Anthony Dickens had an idea for a new kind of guitar for more than 10 years, but work on a prototype only started two years ago. Now with the help of engineers from London’s Makerversity, the Circle Guitar is ready to rock.
What makes the Circle Guitar different to other electric six strings is that it’s essentially home to a mechanical step sequencer for sounds, textures and rhythms that Dickens says would be impossible on a conventional electric guitar. The motor-driven spinning disc in the ash body of the guitar rotates at up to 250 beats-per-minute under the strings. This disc has 128 slots for guitar picks to be placed in, and these strike the strings instead of a player’s pick hand. The force that the picks strike the strings can be set by the user.
Once the picks are placed in the desired strike pattern and the disc motor engaged, the player uses the picking hand to either mute strings for some heavy riffing or plays the six buttons below the strings like a piano to sound notes or chords. Each string has its own output captured by a hexaphonic pickup, which can then be amplified, recorded or processed through music production software. And six switches determine whether the signal passes freely to an amp, mixer or computer interface, or to the buttons that will release it only when pressed.