CES 2011: Kitara synth-guitar

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Michael Zarimis offers an unassailable logic for developing his synth-guitar: it is the last band instrument to get the proper treatment.

"I'm a big fan of electronica," Zarimis said, "but the band format is missing. It's usually people sitting at desks or tweaking knobs behind the scenes."

Unlike keytars, which remain keyboards, or MIDI guitars, which are "too temperamental," his Kitara keeps the frets but replaces the strings with an 8-inch multi-touch display. Inside is a polyphonic synthesizer, with 100 default sounds and 6 effect, each of which can be assigned to different 'strings.'

Zarimis, an engineer, created his prototype and put it on YouTube. Within a week, his video received a million views and the attention of a business partner. But the Linux-based guitar was the end result of many months of work.

"The first prototype I built literally in my house in my spare time," Zarimis said. "It took me two years."

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It also works as a MIDI controller for use with a digital audio workstation or other equipment, and will be $849 when it is released in April. A $2,900 special edition, made of aluminum, is also on offer, and they're taking nothing-down pre-orders at the homepage.

Kitara [Miso Digital]

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