Attention, frustrated guitar players—Brian Fan W92 feels your pain. The Juilliard-trained classical pianist wanted to learn the instrument so he could sing to his newborn daughter but spent a summer trying with little to show.

The experience moved him to create the Magic Instruments rhythm guitar, which replaces strings with buttons and simplifies playing chords to pushing a single button. A companion mobile app offers a library of thousands of songs to learn; built-in effects and a speaker eliminate the need for amps or pedals. The 2016 Y Combinator venture even earned a celebrity endorsement: Matthew Bellamy, lead singer/guitarist of Grammy-winning rock band Muse, calls it “the ultimate shortcut” and a “great tool for songwriting.”

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