Wired fret guitar to MIDI has been around for years. Keith McMillen (KMI) has a fret wired MIDI controller that he is ready to produce. He showed a prototype at NAMM a few years ago.
Richard McClish (RMC) sold a fret wired guitar to MIDI controller in the 90’s called the Zeta Mirror 6 that was really expensive ( > £3,200 ). It worked but the fret / string contact had issues over time.
It looks like Bib O’Reilly has overcome many of the issues of fret wiring used as a switch to (almost) instantly determine pitch. I saw mention of the contact degradation issue on his web site.
Also, the pitch bending function seems to work really well.
Having said that, I have some big issues with this product.
1. I won’t consider an instrument that must cross the Atlantic for service. I see no mention of a warranty, what it covers, and what the return time expectation might be.
Further, the site says that there is a 6 to 12 month wait once you place an order. And that the guitars are ”hand built”. So how long will I be without my guitar if I have to send it for service.
And I hate the “hand built” description. That is great for a standard guitar; it’s silly for a guitar based on specialized electronics. A human is far more likely to create a production flaw than a robot when it comes to complex electronics. And humans cost more and take longer to do the job.
2. Why do I have to have to pay for all of the extra switches, joystick and X/Y pad? Why can’t I have a basic guitar with fret wiring? At half the price. And as a far less complex instrument, I’d expect less chance of failure.
3. Where is a full operator’s manual? How can Mr. O’Reilly expect a potential buyer to buy his instrument without knowing its specs, MIDI implementation, and a complete description of the software it comes with?
4. Mr. O’Reilly is terrible at demonstrating his instrument in the online videos. He misses key points about MIDI guitar controller requirements like matching pitch bend range to the target. And he never explains the need for either a Mode 4 or MPE target if you need polyphonic pitch bend.
With the potential of this technology, it seems that it could be a home run. But I suspect that the company is woefully under funded based on my above observations. I can’t see it surviving long.