Watch this video and tell me you don’t think that this will fundamentally change music, pretty much all genres, the day after it comes out (September).

YouTube Preview Image

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/06/moog-unveils-ba.html

27 Responses to “A Guitar to Change the World – New Moog Guitar”
  1. Scott Unrein says:

    I want. Technology this cool could lead to a life of crime.

  2. J.C. Combs says:

    Looks like a great –PICK UP–.

  3. Seth Gordon says:

    The mere fact that Old Man Reed is fascinated with something should be warning sign that it’s already dated. He’s about as hip to the now as Ted “series of tubes” Stevens.

    Seeing as how the infinitely-sustaining-guitar-thing has been around in one form or another since at least “Old Wild Men” by 10cc in the early 70s… and then came the Fernandes Sustainer, Michael Brooks’ “Infinite Guitar”, the Sustainiac, the E-Bow… and probably a couple more I’m forgetting… and seeing as how none of those things managed to fundamentally change music, I’m not really seeing how this one will. I’ll admit adding the mute function was kinda cool, though it’s nothing you couldn’t do with a piece of felt.

    It’s been my experience that gimmick guitars are often not very good guitars, sadly. But the folks at Moog are pretty good at what they do, so I’ll reserve judgement until I actually get to noodle around with one.

  4. Seth, your negativity is so inspiring! Someday… I guess I can dream! ;)

  5. I’m usually just a casual observer of your blogs but I must say anyone who has ever seen Steve Howe play his pedal steel on stage has been introduced to infinite sustain already. And regarding muting; there’s nothing like the palm of the picking hand to cover off perfectly on that area of expertise.

    Now if you want to really shake in your boots about technology – and anyone who edits in pro-tools beware of what’s coming – polyphonic editing…i.e. notes within a chord will soon be easy to mdify. Now that will change the world… Check it out here: http://www.celemony.com/cms/index.php?id=dna&L=0

  6. I must agree with Seth, most music featured on the video could easily be produced with a well stocked pedal board, ebow and some technique. Still curious to see how one feels though, especially to know how easily one can alter settings in a concert situation.

  7. Steve Layton says:

    I’d agree with Tom above. The Celemony technology will eventually be much more radical and far-reaching for any recorded music. When instead of simply appropriating some sample, we can alter any single note or “event”, or combination of events, within it at will… That will open entirely new possibilities (and legal battles as well).

  8. Ahhh you guys are clueless! Clueless I say. Editing is whatever… a time saver. Giving musicians new palettes – that’s beautiful.

  9. David Rakowski says:

    I don’t think that this will fundamentally change music, pretty much all genres, the day after it comes out (September).

  10. I say figure out a way to increase sustain for the acoustic classical guitar and there you will discover your new mousetrap!

  11. Ugh… You just won’t hear it the day it comes out… Haha… Anyways… getting on me for using hyperbole is like criticizin’ a brass player for being loud. :) Just trying to stir things up. If you really want something that will change the world

    Also, the Steve Howe example, yeah whatever, I saw that Close to the Edge tour, this is different. It’s not clear how drastically the pickups can be controlled from what I’ve read. The E-Bow examples… that was too radical a change in guitar design. This is simple and elegant and immediate. Don’t make the player learn a new skillset. Give them more adaptability.

    Anyways… looks cool and sounds cool and exciting!

  12. P.S….Jeff, check out and watch the whole video per the link in my previous post. Editing is going become the new creative palette, with less and less need for the musician…that’s earth shattering in my little corner of the world.

  13. J.C. Combs says:

    The editing program Tom was talking about, that is for editing audio? So in essence we will be able to play straight into audio and edit like midi? Is that right?

  14. Steve Layton says:

    “J.C.”: yep, pretty much. Watch the video; they mess around with a couple fairly standard pop things, but if you extrapolate this to other music, and stretch stuff even farther from the norm, you’ll start to get an idea of what more will be possible.

  15. I’m under the (concerning) impression that the Celemony editing program can edit individual notes of the chords digitally recorded from acoustic instruments. It doesn’t appear at all that the recorded polyphonic instrument needs to be source from a MIDI input. Which is why I think it’s a bit freaky. If true, this creates the ability to make any total hack appear brilliantly flawless in the hands of a good editor; thereby shifting the creative palette from the hands of the player to the hands of the editor.

  16. “Don’t make the player learn a new skillset!”

    The Ebow was introduced commercially in the 1970′s (and you certainly don’t need a BM in guitar to use it). I hate to think of all the other crucial “Change the World” developments we would have missed out in electronic / contemporary music with this mind set. Not to mention instrument construction and extended technique development in general.

  17. J.C. Combs says:

    Tom: We all know by now that technology grows. A “hack” isn’t going to take his computer and play concert hall tours. However, the same people that “hack” midi into manipulated decent performances will go up a notch in quality and may cut into sales say of, Moonlight Sonata, on the indie circut. That is a small price to pay for the benifits to composers on the indie circut dealing with midi.

