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CES 2014: Stefan Lindsay Demonstrates the gTar (Video)

Roblimo posted about 6 months ago | from the gitarzan-is-a-gtar-man-who-hangs-by-his-knees-without-a-trapeze dept.

Music 104

It looks like an ordinary electric guitar, except for a little LED screen on its body and blinking lights up and down the fretboard that show you where your fingers should go. But the gTar, besides being "The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," hooks to your iPhone. The gTar app includes "...a variety of classical guitar pieces, modern rock, pop, and everything in between." The gTar Kickstarter campaign in 2012 raised $353,392 even though it only asked for $100,000. The company that makes the gTar, Incident Technologies, started in a garage in Cupertino (Silicon Valley) and is now located in San Francisco after several moves caused by the company's rapid growth. On their Support page they say, "We don't have a brick-and-mortar location for you to try the gTar yet, but we're working on it. In the meantime, check us out at events like Maker Faire, TechCrunch Disrupt, and many others."

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"First?" (4, Insightful)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 months ago | (#46050845)

I remember seeing ads in Guitar Magazine and the like decades ago for guitars with LEDs in the fretboard that teach you how to play. I remember seeing an infomercial-type thing where they had Mark Knopfler play with one.

I find it fairly interesting how a lot of things labelled as the "first" to do something are really not.

Re:"First?" (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 6 months ago | (#46050915)

I remember seeing ads in Guitar Magazine and the like decades ago for guitars with LEDs in the fretboard that teach you how to play. I remember seeing an infomercial-type thing where they had Mark Knopfler play with one.

I find it fairly interesting how a lot of things labelled as the "first" to do something are really not.

Wherever you find people who are too lazy to put in the time to develop a skill, lose weight by exercise, make money the old fashioned way, etc, there will be people offering the "easy" way of doing things.

I suppose you could play this, but you couldn't exactly play like Mark Knopfler.

Re:"First?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051075)

Wherever you find people who are too lazy to put in the time to develop a skill, lose weight by exercise, make money the old fashioned way, etc, there will be people offering the "easy" way of doing things.

Making money the old fashioned way, by scamming the fat and lazy.

Re:"First?" (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#46051101)

My view (as someone who learned guitar the old fashioned way (you know, through youtube videos..)) is this might act as a stepping stone (kinda like rocksmith and even rockband) to get someone through the dull and tedious part where you can't do anything besides make your fingertips really sore.

I kinda see two use cases for this thing:
-people who buy it, use it mostly like a toy for a while, then eventually put it in the closet
-people who play around with it, and gradually transition to a traditional guitar / traditional learning approach

One thing I find really interesting about these new learning aids is the focus on "just start playing, learn technique later" vice the approach I (and probably most people who currently play guitar) generally took of learning chords and scales first.

Does an unwillingness to grind things out the old way make one unworthy of music? Personally I think if this gets more people into music than it's a force of good.

Re:"First?" (1)

sh00z (206503) | about 6 months ago | (#46051231)

Yeah, but for $400, it should include a discounted upgrade path to a "real" guitar...

Re:"First?" (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 6 months ago | (#46051565)

Just make your own pickups from a nail, bell wire, and a bottle cap, and just carefully glue or stick-pad it on. Cheap, removable to sell "in original condition," and a good way to learn some guitar electronics construction.

Re:"First?" (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 7 months ago | (#46053453)

It does include a discounted upgrade path. It's called EBay, Craigslist, etc. Besides, there are countless musical instruments to be found in pawn shops. Selling and trading of musical instruments is part of the scene for most people as I know it.

Re:"First?" (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 7 months ago | (#46054015)

From a technological and "ease of use" point of view I don't find the gtar that interesting or impressive. We've long had musical keyboards or similar instruments that lit the notes you were supposed to play.

Real easy would be an instrument which does something like what the "Jam Session" software did more than 20 years ago, but do it better (given 20 years of tech and knowledge advancements). e.g. a guitar/piano/instrument that played the "right" notes no matter what - e.g. by default it would play the nearest note matching the chord you are supposed to be in (or the chord you "roughly" selected). It could allow you to play the "off/wrong" notes if you were holding down a special key/pedal. And allow you to hold down other keys/pedals to switch to various modes to play musical ornaments, embellishments, riffs, licks starting from or based on the note(s) you selected. A guitar like that would truly be "The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," especially if you add a brain computer interface for paraplegics ;).

