The electric guitar is becoming smart and Sweden is where it will happen. Swedish-Italian music company Mind Music Labs is gearing up and have raised hundreds of thousands from a number of Swedish angel investors.
Since the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930’s, there hasn’t been much innovation since in the guitar world. That is about to change now. With recently raised venture capital, the Swedish-Italian Mind Music Labs wants to revolutionize the guitar world in the same manner Apple changed the mobile phone market with their Iphone.
“We have developed a smart guitar. It is a classic old-fashioned guitar made in wood, working like a micro computer doing all the processing at the same time”, Michele Benincaso says, the company’s co-founder who moved to Sweden eight years ago.
He explains that the guitar, which was developed by him and his colleagues, some of whom are scientists at KTH and Harvard, contains sensors which allows it to control sound, light and movement. It can interpret data, send data and beyond an instrument it is one giant loudspeaker streaming sound in all directions.
“You can control everything from the guitar. If you listen to Spotify and chose a Bob Marley song, it will understand that it is Bob Marley and automatically choose the sound you’ve set up for that kind of song. From there, you only have to shake the guitar to switch song. If next there is a Pink Floyd song, it will automatically change the audio settings to your Pink Floyd-set up. You don’t have to change the settings manually all the time and can get rid of all your pedals and amplifiers”, Michele Benincaso says.
Michele Benincaso has played the guitar basically his entire life. He learned how to build violins when he studied at the Antonio Stradivari School in Cremona, one of the most famous violin-building schools in the world. He has since toured both as a musician and worked as a guitar maker.
“However, in 2007 I decided to change my life which is why I travelled to Sweden. I barely knew where the country was, but I have always been interested in the Nordic countries. Upon arrival, I went from guitar store to guitar store looking for work and three days later I got one at Jam Gitarrer”, he says.
But Michele Benincaso has left the Jam-job behind him and is going all-in on his new guitar technology. His company, with office at hardware incubator Things in Stockholm, has closed a seeding round with a string of angel investors. Among them are Jacob Key, previously strategical manager in the digital sector at Warner Music, TAT-founder Ludvig Linge, Per Brilioth who is CEO at New Ventures and Marcelo Benitez at Proaltus Capital Partners.
Michele Benincaso does not want to disclose the specific amount but says that it’s somewhere between $120.000 and $600.000. The plan is to use the money for development of the guitar, which is excepted to be ready in two years.
A release date is yet to be set and following that is the challenge to convert traditional guitar lovers towards the new technology.
“It will obviously be a challenge, perhaps our greatest. But I have been a musician for 20 years and I know that musicians are ordinary people. They love their instrument, but at the same time they have to make their listeners happy and save time. If you can avoid using cables and amplifiers and can spread your music at much higher quality, there is no reason to use an older guitar”, he says.
He explains that their technology also carries with it new ways for musicians to spread their music on social media platforms.
“If you play something and like it, you can share the recording on Soundcloud, Facebook or Twitter. If you want to film the performance with your Iphone, it can sync that as well and a headset microphone can be connected to the guitar where the sound track will be recorded at the highest quality”
“We are bringing the guitar to the world where people live, today”, he says.