Moog Music has released the production model of the Moog Guitar, the Moog Guitar E1.
The video above offers an overview of the Moog E1. It offers the same technology as the original Paul Vo Collector Edition of the Moog Guitar, but for $3,000 less.
That puts it at about $3,500, though, so it’s still out of the price range of most.
If you’re not familiar with the Moog Guitar, it combines a classic Moog synth filter with several new guitar technologies to open up new styles and sounds for guitarists. It’s not a true guitar synthesizer, but a hybrid that offers its own sonic palette.
Detail on the Moog Guitar below.
If you’ve used the Moog Guitar, leave a comment with your thoughts!
Here’s what Moog has to say about the unique electronics in the Moog Guitar:
- FULL SUSTAIN MODE – like no other sustainer; infinite sustain on every string, at every fret position and at any volume. You may have heard sustain before but not with this power (we call it “Vo Power”) and clarity.
- CONTROLLED SUSTAIN MODE – allows you to play sustained single or polyphonic lines without muting technique. The Moog Guitar sustains the notes you are playing while actively muting the strings you are not playing.
- MUTE MODE – removes energy from the strings, resulting in a variety of staccato articulations. The mute mode has never been heard on any other guitar; the Vo Power stops the strings with the same intensity that it sustains them. You feel the instrument transform in your hands.
- HARMONIC BLENDS – use the included foot pedal to shift the positive energy of Vo Power in Sustain mode and the subtractive force of Vo Power in Mute mode between the bridge and neck pick-ups to pull both subtle and dramatic harmonics from the strings.
- MOOG FILTER – control the frequency of the built-in, resonant Moog ladder filter using the foot pedal or a CV Input.
Moog Guitar Controls
There are five knobs:
- Vo Power Knob – Controls intensity of sustain and mute. The knob turned fully CW is full Vo Power and fully CCW is no Vo Power.
- Piezo Blend Blends the piezo bridge pick-up signal into the guitar’s output signal.
- Harmonic Balance Knob – Controls the balance of Vo Power between neck and bridge pick-ups. (When the Filter Toggle is in “Tone Control” position, this function is moved to the foot pedal and the Harmonic Balance knob does nothing.)
- Master Volume Knob – Controls overall volume (Moog and piezo pick-ups).
- Tone/Filter Knob– Adjusts the guitar tone when the Filter Toggle is in Tone Control position; adjusts the resonance of the Moog filters in the two Moog Filter Toggle positions.
There are three switches:
- Mode Selector Switch – Switches between Mute Mode, Controlled Sustain Mode and Full Sustain Mode
- Filter Toggle Switch Switches the Moog Filter between a standard guitar Tone Control – (toggle away from strings), a Moog Articulated Filter – (toggle centered), and a Moog Ladder Filter – (toggle towards strings).
- Five Position Pick-up Selector Switch: Neck, In-phase, Out of phase, Bridge, and Piezo. only. (The piezo signal accessed via the Piezo Blend knob passes through the Moog filter; “piezo only” does not.)
Floor Pedal– Function depends on the setting of the Filter Toggle switch.
– When the Filter Toggle is in “Tone Control” position, the floor pedal controls the harmonic balance. (Forward = high harmonics, Middle = full harmonics, Back = lower harmonics.)
– When the Filter Toggle is in “Moog Articulated Filter” position, the floor pedal controls the filter cutoff frequency that the articulated filter starts with.
– When the Filter Toggle is in “Moog Ladder Filter” position, the foot pedal controls the filter cutoff frequency.
Note about Harmonic Balance: Maximum Vo Power requires both pickups to act together. This only happens when the Harmonic Balace is set to the mid-point because then both pickups are fully active. (Harmonic Balance knob on the center detent and/or the floor pedal set to the mid-position.) If the Vo Power is fully CW and you sense less than full Vo Power, check the Harmonic Balance function at the knob or the pedal.
What is the difference between The Moog Guitar and sustainers?
1.) The Moog Guitar Technology is not a sustainer technology but a Harmonic Control System.
2.) In Sustain Mode, The Moog Guitar is like a sustainer on steroids. Previous sustainer technologies are limited both in their power and responsiveness.
3.) Unlike sustainer technologies, the Moog Guitar has the ability to simultaneously “listen” and “control” each individual string at exactly the same point. This allows the control system to affect the string coherently. For each pickup and string, there is a unique control system that is optimized for those harmonics happening at that point in time.
4.) This “coherency” gives the Moog Guitar a sustain capability that is un-paralleled both in power and responsiveness. There are no frustrating lags, or drop offs. And the sustain from the Moog Guitar is DIRECTLY related to what is happening on the string at that point, so it is very organic sounding and gives a feeling of connection to the instrument that has never before been felt.
5.) Sustaining is just the stepping-off point for the Moog Guitar. The same ability to coherently give energy to the string can take energy away. This is revolutionary: the ability to MUTE a string (or strings) changes the very way the string reacts to the wood and acoustics of the instrument. It feels like a different instrument in your hands when in Mute Mode.
6.) Combining the Sustain and Mute modes gives us the never-before achieved Controlled Sustain Mode. Players can sustain single-note lines while the Harmonic Control System actively removes energy from strings that aren’t being played. This allows fluid violin-like lines and counter-point that are not achievable with sustainers.
7.) The Harmonic Control System allows the player to affect different harmonics that are being occurring on the strings in real-time.
8.) Because of the direct action of the Harmonic Control System on the string at the same point in space and time, the Moog Guitar fits perfectly into your playing technique, it responds naturally to the way you play – it becomes part of the acoustic nature of the actual instrument.
9.) The Moog Guitar expands the soundscape of the guitar in ways that no sustainer technology can approach. Like all Moog instruments, the only limit is the imagination and inspiration of the musician.