The sort of I product I describe shouldn't be that remarkable given that Jam Session and Instant Music were around in the 1980s, and electronic instruments have been around for even longer.

But ideas are easy, implementation is hard. Feel free to implement this idea, don't patent troll it. I want more cool stuff in this world and faster (I'm getting old and real cool stuff appearing per year doesn't seem high enough to me). The gtar? Meh boring.

Re:"First?" (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 months ago | (#46051107)

> I suppose you could play this, but you couldn't exactly play like Mark Knopfler.

Of that there is no doubt.

I don't think Mark Knopfler was selling the thing. It might've just been a "Hey look at this interesting new invention, and here's Mark Knopfler" kinda thing.

Re:"First?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46054601)

Exactly, my (born again) sister keeps telling me I have a "gift from god" when she hears me playing -nothing to do with the hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of practice and playing/gigging

Re:"First?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46050987)

Yeah, I've seen things like this bouncing around NAMM (music manufacturers show) in various forms over the past few years too. Nothing really exciting.

Re:"First?" (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 6 months ago | (#46051197)

I find it fairly interesting how a lot of things labelled as the "first" to do something are really not.

Yet you get the award for "first post" on this thread... There has to be irony in this...

Re:"First?" (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 6 months ago | (#46051285)

Seriously? That's hilarious.

Re:"First?" (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46051291)

I remember seeing ads in Guitar Magazine and the like decades ago for guitars with LEDs in the fretboard that teach you how to play. I remember seeing an infomercial-type thing where they had Mark Knopfler play with one.

I find it fairly interesting how a lot of things labelled as the "first" to do something are really not.

Sure they are the first... To do all of that, AND connect it to an iPhone. Hell, if it's good enough for the US patent office, it has to be more than good enough for marketing.

They are claiming this guitar is: "The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," How honest is that? Can a quadriplegic play it? Or someone who has one or both arms amputated? I going to guess the answer is, No.

But at least they are the first company to lie about it... And be able to connect it to an iPhone.

Re:"First?" (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 6 months ago | (#46051767)

I'm going to park in front of the USPTO and check whether all the employees have mysteriously received both a free Iphone and a free Nexus....

Fretlight (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 6 months ago | (#46052133)

Oddly you may be right. I found no immediate results for iThing software for fretlight or similar.

http://fretlight.com/software [fretlight.com]

Re:"First?" (1)

dbraden (214956) | about 7 months ago | (#46052215)

They are claiming this guitar is: "The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," How honest is that? Can a quadriplegic play it? Or someone who has one or both arms amputated? I going to guess the answer is, No.

What, don't they have tongues? Seriously, you know damn well what they mean. In general usage like that, "anybody" means "anybody that could physically play a guitar can play our guitar." Lighten up, man. Sheesh.

Re:"First?" (1)

aitikin (909209) | about 7 months ago | (#46053109)

Yeah, it's come a long way since the original, it's called Fretlight [fretlight.com] . Sure, there's some added features on the gtar over what the Fretlight's have, but not much.

Re:"First?" (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46053943)

Oh yeah! That's the one. I forgot what they were called!

LED guitars (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 months ago | (#46053443)

I remember seeing ads in Guitar Magazine and the like decades ago for guitars with LEDs in the fretboard that teach you how to play.

Here you go [fretlight.com] , Fretlight's been around for ages. Found an early one in a pawn shop, was a copy of a Fender strat... and it had better action than my actual Fender, so I bought it. Only down side is that it's *very* heavy. Still, with that great neck, it's really enjoyable to play.

The early ones -- like mine -- have a rotary knob that lights up various scales. The more recent models can lead you through a song or whatever, they connect to the computer via USB, and so can be programmed to do anything with the LEDs.

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46053951)

I always thought they'd be kind of fun, just because you know, LIGHTS.

Re:LED guitars (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 months ago | (#46054329)

I think the new ones would be more fun. Super quick way to pick up leads, etc. You can only chase a scale up and down so many times, and that's all the early ones did. But yeah. Lights. Even an extra knob. :)

And hey, it's not like I don't have a light-n-knob problem anyway (a) [flickr.com] , (b) [flickr.com]

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46054357)

You've got me beat!

