OWC now offers iGuitar; allows use of guitar as Macintosh input device

Other World Computing is adding to its ine of audio products by offering the iGuitar from Brian Moore Guitars.

The iGuitar allows musicians to use their guitar as a computer input device. Until now, only keyboards enjoyed that distinction.

“The guitar as an input device allows you to do an immense amount of things you could not previously do,” said Patrick Cummings, president of Brian Moore Guitars in the release. “And the fact Other World Computing has so fully embraced this technology really demonstrates the company’s commitment to quality digital music and its music-savvy customers.”

OWC offers three models of the iGuitar – cinnamon, emerald and turquoise – which range in price from $759 to $879. They are immediately available at http://www.macsales.com/music

“These instruments are the perfect blend of form and function,” said Larry O’Connor, president of Other World Computing in the release. “Not only do they look beautiful, but they connect directly to your Mac and allow you to create a variety of equally beautiful sounds in a way you never have before.”

Each iGuitar features a built-in 13-pin interface, which allows the musician to “play” a number of virtual instruments using any desktop or PowerBook running applications such as GarageBand and REASON. To use these special features, iGuitar-users need to play it through a 13-pin USB interface such as the Roland GI-20 guitar processor.

The iGuitar already has seen artistic success. Roger Adler, a Chicago-based independent composer, performer and producer, used an iGuitar on every track of his recently released CD “the garage album.” Tracks from the album can be heard at http://www.thegaragealbum.com

“This opens up a huge world of opportunity for people to use the guitar as a computer peripheral, which is something that hasn’t really been done before,” Adler said in the release. “While MIDI guitars have been around for 20 years, the iGuitar is the first one that has offered this level of seamless integration. I use it as my main guitar.”

Brian Moore Guitars was founded in 1992 after a meeting of three very different, but complementary minds. President Patrick Cummings is a skilled guitarist with a background in electrical engineering and business management, Brian Moore has a degree in furniture design and Kevin Kalagher is a successful businessman. Their goal was to design high-end guitars that were as beautiful as they were functional. The three set about creating the iGuitar as a way of allowing guitarists to compete in a world that had increasingly become accessible only to keyboard players. With the iGuitar, guitarists can now create the same sounds as were previously only possible using keyboards.

For more information, visit http://www.macsales.com/music


  1. Seamless? I’d say having to buy a $350 interface to connect this $800 guitar to your computer is a pretty big seam. I don’t have any complaint with OWC or Brian Moore Guitars (now that they’re acknowledging the need for a guitar-midi interface), but it’s silly that they’re touting this as some great breakthrough. It’s not. The only breakthrough is that with Garageband, the potential market for midi guitars has exploded.

  2. So what this is, is a guitar with a standard hex pickup built in and the 13-pin socket to connect to a Roland pitch-> MIDI device.

    This is nothing new at all.

    Roland have been selling bolt-on versions for years. Yamaha and Shadow did too. Korg made a great one that had ultrasonics instead of a hex pickup, but it lost in expression what it gained in tracking speed. They also sell the components so that guitar manufacturers can incorporate the technology themselves.

    Gibson, Parker, Godin and others sell MIDI-ready (that is ready to plug into a pitch->MIDI box).

    I’ve been after one for years, but they’re always too expensive or I simply have other things to spend my money on.

    Note that a guitar as an ‘input device’ to a macintosh isn’t some weird thing where the guitar ‘plays’ or controls the macintosh. The keyboard they liken it to is a piano style keyboard, like the M-Audio ones Apple sell. This is a means of getting MUSIC data in MIDI form into an application like GarageBand or Logic.

  3. for less than the price of all this stuff, you could easily get a soundcard, mixer, and mike and have a generally better-sounding setup. Of course, you still wouldn’t be able to bypass the amp entirely, but who really wants to do that? No amount of digital trickery will equal the sound of a Fender Twin with hot tubes…

    just my opinion

  4. Okay, I was ripping a little on this thing earlier, but now I have to defend it (or at least the idea of a midi guitar controller) against some ignorance shown in these comments. I think it stems from the fact that people don’t understand what MIDI is.

    The purpose of a midi guitar controller is NOT to record the sound of the guitar into the computer. All you need for that is standard sound-recording hardware. This controller lets you record MIDI data (what notes you play and how loudly) with a guitar, instead of using a synth-type keyboard, which has always been the standard.

    The point is that you can play your guitar, but have it controlling your software instruments. So it can sound like a saxophone, cello, drums, whatever. And you can edit the note data in software later. It’s really f’n cool–just not really a new thing.

  5. dennis– i think that point is understood but what many really want to see is the ‘extra’ (roland-type) midi interface BUILT IN to the guitar– then you would have a true innovative solution for midi guitar by simply plugging directly to the mac’s usb or firewire port. no extra gear.

  6. The reason that they’re not often built into the guitar is that people don’t want to use a different guitar. They want to use their favourite/most comfortable guitar.

    Casio made some in the late 80s/early 90s (Ibanez made the guitar, Casio put it together with the electronics).

    I think Dennis was right to point out what the difference is. This is a guitar as a MIDI controller in the same way that a keyboard is a synth controller. To say, “Why would you even want this when you can mic up a tube amp” is like saying “Why would you want to use that keyboard instead of a grand piano”.

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