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A.I.-powered guitar gadget ‘hears’ what you play, backs you up in real time

We’ve previously covered guitar-based gadgets designed to help new players learn their instrument of choice. But what if you’re already a guitar player who’s just in search of a backup band? Then you should check out the new Kickstarter campaign for OneManBand, a smart device that “listens” to what you’re playing, adapts to it, and then generates a real-time backup music track to play along with you.

According to the project creators, the technology “utilizes capacitive and inductive tech to detect signals from the strings and convert them to digital data without any latency.” This backup sound isn’t just a simple drumbeat or matched guitar sound, either. It can produce a rhythm or bass guitar to play along with you, or even piano, percussion, horns, or a string section to deliver a sound that’s pretty darn convincing. You can also select from a range of rhythms, genres and styles, meaning that OneManBand promises to work well for country music, rock or jazz guitar players alike. Factor in the ability to record your sessions, and solo playing will never be the same again.

You can choose from several different options, including an acoustic or electric OMB guitar with the tech already built in, or an upgrade kit that allows you to incorporate the tech into your favorite guitar with a bit of “light soldering.” (The kit includes soldering iron.) There’s also an OMB foot pedal that connects to your guitar and app via Bluetooth, letting you control it hands-free.

At the time of that writing, OneManBand has 22 days left on the clock, although it’s already smashed its original target of $50,000 to the tune (get it!) of $467,010 and counting. If you’d like to get your hands on the technology, you can place a pre-order on Kickstarter. An OMB upgrade kit starts at $149, while an OMB acoustic guitar will cost you $249 and an OMB electric guitar $449. Options including a pedal will set you back some extra cash. Shipping is set to take place in September 2018.

Until then, you’ll just have to play the old-fashioned way!

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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