Re:LED guitars (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 months ago | (#46054359)

All that and I didn't think to post the pic of the guitar [flickr.com] . Derp.

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46054385)

Nice.

I have a couple of my [dogrowphoto.com] guitars [dogrowphoto.com] ... kinda...

Re:LED guitars (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 months ago | (#46054473)

Veyr artistic. :)

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46057299)

Yes, sadly I'm probably better at photography than at playing the guitar (;

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 7 months ago | (#46105167)

czeq out my flash beast... http://www.flickr.com/photos/1... [flickr.com]

Re:LED guitars (1)

Jethro (14165) | about 7 months ago | (#46105347)

What the... was that a cutting board at some point? (;

Re:LED guitars (1)

Stuarticus (1205322) | about 7 months ago | (#46055011)

That's a telecaster copy, not a strat copy! I'm quite surprised on your comments on it's playability, I assumed they would be dogs... Like your rack, especially the Mackie. Not sure about the Behringer though. Doesn't the Mackie have tape returns?

Re:LED guitars (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 months ago | (#46055513)

That's a telecaster copy, not a strat copy!

Yes, correct of course. I own both, and I get -casterlexia. :)

Not sure about the Behringer though. Doesn't the Mackie have tape returns?

Yes, it does. But if you use them, you have to reconfigure almost the entire board -- twice -- because when you're done with mixdown, then you have to completely set it up for recording again. The Behringer is surprisingly quiet and flat, and does an excellent job of mixdown, and so re-configuration is on a channel/instrument basis as needed, instead of a whole setup exercise, which can take quite some time. So I've found the Behringer to be an addition of significant convenience.

Re: "First?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46054365)

Same, these have been around for decades, minus the iphone app...... no news....

Anybody can play a normal guitar (2)

Threni (635302) | about 6 months ago | (#46050847)

if they practice. Perhaps this'll not sound awful it people play it without practicing. I guess if you load it with MP3s of somebody good, that'll do the trick.
Still, you can at least plug it into a computer, run linux on it, so it'll provide some fun before you shove it under the bed with your expensive digital cameras and electronic book readers.

Re:Anybody can play a normal guitar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051095)

Sheeah, as a guitar player I totally agree. The guitar is already retardedly easy to learn, you can learn any song for free by downloading the MIDI file and converting that to TAB (or download the TAB or music directly) and anyway rote memorization is a terrible way to learn any musical instrument. This is just another "look at me" toy for assholes who compensate for their lack of personality and attention span by showing off their latest shotgun or fart app.

Into the trash it goes!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Anybody can play a normal guitar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051573)

The only use I can think of for this is to not make noise in the middle of the night. My guitar, when unplugged is almost as loud as an acoustic even though its just a cheapo Epiphone Les Paul. So even though I could put headphones on, its still too loud for night time. But then again, the You Rock Guitar solved that problem years ago for half the price(It's still a piece of shit though). Nice iPhone dock... don't try to rock out with this thing unless you like pick marks all over your phone. Since this is for newbies I'm just gonna go ahead and assume they don't have good control over the pick.

Neat idea. (3, Interesting)

Xoltri (1052470) | about 6 months ago | (#46050865)

Kinda neat, but I've been using Rocksmith 2014 now and it's really improved my playing and most importantly given me the drive to play more, and on the plus side you use a regular electric guitar that is a real instrument.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 6 months ago | (#46051157)

I tried rocksmith back when it first came out, and while I found the mini games really cool (and I imagine actually useful), I found actually playing the songs very frustrating.

The big problem in my opinion is their adaptive difficulty thing. One (or at least I) becomes good at a song through muscle memory, which is really damn hard when the game keeps changing it up on you in the middle of a song. The basic ability to lock it into a difficulty level would have made a huge world of difference.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46051187)

In 2014 you can play Score Attack which has three difficulties, four if you count 'Master' which is no notes showing. I believe Learn a Song lets you set the difficulty and speed for the entire song although you need to reset it when you exit to a different song and come back.

