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Magic Instruments Rhythm Guitar lets anyone play guitar, regardless of skill

Most anyone who listens to guitar-heavy music — whether it be electric or acoustic — has probably wanted to play guitar at one point or another. While plenty of people do learn, at least a little, it still isn’t an easy process. Fortunately, for those who never managed to pick it up, there may be hope after all, thanks to a product now on Indiegogo.

The Magic Instruments Rhythm Guitar offers customers the experience of playing a guitar, right down to strumming or picking individual strings, without needing to learn chords or scales. This seems to have people interested, as the project has reached six times its original funding goal, currently sitting at over $300,000 raised.

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“I studied piano at The Juilliard School for almost a decade, but when I tried to learn the guitar, I found that my physical skills and musical knowledge weren’t easily transferable and ultimately quit out of frustration,” Magic Instruments co-founder and CEO Brian Fan said in a statement. “When I learned that 90 percent of people learning guitar also quit in the first year because of the difficult learning curve, I wanted to change that.”

The approach that the Rhythm Guitar takes is halfway between the standard instrument and the plastic guitars used to play Guitar Hero or other similar games. While there are indeed six velocity-sensitive strings on the body of the guitar, the fretboard is button based, making it much easier for someone who has never picked up a guitar to get started right away.

For those who just want to strum along while they play their favorite songs, the companion mobile app offers chords and lyrics to thousands of songs. If, on the other hand, you’re feeling more ambitious, the Rhythm Guitar does allow users to improvise and create their own music as well.

The Rhythm Guitar offers six different guitar tones, as well as a bass guitar mode. In addition to the standard volume and tone controls you’d find on an actual guitar, the Rhythm Guitar also features built-in effects like chorus and reverb. You don’t need an external amplifier either, as the sounds play from a built-in speaker.

While the Rhythm Guitar is clearly aimed at beginners, it has features to offer to experienced musicians as well. In addition to a standard 1/4-inch output allowing the instrument to be plugged into an amp, it also features a MIDI output, letting it function as a full-fledged MIDI controller for use with Apple’s GarageBand or even more professional software like Ableton Live.

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The final retail price for the Magic Instruments Rhythm Guitar will be $500, but early bird pricing on Indiegogo currently has it priced at $320, with another tier at $350 once the lower price runs out. Accessories, including a strap, gig bag, and a 10-pack of picks, are also available.

The campaign comes to an end on May 20, with an estimated delivery window of March 2017. For more information, visit the campaign page on Indiegogo.