Connected Objects Music

Instrument 1 gets your groove on no matter how you play

The power of music apps have opened the door to a wide range of controllers — things that look like keyboards and disco floors and guitars. The incredible variety of sounds they offer when paired with the right software, however, pales in comparison to their relatively limited ways of producing those sounds.

That’s not the case for unfortunately named Instrument 1, a bold MIDI controller and musical instrument that allows mixing and matching of sounds and play methods. One can strum it like a guitar with its “digital strings” that don’t break, pluck it like a bass, tap it like a drum machine or play it a bit like a piano keyboard. There’s even a way to emulate guitar playing when used with an iPhone or watch. About the only traditional way of producing sound from an instrument that isn’t supported is blowing into it.

The compact Instrument 1 can run for about three hours off its built-in battery (alas, it uses too much juice to charge via USB) and i1s companion app  allows owners to define their own sounds. The versatility can keep backers’ hands occupied for $349 come January 2016. Artiphon  seeks $75,000 by April 12th. Curiously, particularly given how many organizations helped in the product’s development. the company is shying away from committing to producing more Instrument 1 units after fulfilling its Kickstarter obligations

The Instrument 1 is reminiscent of the Zivx Jamstik that was successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo back in 2014, but that product — while also portable and less expensive — is more focused on replicating a guitar experience on the go for learning and practice. But this latest MIDI-compatible plaything should evoke a lot of fun for newbies who want to experiment with different methods of producing music as well as experienced musicians who want something compact and versatile.

Cell Phone Accessories Music

FretPen is an ink-slinging miniature guitar toy for practicing riffs

The Premise. Musicians have trouble spending time away from their instruments. But bulky instruments, especially guitars, aren’t very portable and cannot be left in cars or public places where they may be stolen. Those with busy lives who like making music are left with few options.

The Product. The FretPen allows traveling musicians to travel easier. This mini guitar has one string and uses an app and electronics to allow the user to make music on the go. With the iOS app, users can add effects to their music and play with either an acoustic or electric guitar sound. The FretPen is the size of a normal pen and even comes with a pen attachment so it really delivers on its name. This product uses Bluetooth technology to deliver wireless music to your smartphone. Using the app, the FretPen user can then edit the music they’ve made however they wish.

The Pitch. Fret’s video shows a rocker guy using the FretPen in transit which is a great example of the product’s versatility. The rest of the campaign shows screenshots of the app in action as well as the mechanics of the product. The creators use photos comparing the product to common objects to demonstrate how small it truly is. FretPen hopes to raise $35,000 in its 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For early-bird rockers, FretPen will cost $99 at the “Front Row” price or $119 at the “Second Row” price. The regular or “Main Floor” pricing is $129. Reward tiers go up to $1,499 and all have an estimated delivery date of November 2014.

The Potential. FretPen is a small, fun and easy way for musicians to make music while they’re touring or even just at their day jobs. Of course, it won’t match up to an actual guitar, but seems to be able to do a decent job at creating some cool music. We’ve seen guitars that hook up to smartphones and tablets in the past, like the IGI Smart Guitar and the relatively portable Jamstik, but none so tiny and wireless as the FretPen. This product is perfect for amateur guitarists or busy rock ‘n’ rollers and will certainly find success in the smartphone-meets-guitar market.