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The Starr Labs patented fingerboard docks into your iPad to create the ultimate instrument.

The Starr Labs patented fingerboard docks into your iPad to create the ultimate instrument. Read More
pledged of $50,000 goal
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on December 6, 2011.

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About this project

The iTar project is alive and well! 

Visit the new iTar product page

Even though we probably won't reach our funding goal here at Kickstarter, we've been able to set up private financing and several great industry relationships that will launch the iTar into the marketplace better than we planned. Many thanks to Kickstarter for the opportunity and to everyone who was so supportive to pledge and to leave many thoughtful comments. Your comments and suggestions are still welcome so please come to our website, to follow the progress of the iTar. And, if you're still interested to have an iTar, you can place your order as well. For original Kickstarter backers, shipping is free. See the comments section for a little more detail. Again, many thanks and blessings to you all. 

The Story: Our project is designed for musicians, guitar heroes, electronic artists, iPad junkies and hackers looking for a fun and easy way to take their show on the road.  At it's heart the device is a button-based guitar fretboard (Starr Labs patented fingerboard) integrated with a dock for the iPad which will transform the tablet into a 21st century musical instrument we call the iTar (tm).

Our fingerboard has been battle-tested and proven for years to be a professional-quality electronic music instrument.  We've built custom instruments for the likes of Vernon Reid (of the endlessly awesome Living Color), the Chemical Brothers, Pendulum, Linkin Park, Lou Reed, Kesha, Michael Jackson, Stanley Jordan, and many TV/film studios.  Check out the gallery at to see the high quality instruments we've been building around this impressive technology for years. Our line of Ztars and Z-boards are each custom built by hand, from scratch.

By mass-producing the fingerboard and linking it to everyone’s favorite music player/tablet we are making this professional grade equipment affordable and available to a much wider audience.  One of the coolest features is that the iPad's touchscreen interface will allow you to strum a guitar, tap on keys, bang on the drums, shake the maraca and more.  You will literally have a full band at your fingertips.  Imagine you start by looping your drum pattern, then you play over that with a bass-line, now bring in a little soulful trumpet and back that up with some piano.  Nice. Or, you can set up some beats or samples, modify and jam over them with wild abandon. A DJ's dream!

The possibilities are truly endless.

Other Applications:

We have primarily focused on the musical performance side of things because that's who we are.  However, we realize that there are a number of application areas that will benefit from this technology beyond our passion for playing; guitar education, music-mixing software, jamming over the Internet, and interactive gaming come to mind.  We can also envision podcasters, studio techs, and amateur film makers using it as a soundboard/lighting controller.  The iTar will come with it's own proprietary music app for strumming and using the  whammy bar, as well as letting you set up the fingerboard for your own special uses.  We eagerly invite developers and software gurus to contact us about creating their own applications.  Anybody with a great idea about other uses should email us too!

The Pitch:

We honestly could not be more excited to introduce this new technology to the world, but there is one major hurdle for a small shop like ours and that is funding.  Building one-off custom projects like our Ztars and Z-boards is no problem in our little shop, and though we are now building the prototype iTar, sadly we don't have the capacity or the money to jump into high-volume production on this project.  That's why we need your help.  With your pledge we can gather the funding to produce the electronics for the neck and the rest of the docking assembly, and setup the injection-molded plastic for the enclosure.  You are our Obi Wan.  You are our only hope.

ADDITIONAL NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL BACKERS: If you are outside the United States we would really appreciate an additional $10 (USD) added to your pledge for any reward level above $1 this is to help us cover international shipping fees. Thanks friend.

(Left to right: Scott - computer guru, Mark - technician, Harvey - inventor/bossman, Jason - house musician/tester/sales, and Sergio - fabrication/paint)

Here is Jason, hard at work testing a brand new instrument.

One of our promotional signs showing off several of our custom Ztars.


  • Yes.

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  • There will be a new level of quality construction and performance in this that hasn't been seen before at this price level. If you've ever played a $200 MIDI guitar you know what cheap toys they are.

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  • Sadly, no. There is a mis-wording in the text for the $200 reward. We started with some posters and other art at the lower reward levels but due to the lack of interest I removed those. I'm not able to edit the $200 level to reflect the changes.

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  • In spite of the straight sides, it's really very comfortable when held in the sitting position. There will also be strap buttons attached.

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  • Definitely. There are special incentives and pricing for dealers. Contact me directly for details.

