If you've ever wailed out an air-guitar riff when no one was looking (or maybe when everyone was looking), you understand the primal appeal of the six-string guitar. But in real life these rock-n-roll axes can seem kind of intimidating to a beginner: They're expensive and hard to tune correctly if you don't know what you're doing. Rafael Atijas didn't want that to stop anyone, much less a musically curious kid, from rocking out -- so he designed the Loog guitar, a three-stringed "starter" guitar with a modular design that anyone from age 6 to 60 can assemble themselves and start noodling around with.
The Loog began as Atijas's thesis project as a student at NYU, and when he wanted to turn his prototype into a proper product, he turned to -- where else? -- the crowdfunders on Kickstarter.com.
Atijas designed the Loog with three strings instead of six because his research showed that fewer strings made it easier for a beginner with no musical training to pick up the instrument and start getting results fast. To purists who scoff that the Loog is just a toy or some crippled version of a "real" guitar: Just watch the kid at the end of the video rocking out on the thing and tell me he isn't "really" playing. ("A regular chord in a standard 6-string guitar is usually comprised of no more than 3 notes," the Loog site says.)
Atijas's clever modular design also lets kids and parents bond by building the instrument together (it only takes 15 minutes, "much better than just buying it in a store," he says), and they can even swap out different bodies and necks as their musical skills grow. The short neck is just the right size for 6- to 9-year-olds to use, but when they outgrow that, just pop a few screws out and attach the longer neck.
If all goes well with the rest of Atijas's Kickstarter fundraising, the Loog will start shipping this May. With 20 days left to go, he's already collected more than double his $15,000 budget. No wonder: The video is adorable, the product is ingenious, and who wouldn't want to help create a way for kids to jam together that doesn't involve firing up a video game console?