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Axe*Synth
(Click for a close-up)

Classical guitar builder, pickup maker and custom effects pedal builder Tony Amendolare has been immersed in the pursuit of creating electronic musical instruments that spark the imagination and create worlds of new sound.

"I was intrigued by other synthesizers that were constructed like guitars, such as those made by Casio in the 80's. I wanted to make something that sounded very "fat" and full, and could be controlled like a guitar with a fretboard. I also wanted to create an instrument that exhibited the look and aesthetics of something "Sci-Fi", like what you would see in one of those post apocalyptic science fiction films like "Blade Runner". "

Another important element was to incorporate "expressive control" elements like the theremin photocell which controls some of the frequency settings, and the responsive touch sensitive fretboard which you can play like a guitar. These things make the Axe*Synth much more than a synthesizer most people are used to.

Inside there are two oscillators which can be played separately and/or simultaneously for 2 voice polyphony. The oscillators can also be combined via the internal ring modulator with the flick of a switch. There is a frequency filter that can be used to further shape and enhance tone. A Theremin? Yes. There is a photocell contained inside a lens on top of the body that will react to light and shadow. Waving your "picking hand" over it will create changes in frequencies while your fretting hand plays notes on the fretboard. Further frequency adjustments can be made "on the fly" by turning the frequency adjustment knob while playing notes with your other hand.

The photocell theremin effect can be turned off leaving you with just the notes being played on the fretboard. Conversely the fretboard can be turned off allowing only the photocell control and transforming the Axe*Synth into a "light theremin".

There is no "tracking" or MIDI involved here. Everything that is produced comes directly from inside the Axe*Synth. Standard 1/4" in/out jacks, 9 Volt universal adapter power jack and power indicator LED. It's a combination of digital and analog circuitry encased in all aluminum alloy construction.

You can see the Axe*Synth in action with video demonstrations on the company's web site.

Price: $549.00. Available direct from ElectroKraft

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