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  • We will provide an application that strums and taps and lets you assign some extra faders and pads for additional control. We also have some more exotic ideas in the works. And we're hoping other developers will find this an interesting platform to work with.

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  • Yes, that's the goal. That's a project in itself and we're brainstorming the types of tools that developers will need to work with our hardware. Developers are invited to contact us with questions and ideas for apps that will help define the toolset.

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  • Great question! We've got a couple of cool things in mind but the intent is to support others in creating add-ons they find useful.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00 USD

    We will love you forever. Seriously, FOREVER. All you have to do is give us money... sweet deal, huh?

    Estimated delivery
    13 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    First and foremost will we love you forever, that goes without saying but it's worth saying anyway. So far no one was interested in one of our awesome Starr Labs posters featuring original artwork. Everyone has enough posters even though this one is a layout of our hot part-time bookeeper holding a ztar and little else. Very artistic. I had a cool idea to take all of your names and work them into a special piece of awesome art that we can post on the website for making this dream a reality, and... we would happily receive concepts from visionary artists reading this with the winner having their art posted and their name listed and linked if they so wish! Ok, forget that. Not interesting. Instead, I will send to you one of our touch-sensitive drum sensors, a 1" round pressure-sensitive membrane switch that you can connect to your own MIDI circuit creation. I will include the schematic for the part, lest there be any confustion regarding the connections.

    Ok, forget that. No one wants a responsive sensor for their project that would cost $20 somewhere else. Rather than offering plans for an anti-gravity machine, a solar-powered brewery, or an herbal extract that eliminates tooth decay, instead I'd like to offer our thanks for your helping to bring something musical to the world.

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    At this level we can offer a smaller version of the iTar. The fingerboard is just 6 frets, about 6 inches long! The ultimate in portability, the little neck un-docks and fits easily in a backpack or laptop case. Our BOM says that this should cost $149 at retail, but we can Kickstart this at $100.

    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200 USD

    For a mere 200 bucks you'll get a first-run edition of the iTar. Imagine, your very own MIDI controller/ fingerboard that transforms your iPad into a truly amazing instrument. Yes, we will also love you forever and send you the above gifts as well.

    Estimated delivery
    76 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    At this level we add a pressure sensing strip on the neck and a MIDI wireless transmitter system for a complete professional performance rig.

    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200 USD

    Rather than a custom paint job I think you're more interested in some new technology. We have developed a high-end version of our fingerboard with an RGB LED under each key. The command interface is MIDI so it's easy to use. In order to run it from the iPad we need to add a separate power supply. We're thinking of adding some high-quality speakers to the power supply module to enhance the audio output. Comments welcome. Apps in the iPad will be able to light the LEDs to create educational software, games, or awesome lighting effects. The LED fingerboard has been developed already but we will need an extra month to integrate the extra components. You can learn more about this on our website.

    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    Music Education Charitable Contribution: The iTar represents a union of a programmable keyboard with a portable graphic interface. On such a small "music machine", the full breadth of musical concepts can be conveyed for relatively little cost. It's known that musical training enhances math skills and organization of complex thought. At this level we offer 40 iTars to seed a pilot school music education program and help create the next generation of innovators. Music education has nearly disappeared from our nation's schools for lack of funds and private individuals who are able to do so, are now making a difference in their communities.

    The iTar can be re-programmed to emulate other traditional musical instruments.

    We can't give every child a grand piano but we can provide a little keyboard/fingerboard that's easy for a beginner using a variety of special interactive iPad software. Next, the iTar can be re-programmed to emulate and teach the principles of every other traditional musical instrument which broadens one's understanding of some basic physics (resonating strings, membranes, columns of air). Not lastly, the iTar becomes a tool for creative expression. People who use these instruments now find them to be great for composition. Kids love it usually make some kind of music the first time they put their hands on one!

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    The Benefactor: If you consider yourself a high-end electronic musician, all of the tools can be at your fingertips in one portable, playable package.
    Touch surfaces for both hands, strings, pads, pots, breath, d-beam, ableton control, wireless, embedded sounds, USB, MIDI, lighting. You will be one of ONLY five people on the planet to have an iTar and a blown-out Starr Labs Z6-SPX Ztar with LED Ableton-enabled fingerboard with matching custom paint-jobs. Take a look at our gallery and see some of our past creations, built to order.
    Note: The Ztar is hand built and will take 8-10 weeks after funding before it will be ready.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (60 days)