Wireless guitar gadget raises thousands online

John Crawford with his jack device. Picture: comp
John Crawford with his jack device. Picture: comp
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A wireless guitar gadget developed by a small start-up company is hoping to make a big noise in the United States after raising thousands in online backing.

Jack, the first guitar device to stream over wifi, has multi-
million-pound potential according to designers and backers.

Creators at Ingenious Audio in the Capital believe the “sky is the limit” after they smashed their £20,000 Kickstarter target, raising more than £32,000 in pledges ahead of last night’s deadline.

The plug-in device uses wifi to connect a guitar to an amplifier, PC or tablet, removing the need for expensive cables.

Founder John Crawford, a former manager at Wolfson Microelectronics which develops audio parts for Apple and Sony, said: “We want to build this into a multi-million-pound business and a multi-product company.

“We also want to keep as much as possible of it in the UK and in Scotland. This has a huge amount of potential and we really want to grow.

“If you connect everything else with wifi, why would you not connect your guitar? The sky is the limit.”

The application of the device is not limited to guitars and could be attached to microphones, electric pianos and pedals.

Manufacturing is expected to be based in Livingston, with the product set to go on sale in electronic shops and music stores within the next two years.

Jack will be available online from June or July and will be shipped over to the US in May where it will go up against giants like Cable.

Mr Crawford, 36, said: “We are going to be targeting the US. It’s more or less half – 46 per cent – of the total guitar market.

He added: “They tend to be a trend-setting nation.”

The guitar electronics market is worth £2 billion in the US, with about 1.5 million guitars sold annually.

The Kickstarter pledges will be used to cover manufacturing and tool costs but Ingenious Audio will also seek further investment.

The company employs just five people and another funding boost would allow the business to invest in marketing, development and the hiring of more staff.

The start-up business has already received a significant undisclosed sum from Glasgow-based investors Kelvin Capital and Scottish Enterprise.

John McNicol, director of Kelvin Capital, described Jack as a “revolutionary concept”.

He said: “We think it has huge potential not only on electric guitars but in other markets too like electric pianos.”

The gadget is expensive to make in small volumes but a manufacturing base will allow the firm to produce in bulk far more cheaply.

Ingenious Audio has been working intensively with Glasgow University for the past four years to develop the device.