The Moog guitar, a new instrument developed by the innovators at Asheville-based Moog Music Inc., will have its first public demonstration later this month. Cloaked in secrecy, the instrument has been the subject of widespread anticipation and speculation among guitarists, audiophiles and music lovers of all stripes.
Folks who attended the EtherMusic Festival at the Orange Peel earlier this spring got a sneak peek at the guitar, which will officially be unveiled June 20 at Nashville music hall 3rd and Lindsley. The show will feature Kenny Vaughn and Fareed Haque, with Garaj Mahal. The Moog Guitar Showcase will be held as part of the NAMM international music-product trade show held each summer in Nashville. On June 21, the media will get to see a demonstration of the guitar at a morning press conference.
So what’s all the fuss about? Moog Music President Mike Adams answers the question by describing what the guitar is not.
“It’s not a guitar synthesizer; not a MIDI guitar; not an effects processor.” It’s a guitar that offers three unique modes — sustain, mute and controlled sustain. In sustain mode, every string at every fret position has an infinite sustain of a note. Mute takes away energy from strings, and controlled sustain allows notes being played to be sustained while muting the notes not being played.
The Moog-guitar developers say the innovations allow the musician to be intimately connected to the instrument while providing amazing sound. This reporter, while not a guitarist by any stretch of the imagination, saw a demonstration of the guitar earlier this year at Moog’s offices and can attest to the vibrant sound the instrument produces.
The limited edition Paul Vo Collector Edition Guitar will go on sale this summer. The body has a maple top and mahogany body, and each instrument will be signed by Moog associate and guitar inventor Paul Vo. The price tag: $6,495. A less-expensive model will follow, with the time and price to be determined.
Moog Music carries on the work of Bob Moog, the innovator who pioneered electronic music and invented the Moog synthesizer. For those who want more information about the guitar, below is a Q&A provided by Moog Music.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor
Who invented it?
The technology behind the Moog Electronics is from Moog Associate and inventor, Paul Vo.
What Models will be available?
The initial release will be called the Paul Vo Collector Edition.
Did Bob have anything to do with it?
Bob and Moog President Mike Adams often spoke of entering the guitar market, but it was not until Paul brought this idea forward that we felt we had something truly innovative to bring into the guitar market. Some may know that when Moog and Gibson were both part of Norlin (in the 70’s), Bob actually worked with Gibson and they jointly created the Gibson RD Artist Guitar. So Bob’s interest in technology and the guitar was nothing new.
Who designed the actual Guitar?
The guitar is collaborative design between Moog Engineering, Paul Vo, and Dale Brown of Zion Guitars.
Is Moog building the guitar?
Initially Zion Guitars will be building the Paul Vo Collector Edition Guitars. Depending on demand, the build may shift to other N.American luthiers. The guitars will then be shipped to Moog where the electronics will be installed and final set-up and intonation will occur by luthier Doug Wyatt.
When will it be publicly announced?
We will show this product for the first time publicly at Summer NAMM
When will it be available?
It will be in production this Summer.
Can I borrow this demo unit for my recording session, concert, tour…fill in the blank.
Moog would be happy to consider this once we are in full production which will not occur until the Fall of this year. At that point we would want something in writing which says that if it is used on a recording, it will be included in the credits.
Click on the video to see a demonstration of the guitar.