Learn to play guitar "in minutes" by pushing Magic Instruments' buttons

It seems every other week, some plucky crowd-funded company is trying to make learning guitar easier, and the latest to join the callus-dodging crew is Magic Instruments, with its button-rammed MI Guitar.

While the guitar features strings at the body end, the fretboard has been redesigned to feature 90 - yes, 90 - buttons, which each correspond to a chord, so you can set the guitar to any key or scale, and instantly get your fill.

The idea is that you can play guitar with no prior experience - although we'd wager a basic understanding of Guitar Hero is required.

A companion mobile app tells you the buttons to press to play classic songs (at $0.99 per track), and the company are hoping you'll use the device for songwriting, too - you can even use it as a MIDI controller for your DAW.

Six guitar sounds are included, as well as two bass guitar sounds, plus chorus and reverb effects; an internal speaker amplifies your synthetic strums, while sounds can also be outputted via 1/4", 1/8" and USB.

Magic Instruments is keen to point out that the skills you learn from the MI Guitar aren't transferrable to the real thing, but rather to get you playing as quickly as possible.

As Muse mainman and surprising MI Guitar ambassador Matt Bellamy says, "For people who don't have the time to learn the guitar, Magic Instruments is the ultimate shortcut - you'll be strumming your favourite songs in minutes. For singers and non-guitar playing musicians, it's also a great tool for songwriting."

Whether you think it a genuinely useful writing aid or an insult to real guitarists, the Magic Instruments guitar is available now from IndieGoGo for $499 MSRP.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.