[John]

Re:Neat idea. (2)

chesapeake (264414) | about 6 months ago | (#46051271)

I know what you mean in regards to developing muscle memory. Rocksmith 2014 seems to have improved in this way - after a few plays it seems to be more stable in terms of song difficulty. In other ways, Rocksmith 2014 is all around a big improvement from the perspective of someone who could already play bass (not particularly well, but ok), but not guitar. I suspect it's probably better for the absolute beginner as well, but seeing as I didn't choose that option when setting up my profile, I have no idea how it eases you into playing.

I really do wish that there was a way to show proper score instead of the 'tab' though. Another wish would be "half-master mode" where instead of hiding the tab completely, you just get lyrics + chords to work around (for bass).

Still, I'd strongly suggest buying a decent second-hand guitar or bass and a copy of Rocksmith rather than a probably quite poor quality guitar with flashy LEDs.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Xoltri (1052470) | about 6 months ago | (#46051751)

Yeah it's not perfect, there are some things I find annoying. However for the most part, I like the adaptive difficulty. The most difficult part is in a song when it transitions from single notes to chords, often I have to pause to figure it out. It does help ease you into a song though generally, and is especially fun for beginners who have no previous experience. I bought a bass guitar as well and that is even more fun for beginners as it has only 4 strings.

Re:Neat idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051847)

For this very reason, I started playing riff repeater with the whole song set to 100% difficulty and slowing it down to the level I need to learn each section. It was really frustrating to feel like I was getting the hang of the song and then suddenly have it change on me. Now I just learn it at 100% right from the start. Some songs are way beyond my ability, so I just focus on the ones I can actually play for now.

Maybe it would be easier to advance in skill by following the game's usual progression--hard to say, really.

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 7 months ago | (#46052171)

That sounds way closer to how I'd prefer to play, and for that matter, closer to how I actually learned.

It would be nice if rocksmith had (assuming it doesn't) a feature where it basically waited at every chord, and if you screwed it up, made you repeat the chord. This would seem almost a direct translation of how I learned. I seem to remember it kinda did that on one of the very early intro songs but I don't remember it as an option (then again, I didn't explore much outside the campaign/career mode and mini games).

Re:Neat idea. (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 7 months ago | (#46052455)

Ah, that. Yes. The adaptive difficulty. Maybe it's because I wasn't a complete beginner to bass, or that I've spend some time playing DDR games to the point that I got used to following serial instructions so playing "learning a song" is usually something I can get to a fairly high percentage on the first try (and, sadly, enable master mode during the first play-through).

There have been some parts where I honestly couldn't wait until the game would give me a higher difficulty simply because my hands complained there was a few missing notes they couldn't help but want to play. On others, I simply try to hit as many notes as I can, playing as closely as I can, never mind I failed half of the notes. I'll get used to it (just like I got used to tracks in DDR). And others I slow down in the Riff repeater, set it up to auto-speed up with no tolerance, and play until 100%. Or mess with the difficulty.

My experience and POV is this: the first play-through is experiencing the song and seeing what it does and how hard it is. I know that it is not giving me the final difficulty so I don't bother learning the notes, but instead the way the notes behave. It plays this section of notes here in this string. It plays that other thing. Here is a thing it hasn't show me yet. If I so insist in keeping a single difficulty, I just pick up the rift repeater, select whole song, set difficulty.

It's very nice to play with, though. The most satisfying mode is Score Attack, because it rewards being tight in terms of timing more than in learn a song (which is about learning a song, mind you, not playing it).

Rocksmith 2014

Re:Neat idea. (1)

callmetheraven (711291) | about 7 months ago | (#46052311)

Rocksmith made my left hand fingertips so hard and calloused that it slowed my typing speed, I can barely feel the keys with those fingers.

I played guitar for 10 years and never got very good, three years of Rocksmith and I'm better than I ever hoped I would be. It's an incredible practice engine.

I was talking with a guitar teacher at the local music store, told him about Rocksmith, and he said you would get two one-hour lessons for the same amount of money.

Obligatory XKCD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46050867)

http://xkcd.com/70/

You lost me at... (2)

tedgyz (515156) | about 6 months ago | (#46050923)

"hooks to your iPhone"

Why is it everyone targets the iphone first, despite far more android phones in the market? Is it that iDiots more easily part with their money?