  18. Steve Layton says:

    Hi Tom. I didn’t mean to imply that it *was* MIDI; it’s definitely working directly with the wave file. But the way you can shift or transform any note or notes makes a wave file begin to act like MIDI.

  19. Good point Steve. It’s likely most acoustic polyphonic purists like me will suffer from the Celimony heebie jeebies, so the advent of this technological advancement in editing upsets my little contemporary classical guitar corner of the world. I actually am in total accord with Jeff’s input though, his inspiring link about water purification and kilowatt generation wins my vote for the best life changing award of this thread thus far!

  20. paul bailey says:

    i think the most interesting developments are in digital instruments like the tenori-on, monome and kaossilator. these are the first (or maybe 2nd) generation to not specifically imitate an acoustic counterpart. so far they imply a new path of an intuitive live performance that is digitally enhanced.

    many musicians are also experimenting with software based effects and instruments (ableton, max/msp, fcb1010 footpedal) that are far easier to program and practical to use on stage. i have always assumed that path of looping and electronic manipulation during the late 60′s and early 70′s was quickly abandoned because of the complexity of live performance, cost, and unreliability of the equipment.

    these days some of the brightest are finding ways to hack and circuit bend toys and video game controllers (and soon the iphone 2.0) to create a new class digital instruments that are defined not by the sounds they make but how you ‘play’ them.

  21. Tom Izzo says:

    To the best of my knowledge, the fact that you can play chords with infinite sustain is what separates the Moog from any of the other guitar sustain devices in the past. That feature alone opens up a bunch of new timbral possibilities, although I’m not sure of how much value that is ultimately, (especially for $6500.00).

  22. JW says:

    The idea behind Celemony is just fucking sinister.

  23. I think this guitar will be a very interesting tool for some creative minds…ad they will change the way we use to hear an electric guitar! Cool stuff.

  24. Thanks JW for getting right to the point. I agree the Celemony appears to be deceptive practice technology and will empower sinister editors to elevate hacks to a fraudulent talent level. And if editors start messing with pre-recorded content for re-issue it will lead to countless legal battles at Steve Layton pointed out. To address JC Combs point, I don’t think hacks and their editors will even try to elevate their game to the concert stage, but this sure has a lot of potential to pollute the (CD’s downloads, postings) marketplace with a lot of fake acoustic perfection, and the mass public will never know those works were not performed with real talent on the instrument(s).

  25. Wow – this is like the eBow on steroids.

    I’m assuming that there is no MIDI output. Somehow, I was thinking that a Moog product like this would have MIDI capabilities. Then again, the Theremin doesn’t either (most likely because of the non-discrete pitch of the instrument).

    Wow, $6500. Okay, it’s not the Yamaha GX-1 (which I saw on eBay for around $80K), but it’s not cheap. Then again, what is the price for a good guitar?

  26. Seth Gordon says:

    I say figure out a way to increase sustain for the acoustic classical guitar and there you will discover your new mousetrap!

    You could theoretically do it with a Sustainiac Model C by routing the signal from a microphone (or a soundhole pickup) into it. But there’s no way to do it purely acoustically on the retail market. “The Gizmo” – the little device that the guitarist from 10cc invented for himself – would be the closest thing I could think of, but only the one exists. It was basically six little “bows” on motorized wheels that you could press down in whatever combination onto the strings. An “acoustic eBow” if you will.

    The E-Bow examples… that was too radical a change in guitar design. This is simple and elegant and immediate. Don’t make the player learn a new skillset. Give them more adaptability.

    Well, perhaps the eBow was a bad example – but for simple and elegant and immediate with no change in playing technique… there’s still the Fernandes Sustainer, circa thirty(?) years ago, and the aforementioned Sustainiac.

    To the best of my knowledge, the fact that you can play chords with infinite sustain is what separates the Moog from any of the other guitar sustain devices in the past.

    You can do that with both the Fernandes and the Sustainiac. The only functional differences the Moog has are the mute function (which, as it was pointed out, most guitarists do pretty easily with their fingertips already) and the assignable (per-string) sustain. Both useful, sure, but both accomplishable already to any player with fingertips and palms. Still, I would bet that with this thing coming out, Fernandes will release an upgrade of their existing sustainer that does assignable strings for 1/10th the price – and you’ll be able to put it into your favorite existing axe, to boot, not have to buy a whole new one that you might not like as a guitar.

    Oh, and speaking of strings – proprietary fucking strings!? WTF!? That’s just lame, Moog. The guitar’s not expensive enough, you want the players to be tied to you for the rest of time? What if I don’t like your strings? What if I like using Phospor/Bronze instead of Nickel? What if I like roundwounds and they only make flatwounds? And what if their strings just suck in terms of tone? Lame lame lame.

  27. Tom Izzo says:

    You can do that with both the Fernandes and the Sustainiac.

    I thought I remembered that the Fernandez couldn’t sound more than two pitches at once before turning into distorted mush. It’s been years since I messed with one of those though so I could be wrong about that.

    I agree that the proprietary string is a negative and it enforces the perception that the instrument is more of a novelty. What happens if/when they discontinue the guitar and subsequently stop making the strings?

  28.