From Product Mockup to Product with James Mitchell, B.A.S.EE., M.S.

All About Mockups
  Kelly Valencia-Aiken on December 8, 2022

No one can deny how fun a product mockup is to design, but how practical are they in real-world application? Today, we will look at how a product mockup can help people take an idea from the concept stage to a finalized product. To help us understand this process, we will look at the electronic engineer and inventor James Mitchell, B.A.S.EE., M.S., and his invention, The Roller.

James Mitchell, Mitchell, B.A.S.EE, M.S

James Mitchell, B.A.S.EE, M.S., has been a loving husband to his wife, Julie, for forty-three years. They live near their children and grandchildren in Michigan. He has been an active church member since childhood, owned and operated a successful construction company, and served on the mission field on short trips to Mexico, where he has helped build an orphanage. 


In his professional career, James has been an electronic engineer for over thirty-seven years, primarily in the automotive industry. He has helped design products like headlamps, tail lamps, wiper systems, and more using computer-aided design (CAD) programs like Catia.  


James has also been an inventor for most of his life. His first invention was for a class project in college over forty years ago, showing how a motor could become a generator, and a generator could become a motor using a direct current power supply.


The Problem

About fourteen years ago, while playing the guitar at church one Sunday morning, James discovered a need he could not meet with instruments already on the market. Certain worship songs in the lineup would call for both a bass guitar and an electric guitar. Sometimes, the person scheduled to play either part would not be present for the service, leaving the music feeling incomplete. He realized that if he had both instruments on hand, he could have switched from one to the other, but the short amount of time between songs might have caused an awkward delay in the changeover or distracted the worshippers. He needed one guitar to fulfill both musical parts in a single piece with a seamless transition. He set out to make just that: A guitar that is both bass and an electric guitar. 

The Process

When James started working on his guitar, he needed schematics for how it should be wired, a body design, and a mechanism that allowed the fretboard to move for transitioning from electric to bass and back again. He began with rough sketches of an instrument mockup before progressing to a more fine-tuned version of a 2-dimensional guitar mockup. Here is one of his original 2-dimensional instrument mockups of a potential body style with each component needed in the instrument. 


From there, he finalized the body design and made a prototype in mahogany and maple from the guitar mockup. Then he changed the body design and material and made the finalized prototype, shown below in white fiberglass. 


The Patented Solution

In 2013, he patented his design for a musical instrument that is an electric guitar and a bass guitar combined, and The Roller was born. The fretboard of the guitar “rolls” over from one side to the other, allowing the musician to play two different types of guitars back-to-back without having to put down the first to switch to the second. 

The Roller in action

The Takeaway

Instrument mockups can help engineers, inventors, and designers capture an idea and turn it into reality. Utilizing product mockups and creating 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional prototypes helped James take his concept from an idea to a guitar mockup and turn it into a physical product ready for production and distribution. 

Mockup a Guitar

Are you interested in customizing the design of the exterior surface of a guitar body? Using product mockups like the ones made here at Creatsy is a great way to develop your vision and share it with potential investors and clients. Check out our guitar mockup set here!