Re:You lost me at... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46051015)

My guess is, less fragmentation == less coding.

Plus, if I'm not mistaken, Android's software for interfacing with audio equipment kinda sucks the big one.

Re:You lost me at... (2)

Gumug (1005067) | about 6 months ago | (#46051031)

It could be that the form factor for the iPhone/iPod Touch, is easier to design for, since there are only two sizes out.

Re:You lost me at... (4, Informative)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 6 months ago | (#46051039)

He does mention in the video there are latency issues with Android that prevents them from writing useable software for the guitar.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46051807)

It's just a lame excuse. Yeah, some low end hardware has latency issues. There is still a lot of Android hardware that doesn't. Google made a big effort to fix that sort of thing way back in 4.0.

I don't understand why western companies have so much trouble with this. Japanese companies just provide a list of phones they have checked it works with, covering the most popular models.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 6 months ago | (#46051065)

A lot of those Androids are indeed of the el cheapo type. Oh, and why is it that every idiot who doesn't understand a market hates on people who buy?

Re:You lost me at... (1)

tedgyz (515156) | about 6 months ago | (#46052015)

I understand the market. I just don't understand why people so easily pay so much more for it. I know it is all about cachet and impressing your friends, so I guess rational thinking goes out the window.

If you buy ALL Apple products then all is well. As soon as you introduce a non-Apple product it all goes to sh1t. For example, my son has an android phone and a windows laptop. His frat house has Apple TV. Guess what? He can't do anything with it.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 7 months ago | (#46053033)

Yup, and there are plenty of people who don't understand why people pay so much for an Android phone, especially the phablet stuff.

As for your son's android phone, maybe check one of these?

The sad thing is, if this would've been Linux you would've been flamed for not doing enough research and having bought the wrong hardware....

Re:You lost me at... (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 6 months ago | (#46051109)

In this case (audio at 3:20):

Because of [Android's] MIDI production system; their system has too much latency in it (goes on to say they're going to port it to a browser-based system).

Re:You lost me at... (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 6 months ago | (#46051121)

The iPhone has only gone through a few iterations so accommodating different case configurations is easier that with the Android phones. That being said, it seems pointless to have a phone mounted on the instrument when you could just as readily design it with a dedicated, embedded Android device.

Re:You lost me at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051219)

I work in this sort of field. The answer is "yes." Not in a smug sarcastic way, but in a verified "this is how it really it" way.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

tedgyz (515156) | about 6 months ago | (#46052041)

You mean like subsidizing the $400K to replace the single glass panel that broke in the NYC Apple store? When you walk into such an opulent place, doesn't it make you wonder how they pay for it?

Re:You lost me at... (1)

knarf (34928) | about 7 months ago | (#46052283)

Both the money issue - iPeople are very much wont to shell out for the next craze - as well as the rather high audio latency on even the latest incarnation of Android. With a bit of luck the latter problem will be solved when the new Android runtime (ART) goes mainstream. The former problem is unsolvable as it seems to be part of the target group's identity to want to show others that they *can* spend money on basically unnecessary things.

Re:You lost me at... (1)

tedgyz (515156) | about 7 months ago | (#46052347)

Good point. Why do billionaires live in lavish, oversized homes? Because they can. My wife and I both agree that if we got rich, we still would not live in a mansion. You can only be in one room at a time, unless you are The Doctor.

Here is the sad truth though - many iThing owners are not rich. Case in point: My sister-in-law could not pay the rent living with her parent's but she could afford her iphone and accompanying AT&T monthly fees.

Re:You lost me at... (2)

dbraden (214956) | about 7 months ago | (#46052307)

Apart from Android not providing the needed levels of latency, the iPhone has a marketshare of 42% in the U.S., which is a really big chunk. iPhone owners are also easier to monetize (they are more likely to actually buy stuff from the app store).

Re:You lost me at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46052513)

For this kind of device, it's probably because the iPhone has a standardized form factor, and a connector that actually brings out some useful signals other than just just USB connectivity. I've yet to see an Android device that offers that.

