Lights lead the way to rapid learning with the Poputar system
PopuBand Music launched a learning ukulele on Indiegogo in 2017 that had students follow lights on the neck to master popular tunes. Now the company is crowdfunding an LED-packing acoustic guitar and app learning system called the Poputar.
Like the Populele, the Poputar is aimed at getting you playing in minutes and works with an app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone or tablet that teaches students to play through onscreen games and tutorials while 96 LEDs embedded in the ABS neck show them where to place their fretting fingers.
The teaching system is divided into four parts. The first gamified section deals with music theory, and is split into basic, intermediate and advanced levels, and is supported by tutorial videos. The second phase presents rearranged classic and modern pop songs, while the third has a follow mode to learn a song and a play mode that's graded for accuracy. Only when a student achieves a certain level of proficiency in a song will the next level be unlocked.
And the final mode opens up a smart guitar toolkit to the user, where the lights can be encouraged to dance as you play, a chord dictionary is available to show finger positions for "all kind of chords in all kinds of keys," there's a tuner, and a metronome, and more.
The 36-inch (914-mm)-long guitar features a spruce top and mahogany back and sides, Bluetooth 5.0 makes for app-prompted LED illumination in as little as 0.02 seconds, so you likely won't notice any lag, and it's powered by AA-sized batteries for up to 10 hours of playtime. There's a piezo bridge pickup and instrument output jack for plugging into an amp, but it's the microphone of the smart device running the app that's used for sound recognition, which incorporates noise reduction technology.
There seems to be a larger and more capable P1 version too, with a built-in power supply module, though this doesn't appear to be part of the crowdfunding campaign.
The Indiegogo page reckons that the system could have you "become a guitar master in 10 days." While we doubt you'd be able to hold your own with the likes of Adrian Legg, Leo Kottke or Christie Lenée after that time, based on our experiences with the Populele system, we'd say that fluidly strumming or even picking songs is certainly possible.
Pledges start at US$259 for a black model, which comes with a travel bag. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start from December.