JMT Web NewsINDUSTRY TOPICS
InstaChord, a New Innovative Electronic Instrument
An easy to use, but full-blown musical instrument named InstaChord is now distributed at music store chains.
Born in 1975 in Hiroshima, Yuichi Nagata, musician (vocalist), but not good at playing musical instrument, web programmer, advertisement producer, invented the instrument for first time music makers and those guitarists given-up to play. He started commercial base production of the instrument raising 80 million yen far exceeding his original plan of 50 million yen by crowdfunding in 2020.
InstaChord is based on a special chord entry interface using 2 fingers Nagata developed to help his music composition. Then, after a detailed market survey, Nagaya found there was a big market for musical instruments everyone can play without any musical knowledge and experience.
He began direct sales of InstaChord to customer via internet in 2021. To this day, total sales have reached 6,000 units with 200million yen value.
Nagata says, “I wanted InstaChord to be well accepted and keep selling through ordinary music distribution channel in the market in the years to come. So, I never thought of discount sales, nor special offer at reduced price for the benefit of the investors. I’m so grateful more than expected number of people shared my idea and offered financial support. It’s great.”
InstaChord is sold at music stores besides direct sales on the net from last November. A retail sales staff comments, “It’s not a gadget-type instrument”. Another staff says, “InstaChord is an authentic music gear”.
InstaChord comes in a futuristic guitar shape body equipped with control buttons on the neck, and 6 rubber pads likened to guitar strings on the body. Sound is produced by simply pressing a control button to which a chord is assigned and strum rubber pad with left hand. The control buttons are the key to the performance system. Just select desired key of a tune, diatonic chords are automatically assigned to the control buttons numbered from 1 to 9 on the panel. For instance, in II-V-I (two-five-one) chord progression, simply press number 2, 5 and 1 buttons.
In addition to the chord number buttons, it offers Swap button for selection of major or minor keys, b-button which delivers lower half-note, 7th, sus4 and aug(augment) buttons to be pressed together with chord number button.
It provides players with not only versatile music performance but also understanding chord theory.
Nagata explains, “The assigned chords are fixed and cannot be customized by player. It is easy to assign chords in serial number following melody flow, but it is simply a gadget, no longer a musical instrument. I think it is a logical interface for musical instrument that everyone can play music in the same fingering.
“The rubber pads are also important component of the instrument. Player can feel the joy of playing guitar stroking pads with his right hand. It means stroking timing, sense of rhythm and other technical factors are well reflected on performance. Anyone can make musical sound from the very beginning, but as he advances after practices, he can feel pleasure of making music just like he plays guitar.”
Having a battery, speaker, and USB and Bluetooth MIDI compatible capabilities, InstaChord works as a MIDI controller in music production and sound recording as well.
Since it changes chords to scale degree in performance, conventional sheet music can be used simply adding scale degree to each chord. Also Nagai developed a special app automatically changing chord chart to scale degree.
Nagata remarks that the main users of InstaChord are the first-time player with no musical experience and seniors given up to keeping playing guitar. “They are all happy with InstaChord. It is excellent seeing the people never imagined of playing guitar before are enjoying music making!”
InstaChord is increasing exposure on YouTube and other social media recently. User base will expand as distribution through traditional music retail network begins, and new customer will explore unique approaches to enjoy InstaChord.
Nagai expects the true characteristics and capabilities of InstaChord will be best felt by touching and experiencing it at the sales floor of music store. He believes it is a unique music gear even seasoned and serious musicians can enjoy.
Contact Yuichi Nagata