Invention Awards 2014: An Electronic Studio At Guitarists' Fingertips

Relieving guitarists of frustration with one master control

Guitar Wing

Photograph by Ralph Smith

Mixing synthetic effects with traditional guitar work can make for groundbreaking music, but even with musical instrument digital interface (MIDI)—which helps coordinate multiple electronic instruments—guitarists often hunch over and fiddle with gear during a set. “The floor is a long ways away,” says Peter McCullough, a composer at NYU who works with guitarists. “Every time they have to bend down to change something, a part of me dies.”

To untether frustrated guitarists, a group of musicians invented a low-profile and wireless MIDI controller called Guitar Wing. It clamps onto any guitar in seconds for near-effortless control over effects, software, digital audio workstations, and even stage lights between strums. Jay Smith and his colleagues recently redesigned the buttons for better ergonomics and response in a new version, which will hit the market this spring for $199.

TAPPING:

Pressure-sensitive pads transform tapping into sound effects; for example, dynamic percussion.

SLIDING:

Three sliders enable the player to pan audio, bend notes, dim stage lights, and much more.

MOTION:

A three-axis accelerometer permits control over devices simply by moving the guitar around.

Travis Redding, Matt Moldover, Jay Smith

Inventors: Travis Redding, Matt Moldover, Jay Smith
evelopment cost to date: $100,000
Company: Livid Instruments
Market Maturity: •••••

_This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of _Popular Science.