Paul Vo Wond String Exciter Now Available To Pre-Order

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Designer Paul Vo has launched a Kickstarter project to fund the production of his new Wond String Exciter – a new device, designed to let you explore new ways of playing string instruments.

Vo’s instruments explore the idea of ‘acoustic synthesis’ – using electronics to control the vibration of physical objects and to shape the harmonics of the resulting sounds.

According to Vo, the Wond is the most powerful handheld exciter, sustainer and controller ever invented. It is a magnetic plectrum for strings, that lets you create infinite sustain and play the harmonics of a string in new ways.

The Vo Wond is based on the same technology as the Moog Guitar (2008), and the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer.

While the Wond is targeted towards guitarists, Vo notes that “it will drive just about any instrument with steel strings. Pianos, harps, violins – you name it!:

Here’s the official video intro:

Here’s an overview of the Vo Wond prototype from this year’s NAMM Show:

Features:

  • Exciter Coils – These are the coils used to excite the string of your instrument. They are controlled by how firmly you pinch the Wond. You can also use the different switches on the Wond to control their behavior.
  • LED “Headlight” Guide/Slide – Dual purposed to offer a slide much like a traditional guitar slide. The durable notched tip allows you to slide notes on the string while manipulating them with the Wond. In addition, the Wond’s “Headlight” LED helps you align Wond to the string visually – when the LED light falls on the string you are close to the sweet spot!
  • Multi-colored LED – Illuminates when the Wond is activated by the Pinch Control. The LED is also used as a battery charge indicator. It will glow less and less blue and more red as the battery depletes, giving you a visual warning of when to charge the Wond.
  • Pinch Zone – This is the area of the Wond that you pinch to excite the string. Pinching this spot governs the Wond’s behavior. With Pressure mode set to Off, pinching will simply apply power to the string. With the Pressure switch On, the pressure you apply to the Wond is translated into a control signal to governing the Wond’s power and harmonic response.
  • Morphic Switch – Selects between two different Wond behaviors that produce different sets of timbres.
  • Haptic Switch – In the On position, this will provide tactile feedback to the player through the Wond so the string can be “felt” as the Wond approaches the “sweet spot”. This feedback changes according to how close the Wond is to the string and also according to the amplitude of string vibration. There is enough information in this tactile feedback to play by feel, even with your eyes closed.
  • Power Switch – Turns all power off to the Wond when you are not using it.
  • Charging Connection – Located at the rear of the Wond, this allows you to re-charge the Wond when the battery is low or depleted.

The Vo Wond is available to project backers starting at US $179. It is expected to start shipping in September 2015.

25 thoughts on “Paul Vo Wond String Exciter Now Available To Pre-Order

  1. so… it’s an eBow with with more LEDS?

    not that there’s anything wrong with that, I like eBows.

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  2. I’ve used an eBow, and this does seem like an evolution of that basic idea. However, anyone who has used an eBow knows how finicky and limited they are.

    The wond seems to be much more practical and playable. The price point is a significant commitment, but if they get it right, it would be a very reasonable cost to have more expressive ways to play the guitar. This is especially interesting for acoustic guitar since you can coax those kinds of tones out of an electric guitar by other means.

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    1. yeah- I used to play a lot with an ebow – I want this but i am going to revisit after the kickstarter to see if the price goes down, near $200 is a little high – somewhere in the $100-$150 range seems like where it should sit (hopefully if it goes a little more mass produced)

      Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  3. I think this is amazing and I want one. Infinite sustain and control over harmonics will make for a new and exciting playing experience. I think you can do something similar with a e-bow (I’ve never used one) but I hear they just don’t work very well. This Wond looks super easy to use.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
  4. I’m calling BS on the “infinite sustain.” This thing does not have infinite sustain. It’s false advertising.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 3
    1. And you are basing your argument on…? Your own limited imagination? or what?

      If you can find a way to excite the strings without making physical contact (thus, momentarily killing the string’s vibration), then you have infinite sustain. This has been done with ebows and special pickups already for a while.

      Why would you think this product any different?

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      1. I’m basing my argument on the fact that it has a battery. Batteries do not hold an infinite charge. Ergo, it does not have infinite sustain.

