No strings? Not much of a guitar then, is it?
Where we're going, we don't needs strings.
Ho hum. You're off on that BTTF vibe again. Go on, then. What is this futuristic instrument?
It's called Kurv, and it's a gesture-reading, wireless-strumming digital guitar that's small enough to slip in your pocket. Busking will never be the same again.
OK, you've got my attention. How does it work?
To use it you strap the 'fretboard' on to your hand then pluck with the pick to play - there's one built for right-handed players and another for southpaws. It pairs over Bluetooth to your iPhone and the notes get played through its headphone socket, so you can practice solo with a pair of headphones or hook it up to a proper set of speakers.
OK, sounds like it might be a useful learning tool.
Absolutely - but there's a lot more to it than just that. It also comes with an app, which lets you switch between electric, acoustic and bass guitars. Plus it has 60 songs built into it too.
Wait, pre-loaded songs? So it's a kid's toy.
Not at all. It's got eight fret buttons, which is enough for the eight chords in a key, eight octaves in a scale or eight notes in an octave - pretty much all a beginner needs to get started. The buttons are all pressure sensitive, so you've got just as much control as an actual guitar - only without the sore fingertips. And if you're already God's gift to Gibson, you can use gestures to switch between chords and notes, go up or down octaves, and make a vibrato effect. All of which means it should suit everyone from kids to actual rock stars.
The app shows you how to play, Guitar Hero-style, with notes appearing along the screen in time with the beat. And there's an eclectic jukebox of tracks to pick from, including classics from The Beatles, The Clash and AC/DC and more modern music from Coldplay and Ed Sheeran. So probably best to stick with the oldies, frankly. Once you've got the hang of it you can switch modes and create your own songs, dragging in notes and chords on to the fret buttons in the app. It'll play nicely as a MIDI controller too, for making music on a PC or Mac.
Does the price sound as good as it looks?
It's cheaper than a guitar with strings, if that's what you're asking. Kurv is a Kickstarter project that's strummed up enough backers to blast past its original £33,000 (around US$47,500) goal. It's still got 9 days to go, so right now you can pick one up for £150 (around US$215). You won't be able to rock out until October, though, when the Early Bird units start shipping.