A One-String Pen-Sized Guitar That Almost Plays Like the Real Thing

They're not as awkward to transport as a piano or a cello, but guitars are far from being the easiest instrument to travel with. And if air guitar never really satisfies your desire to play while away from your instrument, this pen-sized single-string playable guitar might be a better traveling companion.

Currently trying to raise $35,000 on Kickstarter, the FretPen is to your guitar what the Game Boy was to your home gaming console. A compact portable alternative that can surprisingly be played just like a full-sized guitar.

A One-String Pen-Sized Guitar That Almost Plays Like the Real Thing

The fretboard—made from real maple wood—can detect multiple finger placements, while the limited selection of notes you can play can be adjusted using a four-way controller on the bottom part of the tiny guitar. There doesn't appear to be any strumming required to play it—you just tap the frets—but the single guitar string is still a nice touch.

A One-String Pen-Sized Guitar That Almost Plays Like the Real Thing

The actual sounds produced by the FretPen don't come from the pen itself. With the guitar body attached to the bottom, it connects to an accompanying smartphone app over Bluetooth which is responsible for turning the player's finger taps into actual guitar sounds—either acoustic or electric. And the sounds can be tweaked, with reverb and other effects, all within the app. It won't sound like a giant Fender speaker on stage, but the sound produced by your smartphone's speaker should suitably match the diminutive FretPen.

The first 50 people to donate to the FretPen's crowdsourcing initiative can pre-order one for just $100. But if you'd like to hold off until it's officially gone into production and smoothed out any bumps along the way you'll probably be able to snag one for closer to $150. And if that seems expensive for an incredibly tiny guitar, don't forget, as its namesake implies, the FretPen can also be used as a writing instrument for those times when you need to jot down a memorable riff you just came up with. [Kickstarter]