“We all have in mind the image of the nomadic guitarist who poses here or there, cool, with his instrument. But in reality, it’s not nearly as easy. Louis Morel knows what he is talking about. In the summer of 2019, he took part in a van road trip with guitarists. “Bringing 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 couldn’t take them on day trips. Most often, we were satisfied with a Bluetooth speaker which slipped easily into the backpack. »

On his return, the young engineer from Angevin was convinced: he was going to invent a guitar that took up as little space as possible for travelling. He teamed up with an engineer and musician friend, Antonin Girardeau, and studied what was already on the market. “Guitars with removable necks exist, especially in the United States. But they are not easy to use, they are very expensive and do not save that much space. »

“Everyone told us that it was not possible”

The two acolytes, 26 and 27, therefore decide to push the concept further: not only the neck can be removed, but the bottom of the guitar too, in order to be able to use “the enormous empty space of the sound box”. . “The guitarists we spoke to told us that it was not possible to open the body, we would inevitably degrade the acoustics. We approached a renowned luthier, Fred Pons, who believed in it,” says Antonin. The European Technological Institute for Music Professions (Itemm), at Le Mans, also brings his skills to the project and, after “a year of work”, the first Mogi folk guitar (contraction of Morel and Girardeau) was born.

Its body is made of bio-based composite based on flax fiber, its neck in mahogany and its soundboard in spruce. “Composite appeared to be the best material for resisting variations in temperature and humidity. And it sounds good. To ensure acoustic performance, Louis Morel and Antonin Girardeau carry out tests with experienced guitarists. “All approved. At no time did they tell us the sound was disappointing. It was a big relief. “The sound is very pleasant, the sensations too”, confirms Thibault, an experienced guitarist, who has tried the instrument “dozens of times”.

In a few manipulations, the guitar disassembles into three parts and fits into a specific backpack in carry-on size. “We can store clothes, a towel, a toiletry bag, accessories, a computer… The compartment is 24 litres. Business is easily accessible from the front. The guitar can also be transported in another bag, but it will be less optimized,” explains Antonin Girardeau. Reassembly is almost as fast and “does not require retuning everything”.

“To 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 the evenings or on weekends”, as well as “confirmed 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 diffuse 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. It 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 the end of 2023-beginning of 2024. Large-scale marketing can then begin. “There is a lot of curiosity and signs of interest in this project. We already have a list of about thirty people waiting for the instrument. It is most encouraging. »

Some 400,000 new guitars are sold every year in France alone. “According to our surveys, a third of guitarists complain of transport difficulties. Excluding the removable guitar market, it only represents 0.7% of sales today. There is real potential. We want to become the number one travel guitar player in the world. In the longer term, Louis Morel and Antonin Girardeau are considering duplicating the concept for electro-acoustic guitars, ukuleles, even cellos or double basses.

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