The PocketGuitar literally puts a guitar in your pocket!
Traveling with a guitar has always been a cumbersome task. Whether it’s the fear of airline employees “handling” your precious instrument...
...or the fear of losing it in transit (or worse, STOLEN), or the annoyance of dealing with your precious axe “reacclimating” to its new climate, or a myriad of other woes that can come with having an instrument with you ‘on the road’ - it’s no wonder that we’re always on the lookout for something that’s a bit more portable. Maybe it doesn’t have to be just like the real thing if it means we can still play and make music wherever we are going. After all, we’re not Yo Yo Ma, and we can’t all afford to buy an entirely separate airline seat for our baby.
While there are plenty of tips and tricks and rules to follow when traveling with an instrument (like having the right case), it still can be far more of a hassle than it’s worth. This has left manufacturers and builders trying to find ways to make a guitar and all its “long-necked-ness” more portable and efficient. And while there have been some cool ideas, they all still take up a good amount of space and make some compromises in sound and playability.
There is the “Traveler Guitar” of course- which brought the guitar’s form factor down to just about the bare minimum by shrinking down and removing as much of the guitar as possible- in essence folding the guitar in on itself so the headstock and tuners are a part of the body.
Hofner created something similar with their Shorty Electric.
Then there are the small acoustics, like this Baby Taylor:
Or this smaller-yet Backpacker guitar from Martin:
Then, in the quest to give some more “real tone and feel” to a portable mini guitar, we have the crazy folding guitars, which after seeing them in their folded state almost makes you think they have taken a journey through the meat grinder on your airline of choice.
Stewart Stow-Away Travel Guitar (folding neck, eek!):
Now, a lot of the above-mentioned guitars all have that “pocket portable” vibe going on, but let’s be real; none of those are actually able to fit in one's pocket. Hell, even the smallest travel guitar is still more akin to carrying around a small bat than a portable musical device. True, it’s better to have any guitar than no guitar at all, but what if there was something even smaller? Something that honestly DOES fit in your pocket and happens to use that other device we all carry around and can’t live without!
Enter the PocketGuitar from AeroBand! It’s a guitar that fits in your, well, pocket. But it also happens to fit in your phone, as well as inside a guitar pick.
Now you might be looking at this and thinking, “but String Thing, where the hell are the strings?!”
Well, there are none! To be frank, there’s no “guitar” either! That’s probably the best/craziest part about this truly portable instrument. Nothing to break, nothing to tune, and nothing to cause headaches. All you need is your phone and your new (albeit thicker) guitar pick. Your smartphone does the job of formulating chords and tones while the pick you hold in your hands takes care of the strumming/picking/etc.
So, much like a real guitar, one hand takes care of the tone structuring and note placements, while the other hand takes care of the rhythms and placements of said tones. Yeah, yeah, we can hear your bemoaned lamentations from here, but the point here is that this is something truly new, and truly portable. So, while you won’t build up your six-fret-reaches, your calluses, or your vibrato with this device; you CAN indeed compose music, create new tones and sounds, create new ideas, along with doing things with a guitar that were not possible before this. This might even be a wonderful new creative tool when it comes to sparking a new chord progression to write a song with, or a new way to find chord voicings that might be outside your ‘usual box of tricks.’
Here’s how it all works. The pick itself is the main thing you buy, and at under 50 dollars, makes it something very affordable for those wishing to both make music on-the-go and on-the-cheap. With this technology-loaded pick comes a free app that you download to your phone. Once you pair the device via Bluetooth, all you need to do is choose the chords you wish to play while you strum with the pick in the other hand. Don’t worry, this isn’t an app where you need to choose frets with no tactility on a touchscreen. In this case, you simply are choosing already-built chord ‘bubbles’ on your phone in real time as you strum, much like playing a real guitar. This also means you get perfect sounding, in-tune chords every time, with no need to worry about an out of tune (or worse, out of 'setup') guitar from traveling. We’re sure it takes some getting used to, but any cool new piece of gear usually has a bit of a learning curve.
But how does it sound you ask?
This is the demo you have got to see, and if you don’t want to watch the talking, fast forward to 3:00 to hear how much truly beautiful music you can make with it. Best of all, the PocketGuitar can be a creative tool to inspire music on your REAL six string, as you see in this wonderful demo by the ever-talented Ash Freeman:
So, if you are on the outlook to create music, versus meddle about with actual strings/tuning/fretting, this MAY be something to consider! It might even be the perfect ‘gateway drug’ to get someone into playing guitar, in a manner similar to how RockBand and GuitarHero spawned literally countless musicians.
This small tool can be something you quickly throw in your carry-on bag as you leave for a flight. With headphones, you could even be playing guitar and writing music on an airplane and disturbing no one (except maybe the people sitting next to you wondering why you are strumming the air and making guitar faces).
After all, what has been created here isn't much different at all than the tried and true keyboard synth. One programs chords or notes into an arpeggiator and makes stunning music from that. Only in this case, the whole synth and controller have been sized down considerably; so much so that it will literally fit right in your pocket! As a fun bonus, this pick also works as a foot controller for the PocketDrums that the company also makes. So, if you've wanted to learn drums, this might also be an easy way to teach yourself some hand/foot independence before shelling out the money for a real drum kit.
AeroBand is doing some amazing things with sensors, Bluetooth, accelerometers and more. So, if you’re looking for something cool, inspirational, and VERY different; we think this device is totally worth checking out!