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Meet Circle Guitar, the 250BPM robo-plucker in a six-string

Say hello to Circle Guitar, an electric guitar with a built in mechanical step sequencer, "to generate sounds, textures and rhythms that would be impossible with a conventional electric guitar," pushing "guitar playing into new, unexplored territories," according to designer and builder Anthony Dickens. 

The central mechanism, the motor driven circle that actually strikes the strings, is essentially a mechanical step sequencer that can hit speeds of up to 250BPM. Programming the sequence is also physical, involving placing five different colour-coded hardnesses of plectrum in any of 128 holes.

(Image credit: Anthony Dickens)

Meanwhile, six switches on the body of the guitar control which of the strings' signals - captured by multi-channel pickup - make it to output, and Circle Guitar also outputs a time code or syncs tempo via USB.

Dickens' ash-bodied, rosewood fingerboarded labour of love is currently a working prototype, built at London's Makerversity, home to a range of independent engineers, designers, artists and musicians. 

"I love the thought that by creating a new kind of musical instrument," says Dickens. "I have created a new way to inspire musicians to express their ideas and ultimately move and excite their audiences in the profound way that only music can."

Inevitably, Circle Guitar is already dividing opinion on social media, with one of the more reasonable objections being that it's "a problem looking for a solution". 

All we can say is, we want one.

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(Image credit: Anthony Dickens)
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(Image credit: Anthony Dickens)
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(Image credit: Anthony Dickens)