The idea first came to Kelly in the spring of 2015, and it was developed with Gawain Hewitt from Drake Music, after he presented it at a DMLab meeting (the research and development arm of Drake Music).
It was then taken to the next step at a technology ‘hackathon’ last month, where the software was developed by Charles Mathews, with help from Dave Darch and Kelly, to complement the hardware built by Hewitt.
The Kellycaster essentially seems to be a MIDI controller, which is controlled by playing the strings of the guitar and pressing external buttons to trigger which chords are being played. The design is based on a Fender Telecaster, but that might be subject to change, with accessibility to all the functions becoming a problem with the traditional guitar shape.
“The idea was to combine a computer interface with all the subtleties of the instrument… It won’t have anything to do with traditional guitar playing, but it will sound like a guitar,” Hewitt said to the BBC.
“Although we like the shape of the traditional guitar, they present access issues and they’re also quite heavy. There’s no need for a guitar to be guitar-shaped, all we need is six strings that can be strummed.”
As it is only in the early prototype phase, there are a few kinks in the design that need to be ironed out, but overall it looks like a great solution for guitarists, when traditional guitars aren’t an option.
For more information, visit the Drake Music website.
(Photo credit: Emile Holba)