In addition to running his own design firm, Studio Make Believe, UK-based product designer Anthony Dickens invented this unique Circle Guitar. Listen to the sound it makes:
"We built Circle Guitar to generate sounds, textures and rhythms that would be impossible with a conventional electric guitar," Dickens writes. "By using a mechanical device to strike the strings, rather than a human hand, you can exceed what is physically possible and push guitar playing into new, unexplored territories."
As for how it works:
"The motor-driven circle is, in essence, a mechanical step sequencer that rotates up to 250bpm beneath the strings. It has 128 holes in which to place a plectrum to strike the strings. The sound is caught by a hexaphonic or 'multi-channel' pickup, so each string has its own output that can be amplified, recorded and processed individually."
"There are six switches on the body of the guitar that control whether the signal either passes freely to your amp, mixing desk or computer interface or to a button that releases the signal only when pressed. This enables you to play the Circle Guitar a bit like a piano, creating interesting rhythmic chords or lead lines."
Dickens came up with the idea over a decade ago, and more recently spent two years finally realizing it. The team finally produced the prototype seen in the video…just in time for the pandemic; production has since been delayed, though he's got a mailing list you can sign up for for updates.
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