The gTar, an electric guitar that makes it easy for anyone to play music with an embedded iPhone and LEDs, is now open for pre-orders. Incident, the company behind the gTar, has spent three years designing and prototyping the product. They launched on-stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York last year and had a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that drew in more than 1,000 orders and $350,000.
They released this video today, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the manufacturing process, which happens in Shenzhen, naturally. It’s a mini-documentary that shows the end-to-end process for making the gTar, which retails for $399.
The gTar is a digital guitar that has interactive LEDs along the fretboard that can show you how to play songs. There’s a dock for an iPhone, where you can load in different songs or record your performances.
The whole Kickstarter process was a real learning experience for the company. They had only anticipated about a few hundred orders or so. Instead they got demand for about five tons worth of product. It wasn’t difficult to scale up the manufacturing process, given the experience of the factories the company had partnered with.
But managing expectations of backers has been a day-by-day learning process.
“We got a lot of really, really mainstream backers, not early adopters. And the response they had was that they expected it to be commercial grade — something that you could put on the shelf and buy it ready-to-go,” said co-founder Idan Beck. “But the thing is that Kickstarter projects are still pre-production.”
They had to refine the product in a couple of ways. They needed to make the strings more sensitive so that they could be used with standard guitar picks. They also had to make it easier to get firmware upgrades, with cartridges that you can pop in and out (so you don’t have to send the gTar back).
They’ve also increased developer access so that more apps can be built specifically for the gTar. It’s still early though with only about a dozen developer packs registered.
Incident is opening the online store today, and the company hopes to scale up in a sustainable way. “The key is to grow at a pace that you can control,” Beck said.
Here’s the original video that shows how the gTar works: