Sometimes the guitar world throws up weird and wonderful little gems like this one. The Circle Guitar is a mechanical guitar with a built-in motor-driven sequencer that spins at up to 250bpm for insane picking patterns. Yes, it can literally go pluck itself!
How on earth could this thing possibly work? Take a look at the image below and you’ll see a spinning platter mounted into the Circle Guitar’s body. This rotates and carries picks that can be placed using any of the 128 holes. Then you can program the circle using the five colour-coded pick hardnesses , which will then pluck the strings with different attack strengths. The picks then strike the strings, creating sound. It has an ash body, a rosewood fretboard and laser-cut matte black acrylic pickguard to cover the internal electronics. This crazy circular creation came from the imagination of builder Anthony Dickens and exists only as a prototype that’s been in development for two years at the Makerversity in London.
But there are some other interesting little departures from the norm, too. Circle Guitar uses a hexaphonic pickup so each of the guitar strings has its own dedicated output which can then be amplified, recorded and processed individually. This system is paired with six switches placed on the guitar’s body and they can then control whether the signal either passes to your amp or to a button that releases the signal only when it is pressed. It can also output time code or syncs tempo information via USB to the clock of your DAW setup as well. Phew!
You can see and hear it in action below.