It's simple.... (1)

Schlopper (413780) | about 6 months ago | (#46050939)

iPhone + reTard = gTar

name sounds like GNU tar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051023)

GNU + tar = gTar. Great archive Tool? Or just great Tool? Or just a Tool?

You will laugh at this once you play a real guitar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051041)

Really...this deserves to be on the front page of /.?

Anyone who has played a real guitar through an amp can tell you what a magical experience it is...the difference in guitar woods and pickups is endless...and the things you can do with real strings, frets, bends, pinch harmonics, etc.

This is like the difference between making love (real guitar) and just watching X-rated videos (gTar).

You're still a virgin at the end if you just stick to the former.

Looks pretty awful... (1)

RailGunner (554645) | about 6 months ago | (#46051053)

Looks like there's only one pickup, that's way too close to the neck -- which will cause the sound to be more toward the low end, meaning you'll lose the high end -- or worse, it's using . The tremolo also looks really weak, not sure how well it'll stay in tune. It also looks like a cheap piece of crap.

"The average price of a guitar is $399" -- yeah, because you've got the low end Dean starter guitars for $99 and the high end professional Ibanez for $3K.

Going the route of Rocksmith and a $99 Dean guitar is essentially the same thing, and cheaper.

Oh, I can make it sound like a piano? If I wanted to sound like a piano, I'd go play a fucking piano.

Re:Looks pretty awful... (2)

craighansen (744648) | about 6 months ago | (#46051383)

There is NO pickup. The strings are not tuned. (Yes, I was surprised to read this too.)

Re:Looks pretty awful... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46051553)

Looks like there's only one pickup, that's way too close to the neck -- which will cause the sound to be more toward the low end, meaning you'll lose the high end -- or worse, it's using . The tremolo also looks really weak, not sure how well it'll stay in tune. It also looks like a cheap piece of crap..

I was thinking the same thing, so I looked at their site. From the website: "While the gTar doesn't have any pickups, ...snip... uses standard electric guitar strings, so they're easy to replace. But remember, since the gTar is a fully digital instrument, you don't need to worry about keeping the strings in tune. " I don't know what the fret action is on this thing, or how it handles fret buzz. But a $99 guitar will not stay in tune very well, and typically has either god awful high/uneven fret action, or it's so low you get fret buzz. Still, I think you'd be better off learning how to tune a guitar if you're going to play it. And I'd go with the $99 option as you can figure out pretty fast if you are going to stay with it. If so, then you can get a better guitar later. What "tremolo" are you talking about? It has a fixed bridge in all of the pictures I saw. It didn't look any weaker than many of the fixed bridges I've had on guitars.

Obsolete when your phone is obsolete (1)

danomatika (1977210) | about 6 months ago | (#46051071)

Sweet! So, unlike my 50 year old guitar, this will be obsolete in a few years when smartphone sizes & connectors change. Oh right, that will *never* happen ...

Also, can this thing take a beating?

Re:Obsolete when your phone is obsolete (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 7 months ago | (#46052197)

I dunno.... I bought an acoustic Epiphone at a pawnshop in Killeen, Texas, when I was stationed at Ft. Hood. Not 50 years back, but a good while. I still have it. I'm still not very good on guitar, but what the hell. I still prefer the real thing. It's been to at least four or five countries with me. Yep.

Rocksmith 2014 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051105)

Rocksmith 2014 will actually teach you to play guitar and songs. I'd go with that first where you can use any electric guitar with it.

Not to be confused with... (3, Informative)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 6 months ago | (#46051165)

... a gnu version of tar.

As A Guitarist... (5, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46051185)

As a person who's been a mediocre guitarist for over a decade, I both like and dislike this Slashvertised product.

Pros:
- The bridge looks kinda neat
- with the right software, music teachers would find it very useful for teaching scales and other basics
- $400 isn't *exceedingly* expensive

Cons:
- $400 for a specialty instrument is kinda expensive
- Ugly. As. Sin.
- HUGE, awkward body. I sure as hell won't be teaching anybody with short arms to play with this thing
- Light up fretboard only encourages you to stare at it while you play, which you're really not supposed to do (I do, but as I already implied, I'm not very good)
- More fancy electronics == more stuff to break
- WTF is that slotted thing at the end of the fretboard? A pickup? Some sort of crazy vibration arrestor?
- I can't see a 1/4" jack anywhere on that thing... how am I supposed to hook it into my Marshall?
- I don't have or want an iPhone
- from the website: "we have a free SDK that can be used to build all kinds of applications on the gTar" Oh, great, so my fucking geet-box is going to have proprietary software on it? No thanks.

