Go on, admit it! You wish you were a drummer so you could tap out all the cool rhythms in your head. Or maybe being a piano player would be better – there are so many apps for your phone and tablet that let you play and compose. But, no, you have to go and love the guitar. Well, if carrying around that clunky Fender is too much, then there is good news!
All of you would-be rockers will really have something to sing about. You being a folk and country and blues artists can share the joy too. Though it is still in pre-production, Mark Roebke’s FretPen has been making noise on Kickstarter.
Pen-sized (literally), and guitar-shaped prototype has only one string. It’s made of wood and has steel frets, just like a real guitar. There is a micro USB port for charging, and a Bluetooth chip inside. You can practice your chords and fingering on the FretPen as-is. However, if you pair it with an Apple iOS device you can produce professional sound in three octaves. Imagine making your iPad rock with riffs from Van Halen or Jimmy Hendricks, right there in the coffee shop.
Even though this little gem has only three frets, there are is a button that “moves” your fingering up and down a virtual guitar on your iPad. The other part of the button allows you to “change strings” by moving it back and forth. With a little practice, you’ll have the motions down and you’ll be ready to kick it!
Maybe you want to tone it down a little. No problem! The FretPen can also sound like an acoustic guitar.
Denver-based Roebke demonstrates the real genius via the “pen” part of the FretPen. Let’s say you are in a meeting with a tune that just will NOT leave your brain. You need to get it out, and quickly. Voila! The pen is right there, and you can make notes, jot down lyrics, rhyme some jams, or whatever. The possibilities are endless.
You and your pals all break out your FretPens on a road trip and make a soundtrack to go along with your Facebook posts, or perhaps you will meet someone while waiting for the bus. Your impromptu serenade lights up everyone’s day.
If you’re really not into the guitar yourself, but have a budding Eric Clapton at home, you might want to invest in a FretPen before plunking out hundreds for a real guitar. It won’t take up the entire backseat, either!