Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien plays a Circle Guitar, a radical redesign of the instrument that strums itself, in a studio in London. Photo: REUTERS/Stuart McDill
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Radiohead strummer tests radical redesign of electric guitar

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By Stuart McDill

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.. Interesting. Radical, perhaps for guitar players, but hurdy-gurdy players are rocking roasting strumming systems for half a millennia already :) :

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wwyznoWJDHI

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Here's the video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfTd6GFb0FA

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Its a mechanical looper with hands-on live interaction with the loop itself through muting etc. Loops are normally things you play on top of, not something you change.

New instruments open up new possibilities, and someone might do something interesting with this.

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Interesting. Radical, perhaps for guitar players, but hurdy-gurdy players are rocking roasting strumming systems for half a millennia already :) :

Yep. And the most difficult part of a gurdy is not the playing the keys with the left hand, but controlling the crank (that turns the wheel that rubs against the strings) with your right hand. I have seen gurdies with automated wheels, but it takes everything away from the player.

Like this guitar. I am sure an enterprising musician could find a way to use his freed up right hand to create new sounds, but it will quickly get old as long as a dominant part of the sound comes from a machine turned wheel.

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Hard to believe Kid A is already 20 years old!

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The technical innovation is impressive.

I have/own a guitar, you wouldn't want to be in the vicinity when I attempt at creating/strum anything pleasant out of it.

The thing is, the wood and strings are the focal point.

I am of the opinion, why does the guitar need this type of innovation?

The challenge is taking the time, practice, patience and confidence to play well..

At school, music teachers locked the instruments away on my approach.

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Dickens said,"so taking the organic, lovely sound of a guitar and making it so precise is creating this different kind of feel and vibe to music."

Hmm. To me, "organic" isn't a word I'd apply to any electric guitar sound, no matter how well played. That's not what electric guitar is about. As an acoustic guitar player I might be biased, but "organic" is about acoustic guitar, wood and steel, timbre and resonance.

That's not to denigrate the electric, one of the great instruments of our times. But whether the Circle Guitar is a real thing or not, or whether it's just another invention that's going to go the way of so many other inventions, forgotten almost as soon as it comes up, we'll just have to wait and see.

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Interesting, but I don’t see any real market demand for something like that, but for O'Brien it might be a tool in helping him create and experiment with new sounds ans ideas and nothing wrong with that, it’s a great thing actually, but the actual applications for the general market probably, not to mention the cost of it. I own quite a few and am currently building a new bass to my exact specifications because what they sell on the market just doesn’t work for me and I don’t want to pay a fortune for a custom.

I am of the opinion, why does the guitar need this type of innovation?

The challenge is taking the time, practice, patience and confidence to play well..

At school, music teachers locked the instruments away on my approach.

I totally agree.

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That's not to denigrate the electric, one of the great instruments of our times.

Yes, but once the electric bass came around it blew all other instruments away, all of them...literally.

But whether the Circle Guitar is a real thing or not, or whether it's just another invention that's going to go the way of so many other inventions, forgotten almost as soon as it comes up, we'll just have to wait and see.

Very true, one of my biggest guitar idols was Alan Holdsworth and the man used to play the now extinct Synthaxe and it was a beast, awesome instrument, had the pleasure to play with it a few times, but it was cumbersome and bulky Being it synth-midi and guitar with keys, it was limitless in regards to whatever you wanted it to sound like and Holdsworth was a master of it, even the late Eddie Van Halen thought his progressive fusion style was and left a huge musical inspirational impact on him. When musicians try new things it’s always good and it definitely shows their creative artistic side, but I’m old school, love these tools, but I’ll just stick to the basics.....and my pedals.

https://youtu.be/e-OCDAIKAh0

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Interesting the drum machine practically put drummers out of work, the synth has put a lot of woodwind, and brass players out of work. Will this new guitar put guitar players out of work. It depends on what the players does with it but it is pretty tough to emulate a guitarist playing chords.

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From the YT comments of the video posted by Bass4funk..."Guitarists will do anything to avoid learning to play keyboard...!

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That's not to denigrate the electric, one of the great instruments of our times. But whether the Circle Guitar is a real thing or not, or whether it's just another invention that's going to go the way of so many other inventions, forgotten almost as soon as it comes up, we'll just have to wait and see.

kaimycahlOct. 15  09:40 pm JST

Interesting the drum machine practically put drummers out of work, the synth has put a lot of woodwind, and brass players out of work. Will this new guitar put guitar players out of work. It depends on what the players does with it but it is pretty tough to emulate a guitarist playing chords.

Drum machines can add on to complex rhythms. I saw Genesis do this while they were setting their gear up before their show. Phil Collins played acoustic and electric drums and had a drum machine providing a programmed rhthymn, resulting in songs with complex rhythmns.

This Circle Guitar may be yet another new way to play a guitar. We have guitar synthesizers and guitarists use them. And the electric sitar has not 'put sitarists out of work' either.

This could be evolutionary more than revolutionary. After all, synthesizers didn't do away with pianists, did they? Usually if you can play a synth, you know piano.

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