts. This SmartPick helps with the pickup while you’re playing, and it’ll also become a very useful accessory to have, as there are a number of cool new apps under construction that’ll provide fun ways to interact with it. You’ll never need to worry about tuning the gTar since it doesn’t have real guitar pickups, though you should keep the strings taut to preserve the authentic ‘feel’ of playing.

The gTar is currently only available with a 30-pin iOS dock, but there is an iPhone 5 Lightning dock adapter in the works and should be out before the end of the year. Incident Tech even has plans to release an Android version down the road. If you’ve been wondering what to do with that old iPhone 4 or 4s, you now have the perfect place to keep it. Simply slide it into the 30-pin dock and launch the gTar app. Since the dock (and even the processor) is modular, you’ll be able to easily upgrade without having to purchase an entirely new gTar. If you’re interested in the Lightning dock, make sure to add the gTar to your Waitlist, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

While you can certainly rely on the built-in speaker of your iPhone, if you are really looking for the complete experience, you can easily plug in a pair of good over ear headphones like the LSTN Troubadours or a portable speaker like the Grain PWS or Braven 850 with the included 1/4in aux audio cable. We got a little carried away with a 1,000 watt PA system at the office. Sorry, neighbors :) The gTar is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to eight hours of shredding, so you can learn to play anywhere: couch, park, that quiet rooftop, without worrying about plugging in. To recharge the battery, just use the included USB charger, or plug the USB cord into any USB port.

Not only does the gTar to work with iOS production apps like NanoStudio, but with a few steps, you can use the gTar as a MIDI controller and instrument for Ableton Live, an extremely comprehensive music production suite for PC and Mac. The gTar currently has SDKs available for both iOS and Javascript along with the Python code to get you started with Ableton Live integration. Each well documented kit can be used for a broad array of different programming platforms and enables endless expansion onto the current capabilities of the gTar.

When we first saw the gTar on Kickstarter we were quite intrigued. iPhone + Guitar = Yes please. Learning an instrument can be one of the most frustrating experiences, but it’s a unique challenge that presents a very unique reward. The gTar lowers the barrier by wrapping the learning experience with a fun app-based game similar to Guitar Hero and Rockband. Ever since the Incident Technologies team visited our office and gave us a gTar demo, we have continually been impressed with just how much fun the gTar is to play. However, it’s also in understanding that is has the capacity to change the entire music learning process that really blows us away.

Even as an instrument that isn’t 100% a true electric guitar and is currently limited to iOS 30-pin devices (though not for long), the gTar exceeded expectations for us. Incident Tech did a great job building a new kind of instrument, one that serves as not only a learning tool, but as a gaming system and a music composition platform. With its expandable capabilities and a community of people looking to build on the system, the gTar’s future is extremely bright, for both the first-time guitarist, and touring musicians.

Looking back at all the products we’ve featured over the last year, it doesn’t take much to notice that we love a healthy dose of fun. We’ve got more than a few Guitar Hero fans amongst our ranks, so the gTar really struck a popular chord with us. Just as Nick was about to give up his middle school dream of being in a band, the gTar gives him hope (to be clear, the chances of him becoming the next Clapton are still extremely low). We love the pick-up-and-play factor at work here - literally, anyone can pick up the gTar and have fun. It’s hard to say which is stronger: playing a game that involves beautifully crafted hardware, or the pure joy of hearing notes you’re actually playing. Whichever it is, we love it all the same.
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