Top Ten Most Funded Kickstarter Musical Instruments

Our team is building research notes on successful kickstarter projects. Here are our background notes on the ten most funded kickstarter musical instruments. You should be able to guess the most popular idea. But, where does your idea fall into the top 10? Considering how small many of these groups are, the industrial design, quality and price points of many of these instruments is incredible.

EDIT: The folks at Gtar pointed out that we somehow missed the Queneo during the first draft of this article. This list is now the top 11. In order to make amends, our next piece is on Keith McMillen.

Honorary Mention goes to the Turbinophone falling just outside the top ten list with $8,300 in April 2013.

Drum roll please….

11. Imaginary Marching Band $10.6k, June 2011
Custom Website: imaginarymarchingband.com
Major inbound links from: Rhizome Slashdot Gizmag.com

We recently wrote about the staying power of the “Hands” instrument: Sensors attached to a glove in order to control a musical environment. The interface creates a control paradigm for five different instruments, with classic instruments such as drums and cymbals being targeted. The project combines gloves with the arduino but manages to create its own design aesthetic. Three backers pledged one grand each for the entirety of his work.

10. Luminth: Plug it in. Make music. $13k, June 2013
Custom Website: nthsynth.com

The second kickstarter entry from NthSynth. A package of a minimal USB controller and a software package. Clever graphic design on the software package allows control over a range of electronic synths and drums. The nicely packaged controller provides some input options and lights. The low price point of $100 helped make this project successful.

9. Molecule Synth: An Electronic Synth for Everyone $33.6k, Sep 2012 
Custom Website: Moleculesynth.com
Major Inbound Links from: Make Blog, BoingBoing, Hack Things, Infinity Lab

A modular system based on hexagonal shapes. Link together sensors, audio circuits and speakers in new ways. Visually its very interesting, and taps on the emotional wake of doing diagrams in biology class. A nine piece set cost $300.

8. Nth Music Synthesizer, $33.8k, March 2012
Custom Website: nthsynth.com
Major links: gizmodo, Synthtopia, various synthesizer forums

An open hackable synth with a bunch of knobs and buttons. A gritty sounding module with a range of oscillators and a filter. A clear case provides a sharp simple visual design. MIDI controllable unit costs $300. We love the montage shots of outdoor synthage.

7. Qunexus: Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller $45k, December 2012
Custom Website: www.keithmcmillen.com
Major Links: Engadget, YouMustGetIt
A mini keyboard controller that provides pressure, velocity and location controls. The keyboard can also be used as a step sequencer. The device works with MIDI, USB and CV controles. The price point is $150.

6. Touchkeys: Multitouch Musical Keyboard, $74k Sep 2013
Major Inbound Links From: sequencer.de, createdigitalmusic, Synthtopia, sonicstate

The birth of a new standard. A seemless way to add location control to existing keyboards (or by pre-installed keyboards) The partner control software ensures the device adds to the ability of existing piano keys without creating a rubbery mess of computer controlled music. We wrote a piece on why we support this project.

5. Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer $120k, May 2013
Custom Website: voinventions.com
Major Links: createdigitalmusic, moogmusic, engadget.com, synthtopia.com, slashdot.jp

Create new tones on your guitar through the precise harmonic control of strings. This is a mega ebow that controls all six strings at once, and allows new types of harmonic control that weren’t possible before. The price point is $1600.

4. C.24 – Musical Keyboard for Ipad $136k, August 2013
Custom Website: Miselu.com
Major Links: engadget.com, sequencer.de
A very clever design for a portable controller keyboard that attaches to the iPad. The keyboard is collapsible, and the ratio of the keys has been rethought. The $99 price point is impressive.

3. Quneo: 3D Multi-touch Open Source MIDI and USB Pad Controller $165k, June 2012
Custom Website: www.keithmcmillen.com
More brilliant work from Keith McMillen. Building on the success of the Qunexus, Keith put together a MPC style controller with location aware buttons. The first edition versions went for $200.

2. Landfill Harmonics: Inspiring Dreams one note at a time $214k, May 2013
Website: https://www.facebook.com/landfillharmonicmovie
Major Links: wired, npr, washingtonpost, make, slate, la times
The best trash to musical instrument project. Based out of Paraguay, this project involves teaching kids to build instruments and start a youth orchestra. The instruments and music are wonderful.

1. gTar: The first guitar everybody can play $353k, June 2012
Custom Website: Incidentgtar.com
Major Links: guitarworld.com, likecool.com, needplease.com
Naturally, the top kickstarter project is a guitar everyone can play. The guitar is a controller which plays audio from the iphone. Frets are lit up, and the software on the iphone can correct any issues that happen during the playing.

What projects will the future projects will jump into the top ten?

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Most Funded Kickstarter Musical Instruments

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