As a lifelong guitar player, I found the potentiometer (pots) and switches on electric guitars to be awkward while playing and always believed there was a better solution to the traditional interface. What I didn't know was how many other musicians felt the same way.
This is the most exciting application of my 20 years of industrial design experience. After several years of extensive research and numerous design iterations, the Touchmark Guitar prototype is complete. And it works!
But...would musicians love it? Knowing how particular musicians are with their gear, I was a bit nervous when I embarked on answering this question. When I got the prototype into the hands of other players, I was relieved to find that my experienced guitar playing friends and local L.A. musicians loved it! Their passionate support has been a great source of fuel in getting this endeavor off the ground.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PART OF TOUCHMARK GUITARS?
My goal is to build a company and community that makes things! You are part of a paradigm shift to change the Electric Guitar. Crowd funded and locally manufactured! Become a backer and we will keep you updated through our development experience and you can follow your contribution as we go!
To get there we will produce the prototype version first, while we develop the production version in parallel. Both versions are included when you back a product reward. Effectively Kickstarter backers can upgrade two guitars!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PROTOTYPE AND PRODUCTION VERSIONS?
WHY A TOUCH INTERFACE?
Consider two aspects of the traditional electric guitar interface.
(1) The ergonomic configuration of the electric guitar determines the motion paths of the hands and fingers when strumming and picking. (2) The transducer pickups are controlled by turning volume and tone knobs and by flipping pickup switch levers into various positions. The traditional interface results in conflicting motion paths.
The Touchmark Guitar interface intuitively aligns these motion paths to the player's advantage. Activated by the touch of a finger, fingernail, or guitar pick stylus in a tapping or sliding motion, Touchmark Guitar touch panels are flat and very thin. Strategically positioned within the playing field, they optimize playing and control.
The Prototype Version
This is the version our team and friends are now playing. There are two touch panels that can be controlled by tapping motions (for quick changes) or sliding motions (for smooth and gradual changes).For pickup distribution, instead of the limited 3 or 5-position switches, the touch panel gives a gradient of 256 increments. This allows the musician to seamlessly blend tones. To control volume and capacitor tone, a touch panel replaces the potentiometer knob, creating the same gradient as the original component, but with an ergonomic advantage.
Internally mounted components:
Battery power supply
Touch panels to replace existing knobs and switches
Final Production Version
Addition of Tone and Effects functions using smart touch panels. Each panel will control two functions by responding to up/down motions as well as back/forth motions.
The final production version will have a lithium battery power supply that will be smaller, more efficient and rechargeable.
The internal circuitry will be miniaturized.
HOW IS IT INSTALLED?
The Touchmark interface can be installed at home using our easy-to-follow installation instructions. For the D.I.Y. customers.
It can also be taken to your local guitar shop for quick installation, if you prefer. We will be there for you through this process.
Installation does not damage the guitar in any way and the removed components can be safely stowed away in the retail package.
WHY WE NEED FUNDING
Now, we need to "get off the pot and switch" from development to production. This Kickstarter project will fund the final Electronics Engineering, which is the bridge to production.
The project funds will be used exclusively for two purposes:
(1) Manufacturing a limited number of the prototype design, as seen in the video, for Kickstarter backers only. This includes an upgrade to the final production design upon completion.
(2) Engineering and Production of the final circuit design and housings which we will offer to the general public. Again, this is the exclusive upgrade for the Kickstarter backers.
SCHEDULE AND GOALS
Please join our team and be part of the next electric guitar innovation!
Touchmark System Rewards
To me, this project is more than a designed object. It is also a test of my ideals. As a professor of graduate industrial design studies, I have taught the importance of micro-entrepreneurship and creative business model design. The successful funding of this project will give due academic credibility to crowdfunding and co-designed projects.
Although we have already begun setting up our production strategy and the product is made locally, delays are always possible. Any delays we anticipate will be related to vendor lead times (ordering pre-production components and electronics engineering services).
How we are qualified to overcome them:
Mark, the leader of this project, has coordinated product development programs for over 20 years for many clients. He understands the process of launching a new product/company, is skilled in managing vendor production, and is a veteran of working collaboratively with vendors to resolve any unexpected issues.
If any obstacles do arise, we will notify all of our backers immediately and do everything within our power to make it right.
Early Adopter 2 Package + T-Shirt:
- Participation in our development with exclusive development updates and access to team discussions via internet
- One pack of Guitar Picks (5) with Touchmark Logo
- One T-Shirt with Touchmark Logo
Experience the Touchmark interface and party with us! You and 10 of your friends are invited to jam out with us on Touchmark guitars (feel free to bring other instruments as well) at the Brewery Artist Lofts in L.A. We will provide instruments and the place to jam (as well as beverages and food). We may be biased, but this is the reward we would choose!
Premium Package with Custom Pickups:
-Touchmark Interface System Prototype Version ($399) for Fender Stratocaster models only
- Free Upgrade to Final Production Interface System ($399 value).
- Premium pickups included with system ($180 value)