What do you think of when someone says musical instrument? Most would think: piano, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, or some other instrument. These examples have been around for decades, even centuries for some, but in this day and age, what we call a musical instrument has expanded greatly. More recently, with the rise of EDM (electronic dance music), launchpads or MIDI controllers have begun to be recognized as musical instruments. As 2017 progresses, more companies are creating new ways to make music, and even new spins on old classics.
The MI Guitar, produced by Magic Instruments, is a new take on a staple instrument in many genres of music, the guitar. The MI Guitar is blends together the traditional guitar with technology. This instrument was designed with beginners in mind; it makes learning the guitar easy and fun.
The guitar takes your classic electric guitar design and seamlessly meshes it with technology. It replaces the painful pressing of strings with a simple button press. While it simplifies the pressing of strings to a button press, the guitar still has metal strings that make it feel like a real guitar when picking or strumming. Plus, the strings never have to be tuned or changed. The sound all comes from a built-in speaker, no need for a separate amp. The speaker even allows for change between different sounds, including acoustic and electric, but these features aren’t the only thing that makes the MI Guitar special.
As a guitarist, I know how frustrating it is having to drill the numerous chords and notes into your head, just to be able to play simple songs. Most people pick up the guitar because they want to play the songs they love, but the hours and hours of practice it requires to get to that point is what drives those people away from learning. The MI Guitar fixes that problem with its ‘Magic Mode’. Magic Mode allows beginners to play a chord with a single button press and strum, no need to learn all the fingering. This allows beginners to play the songs they want, right from the get go.
Once you decide that you want to learn you to play guitar the traditional way, simply switch the MI Guitar from Magic Mode to Traditional Mode. Traditional Mode allows you to play the MI Guitar just like a regular guitar. The MI Guitar also comes with a companion app that works on both iOS and Android, the app has an expansive music library that teaches you how to play the songs you want.
Overall, the MI Guitar provides a simple and fun way to learn the guitar without all of the time and frustration associated with a regular guitar. The only downside to the MI Guitar is the $399.00 price tag. The price puts it above that of cheaper acoustic and even electric guitars – but maybe if the MI Guitar proves to be worthwhile, it will earn a spot on our top travel guitars.
The Populele is made by PopuBand Music Inc. and is branded as a ‘smart ukulele’. The Populele is similar to the MI Guitar in that it blends the classic ukulele with technology. Though the key difference is that it uses technology to make learning the ukulele easier, rather than making the playing itself easier.
The Populele takes a standard ukulele and adds some extra features that make it unique. The instrument comes equipped with a module on the side that allows it to pair with a smart phone or tablet and access all of the instruments functions. The module can be charged using a micro USB. The module itself connects to a set of LED lights under the fretboard of the ukulele. These lights illuminate when a song is selected on the smart phone, showing where the player should place their fingers to play the song. The LED circuits may be what helps you learn how to play the instruments, but the real fun is what you can do with the connected smart device.
Using a smart device that is paired with the instrument’s Bluetooth module, you can access the Populele application. The application has many features that are essential to any aspiring musician. From a smart device, you can access a continuously updated library of songs that you can learn, you can use ‘GameMode’ to help familiarize yourself with notes and chords, and you can even record and share your playing to social media.
Overall, the Populele is a fun, simple way to learn how to play the ukulele without sacrificing the experience of playing on a real ukulele. The ease of learning notes and chords make this a must have for the aspiring musician. The blend of the classic ukulele and modern technology truly makes this the instrument of the future.
You can also take a look at our list of the best electric ukuleles if you’re after a different type of sound.
Unlike the previous two instruments, which are a modern take on classic instrument, the Phonotonic is a completely new take on music. The Phonotonic isn’t so much an instrument that you play, it is a device that turns your body into an instrument.
The instrument uses two parts, the actual device itself and the phone application. The inertial sensors measure movements, while the app converts the data gathered by the sensor into music in real time. The device connects to a smart device using Bluetooth, and more than one device can be connected to the same device. The movements of the user drive the melody and the rhythm of each track selected by the user.
The brain of Phonotonic is the application, that is compatible with iOS and Android devices. Apart from converting the sensor data into melody and rhythm, the application allows access to a massive music library that includes pop, rock, electro, and jazz tracks that you can move to. The application also allows you to record and share your music to social media. When two sensors are connected to the same smart device, the app splits the rhythm and melody between the two devices allowing you create music with your family and friends.
Overall, the Phonotonic is a new instrument for those who want to make music, but to not have the time to invest into learning how to play a classical instrument. Unlike the other instruments mentioned in this article, the Phonotonic can be used without any practice and can be shared with family and friends. In a word, the Phonotonic is a truly social instrument.
The three aforementioned instruments are the modern world’s take on music. Some take the old and combine it with the new to create a brand-new way to learn how to play and instrument. Others have pioneered new technologies to revolutionize how music itself is made. These are what the world has created in the first few months of 2017, but what will the future hold?