Learning guitar has never been easier

Spring 2019

DSID 137

Without a music teacher or instructor, it can be difficult to learn to play an instrument and remain motivated.

Strum is an iPhone powered electric guitar teacher that makes it more accessible to learn. With its low profile size and easy to follow visuals, it is a perfect starter for young beginners. 


Excessive Noise

One of the biggest insecurities when learning to play guitar is it sounding bad to those around you.

Difficulty of Learning

In-Person lessons can be expensive and can require a lot of commitment for a casual at-home player.


Size and Small Spaces

In city living and college dorms, room for larger objects is scarce.


Student buys a guitar and tries to learn to play from the comfort of his dorm room

The difficult learning curve makes him frustrated. 

During his practice, his roommate gets annoyed by his bad playing and gets mad at him.


Accelerated Learning

With attention spans getting shorter and shorter, there is a need to find new ways to teach certain skills or curriculum. Gamification allows for accelerated learning by making the learning process more interactive, engaging, competitive, and builds a drive.



Phase 1

Was aiming to create an attachment for guitars. Tested weight and visibility. Moved toward an amp design with indicators.

Phase 2

Continued down this path to make something that can take into account the length of the fret board while still being compact.

Phase 3

Realized that the user not only needed to store both the guitar and the amp but also buy both which can get pricey depending on the quality of the guitar. Moved towards an all in one device.

Testing & Mock Ups

Indicator Visibility

Using tape to simulate indicator being at the nut of the guitar

Indicator Visibility

Looking at existing products such as guitar hero to see how they have tackled a similar issue

Phone Visibility

Placing phone in the center region by pick ups proved easier for the user and kept guitar balanced

One Size

Needed to make sure that the device would be small but still easy to use. Did not want it to feel like a little Ukulele.


Being that personal space in a Dorm is so small, I really had to work hard to find a comfortable form factor. I wanted to keep it a similar size to an average laptop as possible

Phone Visibility

Previous designs had it where the learning device was an amp. This was problematic since there was a lot of looking back and forth



Making guitar more accessible


Traditional Tuners

Knob Tuners stay on to teach user to restring a guitar and how to go about tuning.

Slide out Body

Allows for adjustable height for different users

iPhone Holder

Place to put iPhone and watch the guitar lessons. Also has adjustable height

Traditional Pick Ups

Old School pickups remain to keep the electric guitar sound that drew people to learn to play

Smart Fret Board

Smart Fret board reads finger placement and illuminates correct finger placement for user to follow

3.5 mm Jack

Allows to plug in headphones directly, removing the need for an amp. Fits for a private session

How to use

Place iPhone in clamp and launch app. 

Choose a lesson on the app to start learning and plugs in headphones.

Follow the indicators on the Strum's fret board to learn what cords to play and when.

Fretboard demo

Fretboard light up the places where your fingers would go to play a note in a song. 


Point of view shot of what a user would be seeing when looking down at the fretboard.


Thank You!