I'm sure there are plenty more pros/cons, but that's what I've got so far.

Re:As A Guitarist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051487)

Add to the Cons list, right hand only model. :(

Re:As A Guitarist... (1)

craighansen (744648) | about 6 months ago | (#46051501)

The 1/4" jack is embedded in the bottom of the guitar, along with the power button, USB port, and pick connector.
There are no pickups because the strings don't even get tuned - the thing on the end, I think, senses the amplitude of the string vibrations so you can play it with your fingers. This means no note bending, etc. The implication is that it figures out what note you've played by sensing which if the segmented frets are connected to which strings.

That what's I've gleaned from the website information. What I don't get it why the frets are segmented, as it should be easy to demultiplex the frets and strings by scanning either of them sequentially, perhaps that would degrade the note timing a little bit, though you can scan which frets are touching which strings in advance so when the string vibration is sensed you know which note to play.

First...how? (1)

davmoo (63521) | about 6 months ago | (#46051215)

Other than maybe the part where it connects to a smartphone instead of a computer, this is certainly not the first, and not even new. Fretlight ( http://fretlight.com/ [fretlight.com] ) has been doing it for years. The only place this is anything new is in gTar's imagination.

Rocksmith or Bandfuse (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 6 months ago | (#46051277)

Both of these let you plug a real electric guitar in to your Xbox360 or PS3. Rocksmith also works on a Windows box and Rocksmith 2014 also works on a Mac platform.

BandFuse is TAB based where Rocksmith looks more like Guitar Hero (as I understand, I never played the plastic controller "guitar" games) with a note highway.

Rocksmith 2014 (newest) has 50+ songs available and 20 or 30 more DLC songs released since Oct 22nd 2013 when it was released. It's also capable of using any of the DLC and original content from Original Rocksmith ($9.99 transfer fee for the on disk content and if you're on a Windows or Mac platform, you must own the Original Rocksmith for access to the Original Rocksmith DLC).

For the $400 cost for a gTar you can get a real electric guitar that yes, you have to actually tune and start to play songs.

I did take lessons before the first Rocksmith came out so I have a year of some training first. I do like Rocksmith (I have a Windows and Mac system so don't have BandFuse) and have really enjoyed practice and playing the almost 1,000 arrangements available for the game.

[John]

Re:Rocksmith or Bandfuse (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | about 7 months ago | (#46054823)

You can also get shitloads of additional songs for Rocksmith and Rocksmith 2014 from online communities. For learning purposes only, naturally. Kind of like mods for other games. Only songs that are not released as DLCs, naturally.

FAILZORS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46051347)

declined in market don't be afraid l3aving core. I

Who else though it was. (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 6 months ago | (#46051351)

a new version of Gnu Tape ARchive.

Re:Who else though it was. (1)

davmoo (63521) | about 7 months ago | (#46052731)

You might be making a joke. But I'll step up and admit that when I first saw "gTar", that's exactly what I thought it would be.

Re:Who else though it was. (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 7 months ago | (#46053641)

I immediately thought of the old Ray Stevens song, GiTarzan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:Who else though it was. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46055233)

That was the most obvious conclusion for most Linux/Unix hackers.

Waiting for android (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46051579)

The second they get this working on android I'm sold. And I've been playing guitar for 20yrs.

Wait for the app ban (1)

cstec (521534) | about 6 months ago | (#46051591)

How long before Apple decides they want to sell their own and bans the gTar app? They already sell instrument training via Garageband, so they might not even bother and just declare it competition banned already.

Suddenly, one hopes there are other phones with exactly those dimensions and same connector.

Sometime the old methods are best. (2)

DeathElk (883654) | about 6 months ago | (#46051741)

I see no advantage to this.. thing over traditional blood, sweat and tears learning methods. The thing doesn't even tune. The most fundamental part of learning any instrument is feeling the natural acoustic harmonics generated when the instrument is slightly out of tune, compared to when it is in tune. This is ear training, and no shortcuts can be taken there. This device can not replicate that. Even an unplugged electric guitar generates audible harmonics that are fundamental to learning music.

