OK, I'm going to ask for your thoughts on this but, I do want 'thoughts' and not knee-jerk rants—I'm only one allowed to rant around here. ;-)
Meet the Magic Instruments Guitar. It's currently on Indiegogo where it's utterly smashed through its funding goal with tons of time left.
The best way to get to grips with what it is and what it does is to take a look at the videos.
Now, I know that, if you're reading my stuff, you have a dog in the fight. You've probably already spent some time (likely lots) learning to play an actual guitar.
But, how you do you feel about something like this?
Is it a terrible travesty—why should playing an instrument be easy? Is it a weird flash-in-the-pan that'll utterly fizzle out and never be heard from after a few months? Is it a fantastic idea that allows people to play some music, that they may love, without having to spend so much time learning?
I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I certainly have a bias too so you should bear that in mind.
Have a look at another video for an idea of how the instrument is played.
What's seems to be clear from this video is that, playing this isn't just a matter of pressing a button. Actually, it seems to mean pressing a sequence of buttons in order to pick relevant major, minor, seventh, etc. chords. This is all well and good when you're following along in the companion app, but—personally—I can't help feeling that the mental effort and physical action of this could easily be employed to learning the notes of a real guitar. Or keyboard. Or recorder. Or whatever.
Granted this thing gives you a massive head-start on having to learn chord shapes and, if you're picking up a guitar for the first time, chords are a big deal. Also, it's probably a bit easier on a beginner's fingers, and the smart app can guide you along as you play.
Actually, the companion app seems to be the key to this from Magic Instrument's perspective. While the guitar will work just fine without it, you'll need the app to get song lyrics and chord progressions. This will be a service you pay for—either by individual song (or block of songs), or by monthly subscription.
Like I say, I'm bringing my own biases and preconceptions to this. I'm unlikely to be buying one of these (or ever repairing one). I'm not the target market and, given the current funding situation, that target market seems to have spoken. The writer from whom I first learned about this was incredibly excited about the idea. So who am I to question it?
I certainly wouldn't want to deprive anyone of playing a musical instrument. The MI page has a quote from Matt Bellamy, "For people who don't have time to learn guitar, Magic Instruments is the ultimate shortcut…"
Is that fair?
Am I missing something? It's easy to be dismissive of something like this if you're already over the hurdle of knowing some chords. I can't help feeling that time expended on this could be better spent with an actual musical instrument, and the potential of a much broader experience.
Tell me what you think? I need opinions on this to help me process it. Thoughtful thoughts in the comments, please.
What do you think?