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Strum a guitar, bow a violin, tap a piano, loop a beat – on a single instrument. An intuitive way to create music and play any sound.
Strum a guitar, bow a violin, tap a piano, loop a beat – on a single instrument. An intuitive way to create music and play any sound.
Strum a guitar, bow a violin, tap a piano, loop a beat – on a single instrument. An intuitive way to create music and play any sound.
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3,391 backers pledged $1,319,672 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Introducing the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 project video thumbnail
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Introducing the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1

$1,319,672

3,391

  • Play any instrument, style, and sound with a single device that connects directly to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Our patented multi-instrument technology transforms the INSTRUMENT 1 into a guitar, violin, bass, piano, drum machine... it's any instrument you want it to be.
  • Plug in and play 100’s of apps like GarageBand with universal musical gestures: strumming, tapping, bowing, sliding, and more.
  • Digital string-like interface works with any MIDI-compatible software. 
  • The unique ergonomic design can be held in multiple positions, and is fully ambidextrous. 
  • Design new instruments and custom tunings via the Artiphon companion app.
  • It's compact, portable, durable, self-powered, and simple.
  • Designed and engineered in Nashville, TN.

We believe anyone can make music, and that most people really want to. Like snapping an Instagram, now you don't have to already be a professional to start making music and enjoy every note. We’re building an instrument that empowers people to play music apps beyond the touchscreen, and we want to inspire people to explore music-making in their everyday lives. 

A guitar is designed to be strummed; piano keys are pressed; drum pads are tapped; violins are bowed. But what if a single instrument could be played with any of these techniques? That's exactly what we're creating – one instrument that lets you be the whole band.

Play it like a guitar, violin, piano, drum machine, bass, ukulele, sitar...
Play it like a guitar, violin, piano, drum machine, bass, ukulele, sitar...

Our patented technology enables a new type of musical experience focused on exploration and creativity rather than skill sets and signal chains. It’s an entirely new approach to what a musical instrument can do. 

Any way you want to! We’ve designed the INSTRUMENT 1 to adapt to the way you want to play, and it scales in complexity based on your style and skills. 

If you want to play like a guitar, you can chord and strum in familiar ways. In a piano preset, put it on your lap and the frets become “keys” like a piano (with up to six stacked octaves at your fingertips!). If you’re a drummer or a DJ, transform a whole fret into a pressure-sensing pad like a drum machine. And if you want to play a violin or pedal steel, slide your fingers along the strings to create sweeping fretless melodies. 

You've got this. Our goal is to create the most effortless music-making experience at any skill level. Music isn’t about gear; it’s about self-expression. Every aspect of the INSTRUMENT 1 can be customized to behave the way you want it to. Tune it all to E-major if you like, adjust the sensitivity, or forget strumming altogether and let it auto-play the notes you press. 

Effortlessly explore and create together.
Effortlessly explore and create together.

The INSTRUMENT 1 grows with you as you explore new styles of playing. You can increase complexity as you go, allowing for greater control over every aspect of your performance with its feather-touch playing surface. It's always in tune, and you'll never break a string!

Connect the INSTRUMENT 1 to hundreds of apps on mobile devices and computers, and it can literally make any sound imaginable. No really, we’re serious. 

For instance, you can plug it into Apple’s Garageband and start strumming. If you’re set to a guitar sound, it will sound like a guitar. Then switch to piano, and start matching your technique to new sounds. Or open a synth app like Moog’s Animoog and explore sounds you’ve never heard before.

Because the INSTRUMENT 1 is fully MIDI-compatible, it works with 100's of MIDI apps and software like Ableton Live, ProTools, Logic, and many more on your computer. The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 connects directly to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and PCs via Lightning or USB. 

It works with any music creation software that uses the MIDI standard, which is the universal language of digital music. MIDI has been around for over 30 years, and lets electronic instruments tell each other what notes to play and how they should sound. But don’t worry: we’ve made it easier than ever to get started making digital music; no acronyms required. 

Nashville Edition in white with hardwood back
Nashville Edition in white with hardwood back

Oh, and did we mention it has built-in speakers? This means no more worrying about external speakers when you play with your favorite apps. It's loud enough to play and sing along with friends, and you can even use it as an external speaker when you're not making the music. Of course, there’s a headphone output if you want to keep it quiet until you drop the album. 