The other issue I have is the requirement to concentrate wholly on the fretboard, not the score. This method may teach the student a few scales, licks or songs, but they will not develop the subconscious fingering accuracy required to truly advance. This will only come by throwing away this.. thing, and buying a proper guitar.

Re: (1)

davide marney (231845) | about 7 months ago | (#46055047)

Though it deserves high marks as a toy, as something to learn how to really play on, it suffers from several sins, and I wouldn't recommend it as a way to learn.

- Focuses the attention on your hands, exactly the wrong place, as you point out. (For the non-guitar players: looking at your hands while you play is like looking at your fingers while you type. If you do that, you will never be able to type quickly. Or play proficiently.)

- Teaches TAB notation, which is an inferior way to model music (no markup for timing, keys, phrasing, or expression, and is usable only if the musician knows the song in advance, and is using a guitar.) TAB is very limiting, I'm exceedingly sorry to see it being so widely adopted. Musicians who learn how to read real music scores can reproduce any song, on sight, in real time, whether they've heard it before, or not. And yes, there is even a notation in traditional scores for showing guitar players which fingers to use.

- Teaches nothing about how to work with a stringed instrument, the strings are just for show. Pressing a button is not the same thing as holding down a string.

interesting... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#46051869)

can it teach you to play this [youtube.com] ?

(yes that *is* me from, i believe, 1992 or so)

Anybody (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 7 months ago | (#46052227)

>""The First Guitar That Anybody Can Play," hooks to your iPhone."

Correct wording: "The first guitar that anyone that also owns an iPhone can play". All my small devices are Android and shall remain so....

Re:Anybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46052487)

This time next it will be "The first guitar that NObody wants to play".

I already use gtar ... (3, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46052567)

I already use gtar, because Solaris tar tends to bomb out at 2GB.

Re:I already use gtar ... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 months ago | (#46053011)

And that is tonight's joke for the greybeards.

Re:I already use gtar ... (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | about 7 months ago | (#46054779)

To be honest, I first thought about tar as well and I'm neither a system administrator nor a "greybeard".

Re:I already use gtar ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46055247)

I already use gtar, because Solaris tar tends to bomb out at 2GB.

... but.. does the compression go to 11?

Re:I already use gtar ... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 months ago | (#46055307)

... but.. does the compression go to 11

Yep - really zips along.

no one buys this for piano (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46053845)

Which they've had for a while.

- sabert

Am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46054131)

who thought this was going to be about GNU Tar? Guess I've been a sysadmin too long!

Lame (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 7 months ago | (#46054279)

sorry, but as a musician (guitar, bass, cello, sax, ...) I consider this extremely lame. Esp. that
1) Iphone and not android
2) teaching mode does not teach you how to play so it sounds good (eg. how tones have to ring etc)

Pain in the neck (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | about 7 months ago | (#46054777)

Literally, that. If you keep tilting your head like that guy in the picture, you're gonna have a sore neck real soon, real bad. Have fun with that.

Meanwhile, I'll play cool songs on my real guitar of my choosing that I'm learning to play with Rocksmith.

"OMG Your musical instrument Just. Got. Better!" (1)

taylorius (221419) | about 7 months ago | (#46055185)

I suppose some people are so unwilling to take the time to learn, or to do something properly, that there's always a ready market for a stupid device to make it "easier". It doesn't work. What do a load of flashing LEDs, (controlled by a smartphone, what else) add beyond what printed chord charts, or guitar tab provide? It's exactly the same information.

Instead, why not spend that $400 on an acoustic guitar (you can get a really good one for that money), and practice putting your fingers on the right strings and frets, forming the chords, practice picking or strumming, and KEEP DOING IT, again and again, every day until you can form the shapes instantly. Your brain will learn, and your fingers will get sore, but that goes away. It takes time, but at the end you've learned a real skill. Imagine how proud you'll feel, you've got that skill for life - the ability to play songs, entertain friends. It's well worth the effort.

Don't piss about with some gadget that promises to let you skip all the hard work. They don't work, never have and never will.

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