(CNET) At first glance, a digital guitar with the brains of a super-powered smartphone and illuminated fretboard seems like a product that could change everything about guitar instrumentation. The digital dynamo by Incident Technologies aims to work as "the first guitar that anybody can play," as noted in description of the gTar on Kickstarter.
To start, one merely needs to plug an iPhone 4/4S in to the digital guitar. After selecting a song in the gTar app, illuminated frets await your fingertips to help you start playing along.
Selectable modes of difficulty make it easy to learn progressively. For example, budding musicians merely need to pluck the right strings in easy mode, while the medium setting requires the player to press down on the right notes. Both of those novice levels also implement a feature called SmartPlay, which automatically mutes incorrect notes that you play while attempting to keep along.
Two modes will pique the interest of those who don't need a lot of instruction. Hard mode sheds the training wheels by turning off SmartPlay and only illuminates the frets associated with playing the song (schwing!); free play lets you shred on the guitar as usual.
"The great thing about the gTar is that it lets people have a hands-on immersive experience in music, even if they've never picked up anything like this before, or never even thought about playing music," Incident founder Idan Beck said.
The side-bonus of iPhone implementation also enables different instrument and effect choices (chorus, echo, reverb, and distortion, for example), or a control panel that allows custom control of the fretboard LEDs. Specifications seem quite robust, with the gTar packing an internal 5000 mAh li ion battery that lasts six to eight hours on a full charge. Connections include USB and 1/4-inch line out.
Want a gTar? The Kickstarter-funded project still has a few $350 limited early-bird packages available, but expect to pay the suggested retail of $450 if you wait too long. In just one hour, the gTar project picked up at least $15,000 in donations (they still need a total of $100,000 pledged, but grow closer by the hour).
This article first appeared at CNET under the headline "iPhone-powered gTar shreds digitally."