Head Shot 11

I’ve been reading some comments. Reasonable questions.  I’ll try to answer one at a time as often as my bandwidth permits.

The Vo-96 is designed to attach to any standard acoustic guitar with the usual sound hole. The transducer portion slips under the strings so the strings must be high enough off the soundboard to allow room. For a standard guitar – the great majority of instruments out there – the Vo-96 goes on to the instrument easily and can be attached and removed with no modification or blemish at all to the guitar. (Not that the idea is to do that over and over, it’s easy but not that easy!)

Guitars are usually constructed with a 1 cm string height at the bridge or greater which works well. (that’s about 0.4 of an inch.) On some older guitars the strings may be too low, or the neck angle may be such that the strings aren’t parallel to the guitar top. A fat pick guard can be a problem. I’ve seen many variations.

A metal resonator guitar would be a challenge because the resonator occupies the same location as the Vo-96. Also the metal of the resonator would probably “distract” my control systems if it was too close to the control coils.

There is a DSP controller brain that resides inside the guitar and gets lowered into place through a standard 4″ sound hole during assembly. If your guitar is hollow and has room for this but has no sound hole, you’ll have to make creative modifications.

If you are determined to apply the Vo-96 to a particular instrument and you have a good luthier to help you or you can do that kind of work yourself, then all kinds of unusual installations are possible. But I would first ask, if your instrument has a natural sound you love, why not keep it the way it is and purchase a complete system – a good acoustic guitar with the Vo-96 installed?  (Will I be offering that? I think so – working on it!)

If your acoustic has one of those magical guitar voices and you love your guitar just the way it is, I would never suggest you use it with my device. I want to add something beautiful and amazing to the world, and not take anything beautiful away in the process! But there are probably millions of mid-range acoustic guitars out there that have a nice generic acoustic sound character, sweet but not fantastically special. Many are well set up easy playing instruments with good intonation and comfortable necks. Those are the instruments I had in mind as candidates for transformation with the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer™. And it is a transformation, believe me!

Having said the above, it is true that the transformed instrument works with the underlying sound of the passive guitar.  That means the quality of the sound does depend on the underlying sonic characteristics of the guitar itself.  That’s the whole point, really. We are bringing all of the possible sounds out of a sound-making thing; the Vo-96 does not replace the instrument’s voice, it supercharges and augments it.  But the guitar’s bedrock voice still influences everything.

So what is the best new instrument to use? I think there are a whole bunch of very good mid-level instruments being made today that sound great and have great playability.  Some might call these high-end student guitars.  I’ve seen them from just about every company.  Look in the $500 – $999 price range and find one by listening a little less critically to the sound – because we’re going to blow it wide open – and paying a lot more attention to how the neck feels, the intonation, the on-board sound system, (bridge piezo only for now please), the expected durability, good tuners, etc.

-Vo