Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Internal Combustion Guitar: A New Kind of Guitar?

Internal Combustion GuitarWhen I first looked at Woody B's Internal Combustion Guitar website I couldn't quite figure out what I was looking at. Was it absolute genius or completely bonkers?

Viewing the videos the picture does become clearer, but I don't think these convey the full potential of this instrument. It seems the concept behind the guitar is to recreate the effect of playing in front of a bank of Marshall amps and finding that "sweet spot" where your guitar resonates with the power of the amps and enables you to execute some blistering guitar playing - BUT - without the extreme volume and need for a bank of Marshalls.

As Woody B, who would seem to be the creator of this beast, says: "It's the guitar you don’t just play... you actually feel the ride!"

From what I can work out what happens is that the guitar has a "driver pickup" mounted near the bridge. The signal from this is fed out to a small low-wattage amp, and then back into the guitar which has its own resonance chamber and speaker. This has the effect of bringing the guitar to life with its own resonance and sustain which can then be tuned with a pot to the rear of the bridge. The neck pickup - one of Lace's very tasty alumitone units - then captures the sound of the whole and sends it through to your main amp. Or alternatively, you can use the hex pickup on the midi-capable V12 model to send to synth equipment.

It's a very intriguing instrument, and puts me in mind of the new Moog guitar with its various sustain modes.

One feature it does have in common with the Moog guitar is a particularly hefty price tag. If I had the necessary money I think I'd be hard pushed which to buy: the Moog or the Internal Combusion Guitar. I certainly prefer the Internal Combusion Guitar when it comes to aesthetics and part of me suspects that it may have more "mojo" (if I'm allowed to use that word!).

In summary: very interesting. I'd like to see and hear more.

UPDATE: Read the Comments for more on this guitar from Woody B himself.

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