Guitar project becomes first to reach Kickstarter target

Guitar designer Rob O’Reilly aims to transform how the instrument is played

One of the first projects to be funded through Kickstarter Ireland is already over-subscribed.

Guitar designer Rob O’Reilly’s midi Expressiv is a plug and play system which brings electronic keyboard sounds to a guitar.

It is the first instrument of this type which allows musicians to play keyboard-like sounds on a conventional guitar.

Ireland became the 10th country to have a dedicated Kickstarter platform in September. In October it started accepting projects for funding.


Midi expressiv is unique in that the system is built into the guitar at manufacturing stage making it much easier for the musician to control how he or she plays the instrument.

Mr O'Reilly said the piece of technology, which has been developed at the University of Limerick, is applicable to all guitars.

The plan is to release a range of guitars next year with the system in it.

Mr O’Reilly set out to raise €15,000 to produce the first printed circuit boards for the guitar and the money was raised in 20 days and is now oversubscribed.

Mr O'Reilly has already designed the iG guitar and raised money for it on Kickstarter in the United States. He is being supported by technology entrepreneur and former Dragon Sean O'Sullivan.

“If you do it right, Kickstarter is incredible for start-ups,” Mr O’Reilly said. “ It allows you to bring a product to market with just a prototype and raise funds to produce the first batch. It also tests the validity of the products and to see where people want it or not.

“I was playing in a rock band called Hot Tramp and we wanted some electronic sounds. The only way through that was to get a key-based synthesiser because I couldn’t get those sounds through the guitar. It has the potential of changing the way people play the guitar.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times