Artiphon is creating a companion app so you can customize your INSTRUMENT 1. Basically, you can easily create new instrument presets and play them immediately. Want to strum a piano? Bow a banjo? Pluck a drum? Done.

Create and play new instruments in seconds.
Create and play new instruments in seconds.

It’s a great way to get inspired to play new styles of music. Whether you’re a songwriter, electronic music producer, or just playing your first notes, Artiphon lets you try out many different styles and sounds.

One of the revolutionary things about the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 is its string-like playability on a purely digital device. Use hammer-ons and pull-offs on the fingerboard, strum on the bridge, and the notes ring out based on the velocity of your touch. 

Artiphon’s patented technology also enables entirely new musical techniques, letting you play in ways that no stringed instrument ever could:

1) Turn the frets on and off. This is the first digital string-like instrument to support fretless playability, which is revolutionary for violinists, bassists, and anyone interested in sliding between notes. 

2) Use vibrato to naturally add real nuance to your performance.

3) The entire interface is continuously pressure-sensitive, allowing for unprecedented control over software instruments via polyphonic aftertouch.

4) Instantly change to any tuning (guitar, bass, banjo, dobro, uke, violin... koto anyone?), with capo buttons at your fingertips.

5) Assign a different instrument to each string. For example, play a bass on the bottom and a guitar on the top. 

6) Pressure-sensitive effect control, tap and auto-strum modes, multiple notes per string...

Yes! And we're developing apps that will do some really exciting things. More details coming soon...

We're launching our first product, the INSTRUMENT 1, directly to the people most excited about it. Kickstarter is a great community of early adopters, innovators, and music lovers. One of the best parts of crowdfunding is the ability to connect directly with people who believe in our vision and want to participate in realizing it, and we’re completely committed to transparency through this process. Kickstarter is the perfect place to reimagine what a musical instrument can be, and we're excited to get to know you!

Choose from two primary colors (White or Black) or a special Nashville Edition with your choice of a white or black top on a beautiful hardwood back, upgraded speakers, and premium accessories.

We’re based in Nashville, TN, an amazing community of music-makers including session players, symphony members, producers, performers, and songwriters.  For the past four years we’ve been building and testing many different body forms, interface technologies, and software models to achieve our goal of making digital music creation more natural and intuitive. Now our design is finalized and we’ve built several well-performing prototypes. To help support the development so far, we've received minimal seed investment from individuals and amazing partners who are really excited about the project.

With your support we will enter into the final refinement stage for manufacturing. In the coming months, we’ll be conducting a pilot production run and will continue to test our instruments with musicians in their daily lives. We’ll surely learn new things about the design and technology through this process, and of course we’ll be sharing what we learn with our backers. The outcomes of this testing will determine if further refinements or revisions to the specifications are needed to begin mass-manufacturing. We want to ensure that the instruments we deliver can be played and enjoyed for years to come.

Risks and challenges

We have a deep appreciation for the consistency, dependability, durability, and playability that is demanded of all quality instruments. As we refine our design and move into mass manufacturing, it is imperative to us that we continue this commitment to quality. This phase of growth can be a challenge for any new product; as we make decisions in the coming months about manufacturing and supply chain, quality will be prioritized over expediency and profit. We’ll keep you posted the whole way through, and we’re always available to chat if you have any questions about the process or timeline.

We're a small, dedicated team leveraging years of experience in academic research, product development, studio production, live performance, embedded programming, and systems engineering. Our amazing partners have distinguished accomplishments in app development, industrial design, woodworking, product engineering, music production, and recording. They’ve helped us overcome a number of challenges so far. Together, we form an expanding team committed to delivering an amazing product, and of course we’re continuing to grow. Please contact us if you share our vision and are interested in joining our ensemble.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

  • While you can only support a Kickstarter during the campaign, visit www.artiphon.com for the latest on INSTRUMENT 1 pre-orders and availability. While you’re there, you can also join the mailing list for updates on products, videos, and events.

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  • The INSTRUMENT 1 can be played with many different instrument techniques, and is a great way to practice skills like scales, chords, strumming, plucking, bowing, etc. It is not intended to replace any other instrument, but it is analogical in many ways. Our app will be focused on customizing settings and basic live performance (the app will have certain instrument sounds built-in). The INSTRUMENT 1 also works with any MIDI compatible app, and there are great MIDI tutorial apps out there that it can plug into as well.