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        1. Ergo, no device allows ‘infinite sustain’.

          But in the real world, infinite sustain refers to being able to play a note as long as you want to, instead of having it fade out.

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          1. But infinity would imply you can keep playing it even after you die, even after planet earth turns into water world and we all die, the only thing left would be the sustain of that one string………………………

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            1. You’re absolutely right. I hope someone does invent a way to achieve true infinite sustain. So nitpicking people who want to find out if they are truly infinite can happily play them non-stop until they die. That would make the world a better place.

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        2. So despite understanding the metaphorical nature of the term “infinite sustain” you still felt the need to be pedantic and bravely argue semantics?

          And as you can see, it has a charging port, so technically you aren’t limited to the battery capacity… but then again, electrical grids aren’t perfect! If only there were a way to hold a note throughout the entirety of a hurricane. WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO?!?!?!?

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          1. But imagine connecting this to the new Tesla Powerwall battery. I’m sure you would get several weeks of sustained notes. Yet if you have solar panels, you should be able to charge the battery whilst playing the sustained note. I’d say it would be a worthy investment to reach the once mythical infinite sustained note.

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  5. I hope it’s well tested for safety. Reaching for your Wond while trying to do the single-handed DJ ops with the iWatch is a good way to get your ass blown off by your drum machine.

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  6. Still nothing for your nylon strings. Unless Bryce Lynch finally perfected that magnet that works on wood. (I think the Doctor might be interested in that, as well.)

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 1
  7. The Heet invention of the E-Bow established the entire category of hand-held sustainer devices. It was an honor to meet Greg and Lenny Heet at NAMM!

    The Wond does not rely on the same technology as the E-Bow. It uses Paul’s patented collocated vibration control system which establishes coherent energy, two-way communication, with a musical instrument string using a single point of transduction.

    Engineers who have studied control systems will appreciate the significance of this. For the musician, it means the Wond is capable not just of exciting a string with a focused coherent magnetic wave (i.e. perfectly in-phase) but also of reversing the field and stopping string vibration – all of it. When you can do both, you have *control* of the way the string vibrates, of the timbre, of individual harmonics.

    The Wond is very fast, and of course is physically quite different than the E-bow. It also has tactile feedback. There is more: It does a few other things we’ll reveal in the course of our campaign. But probably the best answer would be to try both. The differences will be clear.

    Paul was inspired by Greg’s invention, but came to the Wond by his own path. He has had this ethic throughout his career. Paul has honestly never copied a circuit from anyone. He has studied the work of other inventors such as Bob Moog.

    These are different products and used quite differently. Each has it’s unique purpose!

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  8. The idea is great, just like the original idea of the E-bow was great. Too bad the playability seems to be almost the same s***. The clumsy 1-string playing technique on these videos speaks for itself.

    Like this comment?: Thumb up 2
  9. Nice that Paul is reading this.. I would consider the ergonomics of how it fits into the hand, how it causes the hand to form around it; does the hand form a natural, comfortable shape for playing?
    Consider looking at the way an oud player holds the risha (oud’s long plectrum)..
    2 bits

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  10. Revolutionary!!!! That’s a bit much in light of the eBow being around for a long time before this product.
    Note how he talks about being able to produce harmonics when he plays close to the bridge and then the “Flute like sounds” when played closer to the neck. Mmm! Didn’t really get that.
    I’ve been playing the eBow for many years and don’t really hear anything revolutionary here.
    The comparison to the Vo Wand ‘Morphic Switch’ would be that the eBow has two switches… one is for normal mode which creates long sustained notes and the other is for sustained notes with the ability to create more extreme harmonics.
    The comparison to the ‘Pinch Zone’ would be bringing the eBow closer to the string to intensify the sound.
    I also feel the pencil shape is not that optimal for guitar players. The eBow has two grooves that slot onto the adjacent strings on either side of the string being played for better stability.
    The ebow retails at around $99 instead of $200. That’s a big chunk of change difference.
    The interesting thing will be the tactile feedback…. I’m looking forward to giving it a trial when it is released.

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  11. The haptic feedback is cool. The ebow is tricky to use, looking forward to a more musical demo of this device.

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