Wooden Axe Promises to 'Peak' Your Guitar Gaming


If you're a Guitar Hero fan, you likely imagine yourself as your favorite, well, guitar hero — Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Bo Diddley. But that little plastic guitar can easily hamper the fantasy. That's why Peak Products came up with a realistic wood guitar. Jamie Leece, Vice President of Peak Products explains.

Why is the Peak guitar so special?
The Peak Starpex Guitar Controller guitar is the first real instrument for the nearly 20-million-user strong customer base playing Guitar Hero (from Activision ) and Rock Band (from Electronic Arts and MTV) for three years now. The plastic guitar these games come with — we call it a ukulele — it's fun but it's not a real instrument.

The Starpex guitar by Peak in obsidian.
The Starpex guitar by Peak in obsidian.

The Peak guitar looks cool, sounds cool, and makes you play a little better. It works with both games. It's a good product that you want to play. And you don't have to shift instruments from game to game. It's a high-end instrument that helps you perform well.

How did you come up with the idea?
It came to be through working closely with one another in the video game industry that we've been in for many years. We saw that there was an opportunity.

The plastic guitars are an afterthought. The creators of these games focused on the game. We worked with a design firm. And a few of us are hard-core music game players. We spent a lot on R&D. We took trips to China, where it's manufactured. We spent over a year working things out.

How did you fund the start-up?
We've been successful with other products so we self-funded on the Peak guitar. To the tune of $1 to 2 million.

When will it be available?
It will be available the first week of September. The first 10 were shipped from China to me in Toronto and are here. About 2000 will be shipped to Circuit City.

How much does it cost?
The Peak guitar is $179.99 and up, depending on body style and color.

Are you looking to expand? Are you looking for additional funding?
We have enough funding for right now. We see the market as 20 million strong. If we can get 1 percent of that business we're doing well.

We anticipate selling in the hundreds of thousands Peak guitars. This area is still maturing, new games are out every year, new people are coming in. The Peak guitar is a better the tool for people to play these games. We are making it more serious.

We have somewhat of a laser focus at the moment. There's always a conversation to be had about whether we widen our scope or what. Of course, if someone offers us $5 million, we'd figure something out!

How will you get the word out?
One of the amazing things about these games is the grass roots popularity. Bars shut down other activities for Guitar Hero night. There are significant numbers of people who have customized their own guitar to incorporate the parts and improve on the plastic-y controller, but they are not precision instruments.

We will do promotions with some of the places that do Guitar Hero nights. The word will spread. It will organically happen because of the popularity of Guitar Hero.