A USB-powered ukulele: strange, you say? Believe it, thanks to the technology from the Brian Moore iGuitar. The iUke ukulele built by Brian Moore for Mac maven Andy Ihnatko is making its rounds on the Web (Boing Boing), but here are some details, just to clarify:

It’s audio-only. USB on this device only carries audio signal for the moment, not MIDI for controlling soft synths.


It will work with any audio app. Class-compliance would make it show up automatically on any Windows or Mac system, not just in GarageBand.


iGuitar.USB will have MIDI, too. Well, sort of. The iGuitars (including non-USB models) can send audio signal over a 13-pin connector that, with the assistance of a box like Roland’s GI-20 can transmit MIDI over USB. Not the iUke, though; it has audio and nothin’ else.


So why not send audio and MIDI on the same USB cable? I think you’ll see that soon on a guitar, but it’s not available yet. You can’t even buy a guitar with USB audio currently. Even the iGuitar.USB is currently unannounced, though it’s coming soon — more on that once it’s official. As for your very own iUke — uh, you’ll have to petition Brian Moore on that one. The company’s spokeperson, Robin Palmer, tells CDM:

This is a VERY “one off” type product, I doubt they will go into production, more of a lark for the Mac show, just to show how our technology has almost infinite applications in stringed (and other) instruments. It’s done with RMC piezo saddles and our proprietary iGuitar.USB digital electronics, and ONLY a USB output, no 1/4″ cables.”


As for showing what iGuitar.USB can do, of course, it’s fab. Now about that digital mandolin . . . and banjo . . . and sitar . . . and . . .

iUke Flickr page from Andy Ihnatko


PS, I now know how to spell ukulele. ;-) -PK