June 16, 2014

Learning to play the guitar can be painful for beginners. One common obstacle for many people learning guitar is the discomfort from pressing hard, narrow steel strings with your finger tips.

But now there is a solution. Don Bacon of Denver, Colorado has designed a soft-touch overlay called the Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard (FFK) to help make learning to play the guitar not only painless, but dramatically easier than it traditionally has been.

Bacon says when he first tried to learn to play guitar, he was very disappointed. It was a frustrating experience, same as many other beginners, his fingers very quickly became sore after very little practice, and it was quite difficult to properly form the various chords he had to learn.

"There must be an easier way." Bacon says. The thought brought him to the Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard.

The discomfort experience comes from pushing soft finger tips onto hard metal strings. So Bacon's solution was to "eliminate the necessity of those soft finger tips having to press down on those hard, narrow strings by creating a keyboard so the player can press down on the key in order to play the string."

The keyboard prototype is an entirely mechanical system and was printed in ABS plastic. It can be attached to the guitar neck with velcro strips.

Another common complain is the difficulty of forming the chords. The strings are really close together, and it is hard to press down the proper string without touching the string you don't intend to touch. Bacon's solution is to "stack" the keys which play the strings.

"The keys which play the one, three and five strings take up that heretofore "wasted" space so that the keys give your fingers a very large target area to play the string." notes Bacon. "But the tip of the key (which makes contact with the strings) is very small and depresses the string close enough to the fret to produce a clean sounding note or chord. The keys which play the two, four and six strings give you that same very large target while those smaller tips depress the strings exactly at the fret. Once again – good, clean sounding notes and chords."

The 3D printed Keyboard currently works on any standard acoustic and/or electric six string guitar, but not on classical guitars or 12 string guitars. Bacon has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard, hoping that the funds will help mass produce the parts and put the keyboard in the marketplace.

A pledge of US$75 will get you a Finger Friendly Guitar Company Keyboard which will be shipped in January 2015. Check out the campaign here which runs until August 9.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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brian stenger wrote at 7/2/2018 8:24:05 PM:

is this keyboard cover available for purchase? how much does it cost? do you have a left handed model? email..... brian6113@hotmail.com

michaelc wrote at 6/16/2014 3:30:53 PM:

Some sort of caps that cover your fingertips would seem to be a lot easier, and would actually teach you guitar technique. If you want to play a keyboard, there are better options already.

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