Want to add onboard effects, a looper and even a Bluetooth speaker to any acoustic? Meet the HyVibe Essential

HyVibe Essential
(Image credit: HyVibe)

In the expanding world of smart guitars, HyVibe boasts a considerable reputation, having pioneered an impressive system that transformed any acoustic guitar into a speaker, looper, multi-effects processor and more.

Available factory fitted to a suite of Lâg Guitars models or as a standalone unit, the HyVibe System marked a significant milestone in smart guitar development at the time.

One downside, though, was the fact aftermarket installation required some pretty invasive six-string surgery – recommended only for professional technicians – meaning it limited the extent to which it could be utilized by the average player.

In a bid to rectify this, the company has now returned with an all-new unit: the HyVibe Essential, which seamlessly attaches to all acoustic guitar models to deliver that same smart guitar experience.

The HyVibe Essential eliminates the need for stomach-churning modifications by way of a stick-on design that attaches to a guitar’s soundhole and adheres to the inside of the instrument. 

There are two main parts to the HyVibe Essential: the control module – which sticks to the soundhole and features the various smart controls – and the HyVibe “brain”, which powers the whole thing. A piezo sensor, a pair of actuators to increase natural vibrations and volume, and an output cable complete the simple circuit.

Once attached, it works alongside an accompanying mobile app that helps to unleash its full potential.

In practice, the unit features three buttons – one for controlling the looper and three for triggering effects – and two control wheels that are responsible for volume and effect manipulation.

These buttons can be programmed to trigger a range of effects via the HyVibe app, which offers chorus, distortion, delay, phaser, tremolo and reverb, as well as a 12-string effect and some other eyebrow-raising extras. Multiple effects can be engaged at any time.

It’s in the app where other sound enhancing tools can be found, including an EQ and in-depth effect tailoring. Oh, and MIDI compatibility means all the above can be controlled if connected to a separate MIDI controller.

Aside from manipulating the sound of the instrument itself, the HyVibe also looks to be a convenient playing companion, doubling as a Bluetooth speaker to promote play along sessions during practice, and serving as a looper for self-accompaniment. 

In the age of technology, the HyVibe looks like a promising in-between option for those who wish to experience the benefits of a smart guitar but are unwilling to either splash out for a dedicated instrument or send their prized acoustic to the operating table for irreversible modification.

The HyVibe Essential is currently up on IndieGoGo, having raised $27,328 with an initial target of $10,917. A range of pre-order options are available, with the cheapest one weighing in at €219 (approx. $240).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.