For many budding musicians, learning an instrument can be a long, slow, and often frustrating task. Many people pick up an instrument in the course of their lifetimes with the intent to learn but are beaten back by the high learning curve and time commitment that is required to become musically fluent. The most popular instrument for new and eager musicians is the guitar, with millions inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Slash, or Frusciante.
Unfortunately, reaching the level of guitar shred-god and exploding the minds of thousands of enraptured fans with lightning fast face melting guitar solos doesn’t just happen overnight, and requires years of intense study and practice- until now.
The Fretlight is a revolution in the world of musical education, creating an absurdly easy and intuitive method of transmitting core music theory concepts to beginners and experts alike. In this article we’ll take a close look at the Fretlight and explain the core features and benefits of this innovative new guitar tool to help you decide if it’s the best guitar learning method for you.
What is the Fretlight?
At first glance a Fretlight guitar is just a regular, albeit stylishly finished and well made, guitar. Until the lights come on, that is. The art of guitar primarily consists of strumming the strings of the guitar while applying pressure to the strings of the guitar at various positions along the fretboard, or neck of the guitar.
Chords, riffs, guitar solos- the creation of these sounds through the guitar all require a player to remember complex patterns of finger positions along the fretboard, and guitar novices often find it difficult to retain a clear image of the specific positions required to play particular scales or patterns.
Learning the fretboard patterns that make up the crux of guitar theory usually requires learners to observe a diagram of the desired finger positions, remember the positions, then learn to transpose these diagrams onto a conceptual ‘mind map’ onto the physical guitar they hold in their hands.
Fretboard throws this classical and lengthy process out of the window, and installs an LED light beneath each string at every possible position, or ‘fret’, along the neck of the guitar.
Want to learn a song with a basic chord pattern? The Fretlight will light up the exact position in which the player needs to place their fingers. Need to learn a new scale so you can play the solo from Stairway to Heaven? No problem, Fretlight has you covered.
How Does the Fretlight Work?
The light up fretboard of the Fretlight connects wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet via bluetooth technology. The Fretlight guitar is controlled by a wide range of apps available for both iOS and Android, with a dedicated Fretlight app offering quick access to thousands of chords, scales, triads, inversions, chord tones, notes and intervals in any and every key in both multiple positions or across the entire fretboard.
Users simply connect the guitar to their device, select a function such as displaying a scale, and the relevant finger positions light up across the fretboard, like magic.
Fretlight also integrates with popular guitar education apps such as Guitar Pro or Stringmaster, and integration with apps such as My Jam allow users to play along with and improvise over hundreds of scales and modes in any key, with the relevant finger positions overlaid and updated in real time for the song the user is playing over.
Fretlight also integrates with Jellynote, a massively popular catalog of guitar tablature to assist players that want to learn their favourite songs with the Fretlight system. The internal battery in Fretlight guitars charges in just four hours and lasts an incredible 100 hours, allowing musicians to practice and learn at any time, anywhere.
Fretlight Guitar Design and Construction
Unlike many education guitar systems available on the market today, the guitars offered in the Fretlight range are in themselves quality, well made guitars with excellent components and tone that is better in most cases than beginner traditional guitars.
Fretlight offer both an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar model, with both available in multiple finishes and component variations.
Fretlight’s electric guitar, the FG-621, has a sleek, classic look similar to the Fender Stratocaster shape. The body of the FG-621 is made from alder, providing excellent resonance, and a strong birch neck capable of enduring even the most rigorous abuse.
The FG-621 can be customized with a variety of upgrade options, the first of which adds a Shelby Designs pickup system and an onboard tuner.
The Shelby Designs pickups incorporate high output Alnico II magnets for a dirtier, raspier sound across the entire spectrum and an innovative push-pull system on the volume knob to switch between tuning mode and standard volume control. The FG-621 includes all of the standard features expected from a quality electric guitar such as a ¾ inch jack so you can plug it into your favourite amp, and pickup and tone control.
Available in a range of colors and finishes, the FG-621 is priced at $599.99 USD
Fretlight’s acoustic offering, the FG-629 acoustic guitar, is an attractive spruce-topped classical concert body guitar with an extended cutaway to provide access to the higher frets of the guitar.
The walnut back and sides of the FG-629 are completed by an abalone inlay around the precision-cut sound hole and a gloss finish gives the FG-629 an elegant appearance. The FG-629 has a birch neck similar to the FG-621 electric, and incorporates a Fishman Isys onboard preamp with bass, treble and phase controls, and a ¾ inch jack so it can be used with standard guitar amps.
Both of the Fretlight guitar models come with the Fretlight lighting system standard, and are compatible with the wide range of Fretlight apps. Fretlight guitars come with a one year warranty standard that can be upgraded to two or three years.
If you’re at all interested in learning the guitar, or if you’re an experienced guitarist that wants to expand your musical horizons, the Fretlight is the absolute best option for learning guitar, bar none.
Quality construction and equipment make the Fretlight range powerful workhorse guitars perfect for solo practice or jamming with your friends or band, and the mind-blowing Fretlight education system makes learning simple and easy.