According to Brian Fan, CEO and founder of Magic Instruments, only 12% of the population plays a musical instrument, but 80% of them wish they could. Liz Stinson over at Wired adds that most people who try to play the guitar end up quitting less than a year after they start. That’s why Magic Instruments decided to bring out the MI Guitar, a new type of guitar that you can pick-up and play in only a matter of minutes.
The philosophy behind the MI Guitar seems simple enough. Instead of having to take personal classes, where you’d have to wait weeks or months, and possibly even years, just to start playing your favorite tunes, this guitar mimics the features of a real guitar, like the effect-selector knobs at the bottom, as well as the 1/4 inch output if you want to run it to your amplifier, making for a Guitar Hero-like experience. Adding to that, there’s also a headphone jack and a MIDI-out right next to the amp output as well as a speaker where the pickups would be.
All of this makes for a very solid-sounding electric guitar, but is that enough to actually get you playing the right songs correctly? Fan seems to think so. There’s still the six strings you can strum, but the key difference here is the fretboard. When you push one, a pre-recorded guitar note is produced instead of the real thing, and Fan argues that if it’s plugged into a device with a high sound output, then it’ll sound well.
You’ll still need 8 AA batteries just to power the guitar, and the body is barely lighter than most electric guitars. Fan has also promised to release an iOS and Android devices that, similar to a karaoke screen comes with the lyrics and chord numbers that looks to keep track of what you’re actually playing. Each song can be purchased at a whopping $0.99 or you’ll have to pay $6 a month to get access to all of Magic Instruments’ catalog, with a currently unknown amount of songs, with the looming questions, “What’s the back catalog of songs like?” or “Will Magic Instruments have that classic song I’m looking for?” and “What will happen to my subscription if this thing flops?”
The actual guitar will run about $349, apparently down from its original $499 asking price and won’t start shipping until March 2017 if you’re in the first hundred to preorder the device. Liz Stenson says that Fan created this guitar after failing to learn how to play an actual guitar. To see if this guitar is actually worth its asking price, one just has compare Magic Instrument’s asking price with a brand new guitar at Amazon.com, making for a huge difference.
A brand new guitar with a regular guitar, a gig bag, a strap, and a pick comes in at only $39.95, with top video guitar learning behemoth GuitarTricks.com offering a monthly membership at only $19.95 a month. There are also free high-quality videos available from Justin Guitar, who currently sports a catalog of 990 free videos for just about any level of guitar playing with over half a million subscribers.