Kitara is a non-fretted guitar like MIDI Controller that uses internal or external electronic synthesizers to produce sound. Kitara does not have any strings. It has a neck that resembles the layout of a stringed guitar, but has buttons in place of the strings and frets. Its most striking feature is the large touch pad and interactive light effects which allows the musician to trigger synthesizer notes while simultaneously changing and effecting note parameters such as cutoff, pitch bend, modulation or other assignable parameters.
Who Played it?
Chris Wolstenholme of Muse most notably played alongside Matt Bellamy in their 2012 single - Madness. Chris played Kitara live with his real bass in a striking custom built hybrid instrument.
How does it work
Kitara combines the use of touch buttons for strings and frets with an 8 inch multi-touch screen. The player controls sound effects and parameters through this display, as opposed to strumming strings like on a traditional guitar. The note pitch is detected through 144 buttons on the neck while the note parameters and effects are controlled from the touch screen. Notes can be triggered when the touch screen is pressed. A second playing mode resembling guitar like 'tapping' triggers notes instantly when any button on the neck is pressed.
Along with internal wavetable synthesizer, kitara sends a MIDI signal allowing control over external synthesizers. Kitara is powered by an open-sourced Linux based CPU.
When was it produced
Kitara was designed by Michael Zarimis and produced for a short period between 2011 and 2012. It featured in NAMM 2011.
Kitara was a highly innovative controller that brought new playing dimensions to musicians with a guitar skill set. It was very reasonably priced but it's lack of real strings made commercial success difficult.