Fretlight Eyes CE Retail Channel For Learning Guitars
By Doug Olenick On May 2 2011 - 3:01am
NEW YORK –
Fretlight Guitar will introduce
acoustic and bass versions of
its teaching guitars later this year as
the company looks to expand its direct
business into retail.
The company, founded by Rusty
Shaffer in 1989, said the new instruments
will join the five electric guitars
now on the market. The acoustic model
will ship in September with the bass
following in December.
Fretlight’s guitars use lights built
into the fret board to show students
where to place their fingers. The guitars,
which range in price from $299 to
$799, come with Fretlight Studio software
that uses videos and other teaching
tools to instruct beginners. The
same methodology will be used with
the new products, said, Shaffer.
In addition, Fretlight is working with
the makers of Guitar Pro instructional
software. The publisher’s newest title,
Guitar Pro 6 released in March, has
a version dubbed Fretlight Ready that
works with the Fretlight system. The
player simply plugs the guitar into a PC
or laptop via the USB port. There are
also plans for a version that would work
with the iPad.
Shaffer said that while the guitars
have primarily been sold direct to consumers
it has appeared in a few catalogs
and in stores like Brookstone.
However, he is looking to expand into
Best Buy and guitar stores. The issue
now is to develop an in-store display
that will be easy for customers to use
and for the stores to maintain.
Best Buy has installed music departments
in about 90 of its locations.
“It’s hard to sell through guitar stores
because they are not big on letting customers
plug in,” Shaffer said, adding it is
difficult to come up with a demo display
for other stores because he wants to
ensure it is always functioning properly.
Fretlight is even considering hiring
its own in-store personnel to operate
the demo, but Shaffer said that is just
one idea among many.
Any deal with Best Buy is also far
down the road due to the above mentioned
issues, Shaffer said.