Three-string guitars get kids right to the “fun part” of learning to playWhat do you do if you have a product that people like enough to fund its development; big- and small-market media shower it with attention; and its core industry honors it with awards? Loog, the company known for its easy-to-play three-string guitars for kids and beginners, has responded by creating a new tool for making its instruments even more fun and rewarding to play.
In November 2015 Loog introduced the Loog Academy iOS app, which gives Loog owners access to a series of free video lessons designed to get them playing their favorite songs on day-one. Because Loog guitars have a narrow neck and only three strings, forming chords is easy enough for beginners and even little kids to learn right away. And as every guitar teacher will attest, playing actual songs, not just scales or exercises, is the “fun part” that keeps students interested, motivated, and “coming back for more.” Thanks to a partnership with Hal Leonard, the app will feature popular songs by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, and others.
Loog acoustic guitars were formally introduced at the 2013 Winter NAMM Show. The company debuted its electric guitar line at the following Summer Session. Equipped with a lipstick-style pickup, Loog electrics were initially offered in a “vintage-y” color palette that was later expanded to include black, red, and even a clear Lucite model. A special edition electric created in collaboration with Jack White’s Third Man Records comes in custom matte-finish yellow-on-black and black-on-yellow versions and feature a vinyl pickguard pressed at Nashville’s United Record Pressing. Loog acoustics have a natural wood finish.
Loog guitars come as unassembled kits (though preassembled education models are available for schools and music institutions). Building one takes only 15 minutes and a Phillips screwdriver, a process the company believes helps parents and kids bond over—and with—their new instrument before they begin playing it. Like the new Loog Academy app, this notion is consistent with the company’s mission to make music making a fun, enriching family affair.
Loog guitars are constructed of quality sustainable wood (excluding the Lucite model) and feature an adjustable-height bridge for perfect playing action and D’Addario Pro Arte strings. Optional accessories include Loog backpack carriers, guitar straps, and an easily assembled plywood guitar stand. Loog instruments come in compact, attractive, retail-ready packaging.
Based in New York City, Loog Guitars evolved from a 2010 academic project by New York University student Rafael Atijas, who developed the instrument’s concept for his master’s thesis. The following year Atijas launched the company through crowd-funding platform Kickstarter with the goal of raising $15,000. The campaign ended up raising $65,618 from people all over the world who believed in the project and wanted to play a part in bringing the idea to life. (The Electric Loog project raised $70,007 in just 30 days, breaking Loog’s previous record and resulting in one of the most successful musical instruments ever launched through Kickstarter.) Loog guitars won a Best Tool for School award at NAMM 2013 as well as awards from the Innovation Agency in Atijas’s native Uruguay and the Design Biennial in Madrid. They have also been featured on CNN and in numerous magazines and websites including Wired, Fast Company, TechCrunch, Boing Boing, Parenting, and Guitar Aficionado. The company was also honored to have its guitars sold at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) Design Store in New York City.
Commenting on the ongoing boom in ukulele sales, Atijas contends that many people who buy a ukulele actually want a small, portable, easy-to-play guitar. For those customers, he suggests, “Loog is a better choice,” noting that, unlike a ukulele, a Loog “uses regular guitar strings, tunes like a guitar, plays like a guitar, and sounds like a guitar.” Because Loog guitars use the same first three strings and tuning as a six-string guitar, everything learned on a Loog can later be applied on a standard guitar. Likewise, the top three strings indicated on standard guitar tablature can be played on a Loog.
Atijas also urges retailers to consider that, although Loog instruments are primarily aimed at kids and “kids-at-heart,” a growing number of professional guitarists have added a Loog to their collection, finding that its three-string design triggers creativity and helps them discover new ways of playing.
In short, the potential market for a Loog is huge. “We believe that everyone should benefit from playing music,” says Atijas. “A musical instrument, no matter your age, is a tool for self-realization, rewarding you with skills that stay with you for life. We want to play a part in making that happen.”
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