Godley & Creme’s Gizmotron Returns

gizmotron-2

At the 2015 Summer NAMM Show, Gizmotron LLC announced plans to release a re-engineered, updated sequel to a guitar effects device that has not been seen or heard since the early 1980’s; the legendary Gizmotron.

Invented over 40 years ago, by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley of the rock group 10cc, the Gizmotron debuted at the NAMM trade show in 1979.

The Gizmotron 2.0 offers musicians the ability to mechanically bow one or more strings of a guitar or bass by pressings its keys. Each key brings a spinning wheel into contact with a string, creating a bowing sound similar to a cello, viola or violin.

Here’s an example of the Gizmotron 2.0 in action, on a Les Paul Deluxe:

Features:

  • No instrument modifications, special pickups, midi interface, or mobile app required. Entirely outside of signal chain.
  • Fits most electric guitar and basses, including some 5 string basses.
  • 100% mechanically produced, organic, harmonically rich tone.
  • Speed Control – Vary the volume, tone and attack of the Gizmotron 2.0 using its speed control knob, or by using the optional SPD-1 speed control foot pedal (not included, sold separately).
  • Universal Quick Release Mounting System – Quickly release and lock the Gizmotron 2.0 to your instrument using three low-profile mounting pads.
  • USB Powered –  A 9.8ft (3m) USB cable and international AC Adapter is included with every unit.
  • Durable, Robust & User-Serviceable – Manufactured from industrial-strength ABS, the Gizmotron 2.0 contains a high-quality DC motor, precision swiss-machined driveshaft, and long-life quiet ball bearings.
  • Toolkit Included – An assortment of drivers necessary for mounting  and service are included with every Gizmotron 2.0.
  • One (1) Year Limited Warranty
  • CE / UL Listing Pending

Gizmotron Background

Heralded as a device that would transform the electric guitar and bass and offer “a new realm of musical expression”, the original Gizmotron failed to live up to expectations.

Suffering from a number of engineering and manufacturing failures,

It was rushed to market, suffered from design and manufacturing problems and ultimately failed. The company that licensed to manufacture the original Gizmotron filed for bankruptcy, causing the device to disappear into obscurity.

In 2013, after spending nearly 10 years locating rare, original Gizmotrons, Aaron Kipness, owner and founder of Gizmotron LLC, began developing the Gizmotron 2.0.

Mr. Kipness explains, “I first heard the Gizmotron when Jimmy Page used it on Led Zeppelin’s ‘In the Evening’, the sound of it haunted me, and I couldn’t understand why no one attempted to bring this amazing device back.”

Now, 35 years later, the Gizmotron has returned, re-designed by a new team of engineers. According to the company, Kevin Godley, co-inventor of the original Gizmotron, has offered his encouragement and support to the project.

With the Gizmotron 2.0, you can create endless sustain, drones or bow polyphonic chord arrangements. No instrument modifications or special pickups are required.

The Gizmotron 2.0 has an introductory price of US $449.99 (normally $599.90). See the Gizmotron site for details.

20 thoughts on “Godley & Creme’s Gizmotron Returns

      1. I think the main issue is that you can’t play palm muted notes when not using the Gizmotron, but still have it installed. It exchanges one mode of expression for another.

    1. Similar, but it seems hurdy-gurdys have only one playable string plus some drones. This is more like the Geigenwerk/viola organista/Wheelharp in that it’s fully polyphonic. However all these instruments are played with keys (or *mostly* played with keys, in the case of the hurdy-gurdy) while a Gizmo guitar is still a fretted instrument.

  1. I like this concept much better than the E-Bow which is kind of difficult and impractical to use.

    This gets you both the multi string thing and the ability to get a more gritty bowed sound.

    The price-tag is unfortunately quite hefty. A serious pro probably wouldn’t hesitate to make that investment if it is a rugged and reliable device.

  2. While this is a unique gizmo. Most of the guitarists that I know are not going to want to spend almost $500 for this thing.
    The original one was about $200 in 1979.

    1. You do realise that with inflation that comes to more then $600? You can never compare prices over that long a period (unless you take inflation into account)

  3. Wow, talk about a blast from the past. “Consequences” is an outstanding stage play on vinyl, really. 10CC was big a couple of decades ago and produced some amazing music that took colorful chances. There was a dash of humor to the work that made them stand out well, too. Creme & Godley produced several duo albums like “Snack Attack” that will make your jaws drop. Its Zappa-class brilliant, especially percussion-wise.
    “Consequences” can be had as a mere $20 CD and I recommend it. The story is amusing, the environmental fields they create (such as the animal stampede) will astound you and the musicianship is damned near like black magic. Its a rock-ish semi-opera akin to “The Wall,” with several acts that may not set well with less patient listeners; you’ll have to spin it a few times to really take in the amazing detail. Its a sound-design circus. The Gizmo is well-explained below, as well as the story of the album’s creation.
    I sincerely wonder how many people take up fringe controllers for the long haul. Unless you find Your Sound the way Adrian Belew did with Roland guitar synths, this may just seem like a novel oddity and in one sense, it is. Still, if it lights up your imagination, it hands you a world of bowed strings a guitar could never present in any other way. Its a working mutation. If you “need” one, you know who you are. I’d love to see someone step up and play this thing as it deserves to be played. The first person who masters it publically will up their career’s stock by several leaps, because the sound is rich and haunting. I have a friend who loves his E-bow to death, so he’ll probably hurt himself buying a Gizmo so fast, he’ll give his wallet a charley horse.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequences_%28Godley_%26_Creme_album%29

  4. I wonder how fast quick is in “quick release system”. Maybe I missed it—can you strum the guitar normally with this installed? I see a power switch—does that allow for “normal” usage?

  5. Sounds gorgeous but that’s over $800 australian on current exchange rates. Maybe a manufacturer will take it on like Fender did with Roland GK stuff.
    I expect that it sounds as good as it does because it’s on a high end instrument though.

  6. The amount of distortion present in the demo is a little worrying. You’d think someone creating a boutique level audio device would understand at least a little about gain staging.

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