A turntable, a drum-looper, and an electric guitar. Independently, they’re pretty amazing instruments. As an ensemble, they could be a headlining event at Coachella. However, combine them together in a Frankenstein-monster-ish instrument and you’ve got perhaps one of the most uniquely appealing instruments I’ve ever seen! Say hello to the Circle Electric Guitar, a bizarre invention from the mind of Anthony Dickens. You’ve heard acoustic finger-pluckings, you’ve heard electric shredding, you’ve even heard slap-basses so wild they’ll drive you crazy… but I can guarantee you’ve never heard anything like this before. The Circle Electric Guitar features a rotating disc that lets you attach tiny rods to it that strum the strings so you don’t have to. The position and placement of these rods determine your strum pattern, and the speed of the rotating disc decided the rhythm. All you need to do now is plug the guitar in, play chords with your left hand, and the guitar now sounds like a melodic techno-house machine. Don’t believe me? Just watch the video above.
The Circular Electric Guitar isn’t just a fusion of instruments, it’s a fusion of the capabilities of the instruments too. The rotating wheel features multiple slots, divided into 16 sections corresponding with the 16 bar music structure. All you do is plug these tiny plastic (or rubber, I don’t really know what they’re made of) rods into any of the slots and when the wheel rotates, they strike against all the strings, working sort of like a looper or a sequencer. The repetitive action of the rotating wheel feels deliberately mechanical, and the fact that the wheel can rotate up to speeds of 250 RPM gives the guitar an ability to strum with the sheer robotic consistency of a looping software. For added flair, you can use your now-free right hand to mute certain strings, creating a very cool muffling effect that’s highly reminiscent of what deejays do while mixing tracks. Moreover, the guitar comes with 6 switches that allow you to manually switch on and off strings (in case you don’t want to use all 6 strings), and 6 buttons that trigger each string, sort of like a piano key. Combine this with a DAW or a nice guitar amp and you can really explore the Circle Electric Guitar’s boundless possibilities. Head down to the bottom of the article to watch yet another video of the Circle Electric Guitar in action – this time, jamming out a divine electro-techno set that I certainly never thought would ever be possible to orchestrate on a guitar!
Designers: Anthony Dickens, Jacob Boast, Luke Perkin & Marie Tricaud