Variations on the guitar-shaped synthesiser have been around for a while now but none have really offered a true guitar-like experience. Not so with the Kitara from Misa Digital.
Instead of merely taking inspiration from the shape of a guitar, the Kitara can actually be played in a manner similar to the real thing. For each spot where a string and a fret would normally meet on a real guitar there is a button, giving you full access to the entire guitar scale. What's more, there a touch screen mounted where you'd strum the strings, which allows you to 'strum' virtual strings or interact with the tone in a similar manner to a Theremin.
Alternatively you can simply use the Kitara as a MIDI controller, mapping the buttons and touch screen to whatever sounds you want.
Invented by guitarist Michael Zarimis, the concept was to create an instrument that embraced the modern digital music world but that also allows guitarists to play in a more traditional manner.
Interestingly it transpires that the Chinese government has actually got involved with funding the mass production of this device, so clearly it knows a good thing when it sees one.
As a fellow guitarist myself, I was keen to have a go but other appointments dragged me away before I got the chance, so I can't vouch for just how easy it really is to use. However, looking at some of the demos it certainly looks like it wouldn't be too much of a difficulty to pick up, though sweep picking and whammy harmonics certainly aren't on the cards, and I betcha can't play this on it.
Available from the 3rd April, the standard model will set you back $849.00 or if you're feeling particularly flush you can go for the aluminium bodied £2,899.00 version.