Instead of spending thousands of bucks and clearing a ton of floor space to house your personal arsenal of guitars…what if all you needed was ONE guitar and a drawer-ful of sound-cards to get as many different axe sounds you wanted?
Well, I’ve been looking at this project from the MIT Media Lab created by Amit Zoran with instrument-maker Marco Coppiardi. It’s called the Chameleon Guitar, and essentially it’s a guitar body with neck, strings and frets. However, the heart of the guitar body is a swappable soundboard. You can change it to different sound boards made of various kinds of wood, or other kinds of materials. Electronic pickups attached to the soundboard gather unique information about the insert’s response to the vibration of the strings, which is then fed into computer algorithms that can use that data to simulate the sound of different shapes and sizes of resonating chamber.
As the creators say, they can make a guitar sound the size of a mountain…or a mouse. Gibson Dreadnought? Baby Taylor? Sure. This could provide incredible flexibility for a guitarist in performance situations, as switching instruments would take 10 seconds and be as easy as popping in a new soundboard.
The video above might be Zoran’s first proof of concept video posted on YouTube, but if you check the MIT news page, there’s much more detailed information and updated video available at this link: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/chameleon-guitar-0203.html
Seriously, wouldn’t you have a lot more room in your apartment if you had a Chameleon?