- Two engineers from Angers have developed a guitar whose neck and bottom can be disassembled and wound quickly.
- Once disassembled, the instrument is stored in a travel bag, while leaving room for personal belongings.
- Marketing is scheduled to begin in June. Deliveries planned for 2024.
"We all have in mind the image of the nomadic guitarist who lands here and there, cool, with his instrument. But in reality, it's nowhere near as easy. Louis Morel knows what he is talking about. In the summer of 2019, he participated in a van road trip with guitarists. "Taking out the guitar allowed us to create great moments of sharing with people. But the guitars were too bulky, it was a bit of a hassle, we could not take them for a day walk. Most often, we were satisfied with a Bluetooth speaker that slipped easily into the backpack. »
On his return, the young engineer from Angevin is convinced: he will invent a guitar that takes up as little space as possible to travel. He teamed up with an engineer and musician friend, Antonin Girardeau, and studied what was already on the market. "Guitars with the neck removable, it exists, especially in the United States. But they are not easy to use, they are very expensive and do not save so much space. »
"Everyone told us it wasn't possible"
The two acolytes, 26 and 27 years old, decided to push the concept further: not only the neck could be removed, but the back of the guitar too, in order to be able to use "the huge empty space of the sound box". "The guitarists we talked to told us that it was not possible to open the body, we would necessarily degrade the acoustics. We approached a renowned luthier, Fred Pons, who believed in it," says Antonin. The European Technological Institute for Music Professions (Itemm), in Le Mans, also brings its skills to the project and, after "a year of work", the first folk guitar Mogi (contraction of Morel and Girardeau) was born.
Its body is made of bio-based composite based on linen fiber, its handle in mahogany and its soundboard in spruce. "Composite appeared to be the best material to withstand variations in temperature and humidity. And it sounds good. To ensure acoustic performances, Louis Morel and Antonin Girardeau follow the tests with experienced guitarists. "All agreed. At no time did they tell us that the sound was disappointing. It was a great relief. "The sound is very pleasant, the sensations too," confirms Thibault, confirmed guitarist, who has tried the instrument "dozens of times".
In a few manipulations, the guitar is disassembled in three parts and fits into a specific backpack in cabin luggage format. "You can store clothes, a towel, a toiletry bag, accessories, a computer... The compartment is 24 liters. Business is easily accessible from the front. The guitar can also be carried in another bag but it will be less optimized, "explains Antonin Girardeau. The reassembly is almost as fast and "does not require to re-tune everything".
"Become the number one player in the world"
With this innovation, the start-up Mogi hopes to attract "young people who travel a lot in parties or on weekends", as well as "experienced guitarists who travel regularly". A pre-sale campaign will be launched in June with a "more accomplished" and "lighter" version of the guitar. Its color will be black and its hearing shifted to "reinforce its originality" and broadcast a sound closer to the musician. Manufacturing will take place in France and Belgium. The price, currently being evaluated, will be around 1,000 euros. "We hope to be able to go lower and get closer to 600 euros. This is very important to democratize the product. The other travel guitars cost between 1,500 and 2,000 euros. »
The first deliveries are expected for late 2023-early 2024. Large-scale commercialization can then begin. "There is a lot of curiosity and interest in this project. We already have a list of about thirty people waiting for the instrument. That is very encouraging. »
Some 400,000 new guitars are sold each year in France alone. "According to our surveys, a third of guitarists have transportation difficulties. Outside the removable guitar market currently represents only 0.7% of sales. There is real potential. We want to become the number one player in the travel guitar in the world. In the longer term, Louis Morel and Anthonin Girardeau are thinking about duplicating the concept for electro-acoustic guitars, ukuleles, or even cellos or double basses.
- Pays de la Loire