The YouTube channel LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER has recently put up a new video about a weird bit of gear long forgotten about: the Casio EG-5 guitar. A plastic-bodied electric guitar with a built-in speaker and – for some bizarre reason – a built-in cassette player too: Why would you want one and can you ‘mod’ it?
Casio EG-5 the forgotten guitar
A relic of the 1980s, the EG-5 was a, shall we say, unique guitar. The plastic body is attached to a regular wooden (I presume maple) guitar neck. It had a built-in speaker and a cassette player too. So you can play over the top, whilst the cassette plays your backing track. Or you can record your playing and then play along with yourself.
I have vague memories of these guitars, but I have never seen one in real life. I understand that they were produced only for the Japanese market, so they don’t pop up that often in the UK very often. This retro-kitsch piece of guitar and music tech history could be perfect for modification and circuit bending though.
Although it’s not quite a looper in the modern sense, you can record over your own performance – does hit make it the first guitar with a built-in looper? The time limit isn’t a memory chip, but the cassette playback time of say 30 min or 45 min. Could you mod this to do an infinite tape loop? All hell would break loose.
In the video below you can see a simple modification involving a potentiometer and a little soldering. The results are the ability to speed up, or more usefully, slow down the speed of the tape playback. This mod lets you get some – as one YouTube comment states – ‘David Lynch-like soundtracks’ with the EG-5.
At Gearnews, we love watching the LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER videos. I love the way he just opens stuff up and goes to town on it with a soldering iron. Do you own one? Have you modded yours? And if so, did you coax some weird and wonderful sounds out of your Casio EG-5?
I’m intrigued by old technology like this. Probably aimed at kids, it’s a product of it’s time, with limited tape technology mashed into a traditional electric guitar. Now, it’s a nice ‘circuit-bendable’ piece of retro weirdness. I also dug out an interesting video where another YouTuber TomboLP has restored and modified this humble little plastic guitar.
Mangle a classic!
If you want to hear the most twisted version of Stairway To Heaven, then check out he last video, as it mangles the famous Led Zeppelin track beautifully along with some Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles too!