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  • We are launching with a focus on iOS for configuration and performance. We are also planning to develop streamlined apps for OSX and Windows to configure the INSTRUMENT 1 for use with DAWs and other software instruments. You will be able to use any MIDI-compatible app, DAW (such as ProTools or Cubase), or VSTi to make music on a Mac or PC.

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  • The companion apps for iOS, OSX, and Windows will be free with the Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1.

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  • The INSTRUMENT 1 needs to be connected to a sound-generating device: iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC, or USB Synth. That device will receive MIDI notes from the INSTRUMENT 1 and translate them into sound data. If that device is USB audio compliant (most of the above listed platforms are), the INSTRUMENT 1 will play sound through its built-in speakers. You can optionally choose to plug in headphones or output sound from the connected device itself, bypassing the speakers on the INSTRUMENT 1.

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  • We'll be sending you a backer survey at the close of the crowdfund, at which point you'll be able to select your instrument color, choose your t-shirt size, provide your credit card info, fill in your shipping address, etc.

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  • The INSTRUMENT 1 is a class-compliant USB MIDI and audio device, and can play any MIDI-compatible software. We have done extensive testing on OSX, Windows, and iOS platforms. Currently, we are developing the Artiphon companion App to be native to iOS. Android support at this time is experimental.

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  • The Nashville Edition will have the same speaker format as the standard INSTRUMENT 1, but we will be able to use higher-quality speakers for a fuller sound. We are also talking to multiple makers and suppliers of music accessories to create a custom strap from a premium material (eg., leather) and a hard case for travel, which will fit the instrument, charger, and cables.

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  • Shipping wooden products overseas requires extra certifications and restrictions, which we're not set up to do just yet. If you have a US address, or can coordinate with one, we will happily ship the Nashville Edition there.

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  • We have not sourced our final AC-DC adapter yet. If it is not compatible with 240V, one can use a 3rd party adapter that complies with our final power input specs. We intend to use a standard DC input voltage.

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  • We are currently developing for MIDI class-compliance with 14-bit pitch bend. We do not currently have any limitation on the number of notes played, though this is subject to change as we refine the firmware.

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  • Our MIDI implementation is capable of many different message outputs that are mapped to pressure on the interface, including Velocity, any CC#, and polyphonic aftertouch. Software instruments can then map this data to various parameters such as filters, attack, etc.

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  • We are designing the electronics for 3+ hours battery life. The INSTRUMENT 1 comes with a standard DC power adapter as well, and can work continuously when plugged in. It cannot be charged over USB, since the power requirement of the INSTRUMENT 1 is greater than standard USB is able to support.

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  • Yes! It works with any amp, stereo system, or other speakers. All you need is an 1/8" (headphone jack) to 1/4" (instrument cable) or RCA adapter. Btw, this is tons of fun.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank You!

    We're really excited about empowering people to make music, and we hope you are too! Thanks for supporting our mission to build the next generation of musical instruments. You can also opt to sign up for our backer-only mailing list and stay up-to-date.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Tee or Tote:

    Some people like t-shirts; others like tote bags. Take your pick, and show your support for Artiphon. Shirt size chosen at checkout.

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    96 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $299 or more About $299

    Early Bird:

    We're setting aside the first 250 instruments for super early adopters. Choose your color (white or black) at checkout. Help us reach our goal, and save $100 while you're at it!

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    Reward no longer available 250 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $349 or more About $349

    The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1:

    Be one of the first to play an Artiphon. Choose your color (white or black) at checkout. $50 off retail.

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    1,214 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    Gig Edition:

    The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 with a custom strap and soft case. Choose your color (white or black) at checkout. $65 off retail.

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    1,320 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    Patron of the Artiphon:

    Give one, get one! We're passionate about getting the INSTRUMENT 1 into education, music therapy, and community programs. For every $599 pledged to this tier, we'll send an instrument to you and donate an instrument to one of our affiliate partners in the U.S.. Effectively the early bird cost for each.

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    6 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $679 or more About $679

    The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1: Just Duet

    Two INSTRUMENT 1's in your choice of white, black, or one of each (choose your colors at the close of the campaign). Total savings off retail: $120.

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    24 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $899 or more About $899

    The Nashville Edition:

    The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 with a beautiful hardwood back and premium speakers. Includes a custom leather strap and hard case.

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    127 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,299 or more About $1,299

    The Artiphon Quartet:

    Start a band! Mix and match colors on 4 white or black INSTRUMENT 1's. Total savings off retail: $300.

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    31 backers
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Funding period

- (40 days)