The Populele is a gamified smart ukulele that promises to make music (more) fun

Of the many legions of smart devices that will be making their debut at CES 2018, few are likely to be as smile-inducing as the Populele. Because the only thing better than a ukulele is a smart ukulele. After a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign in the summer of 2017, PopuBand Music is back with its gamified ukulele that leverages technology to make learning an instrument as easy as it is fun. And while practice will still make perfect, having a smart instrument certainly gives budding musicians a leg up.

Meant for folks who don’t necessarily have an unlimited amount of time to perfect their musical skills (but still want to impress a lucky lady or lad with a few strums of the strings), PopuBand and its flagship product hopes to make learning the ukulele a bit more accessible to folks who might not be savants.

“We started PopuBand with the conviction that music education can change lives,” said CEO Bohan Zhang. “Private tutors are expensive, and the average person’s schedule doesn’t suit regular classroom attendance. Self-study is fine, but not the best way for everyone. We wanted to make something affordable that empowers one to truly learn an instrument.”

While the Populele isn’t exactly as affordable as “dumb” ukuleles (which can often be found within the $25 to $30 range), you’re not just paying for the instrument when you buy the $200 Populele package — you’re also paying for built-in lessons and an accelerated learning process. Moreover, the PopuBand team notes that their instrument is of a higher quality than you might find from a ukulele purchased from, say, Walmart. The Populele ukulele is constructed by hand with premium European maple and Italian Aquila strings. Its fretboard learning system features 72 built-in LED lights that connect via Bluetooth to let you know where your fingers need to be at what time.

The smart ukulele also comes with a companion app that boasts musical games, a tuner, a 100-plus song library, recording capabilities, video tutorials, and the ability to easily share your progress on various social channels. So if you made a promise to yourself to learn something new in 2018, the Populele just might make this particular goal a bit more attainable.

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