Two years after launching the original Loog acoustic guitar, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, New York-based Uruguayan entrepreneur Rafael Atijas is back with an electric version that makes learning to play music easy and fun.

Atijas was inspired to create the Loog guitar back in 2009 after watching his six-year-old niece struggling to play with a toy guitar. “I thought that a kids’ guitar should not be just a cheap downsized replica of a regular guitar – it should have features that actually make it easier, faster and more stimulating for them to play music.”

So, as a subject for his master’s thesis in Integrated Marketing at New York University in 2010, he chose the three-string guitar. His thought was that a six-string guitar is a sophisticated instrument that will take lessons to master, whereas a three-string guitar could be mastered far more quickly and easily.

The problem was that Atijas and the team he assembled had no experience in product design. “The biggest challenge with the original acoustic Loog was actually venturing into designing a musical instrument when none of us had any experience in that field, other than liking music and playing guitar,” he says.

However, two years down the line and they faced a different challenge: taking the design language from the original and translating it into an electric version. “It was more difficult than it would seem at first hand because the identity of the original Loog had a lot to do with the fact that it was all-natural wood finish,” Atijas says.

“I felt it would be boring to do exactly that again with the electric version, so I decided to incorporate colour and doing that in a way that was elegant and that played nicely with the acoustic Loog aesthetics was something that took time and required some fine tuning – no pun intended!”

Following a 10-month design process – working with a team, including Joaquín Uribe, a musician and industrial designer – and many iterations, later moving from paper and rendering on the computer through to prototyping and testing, which resulted in further design tweaks, the right design was achieved.

An important feature of the design is that it arrives with the customer as a bunch of parts that they have to put together themselves: essentially build their own guitar. This was deliberate as Atijas felt it would make them feel a deep connection to their guitar.

“Assembling your guitar helps you understand the instrument and the purpose of its parts, and since we wanted to design an instrument for children and beginners, I think that’s a cool side-benefit to have,” he comments.

The Kickstarter campaign, which ends on 22 November, has already reached its target of $50,000 to enable Atijas to put the electric Loog guitar into production. Delivery date is estimated for May 2014.

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