Rocking out with an imaginary guitar has gone from appreciative concert mimicry to a very serious business. Next month, finalists from around the world will head to Finland in the hope of being crowned Air Guitar World Champion. For those who aspire to get to the winner's podium in later years or just want to rock out to classic tunes wherever they happen to be, the newly released Air Pick could prove just the ticket. Rhythmically strumming the chunky guitar pick produces one of three included tunes from the built-in speaker.

Originally invented by Michael Gramelspacher and Rory Sledge of SG Labs, the first Air Pick prototypes were made for Ohio Art and shown at the New York Toy Fair in February of this year.

Each device contains three songs, selected with a switch on the back. The user is offered a choice of Classic Rock (with Smoke On The Water, What I Like About You and Wild Thing), Rebel Rock (with Sweet Home Alabama, Born To Be Wild and Mississippi Queen) and a Rolling Stones version (containing Satisfaction, Paint It Black and Brown Sugar).

Rather than just play the tune for you when you switch it on, the Air Pick requires a flick of the wrist to produce a guitar note from the device's tiny speaker. Each song has a specific rhythm made up of long and short notes, so you'll have to really strut your air guitar stuff and get your timing right if you don't want to look and sound like a complete fool.

Near the speaker vent at the back is a button to add some whammy bar wobble to your riff, and a screw to open the battery compartment to swap out fading AG13 cell batteries so that the music can go on and on. Each Air Pick also includes a carabiner clip to help with transport between performances.

Before you dive in and grab one, though, you might like to note that the lack of a volume control could turn this little device into a dangerous (read: very annoying) weapon in the hands of any youngster wanting to brush up his or her air guitar skills while you're watching TV.

Each Air Pick carries a suggested retail of GBP 8.99 (approx. US$14), more information is available from UK toy industry veterans Flair. Availability in the U.S. is scheduled for September.

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