One of the great new products launched here the CES 2011 is the Misa Digital Kitara.
This is a stringless guitar which weighs pretty much the same as a conventional electric guitar, although it is a bit heavier at the neck end than you might expect.
There are basically two ways of playing it; the ball mode and the string mode. The former is designed to give you a more flexible approach to your playing while the latter is more like the kind of style you would play when using a traditional, stringed guitar.
Within those two modes you also the option of a couple of different settings, known as red and blue, to let you fully customize the machine. But how do you actually play the thing?
Well, your fingers go on an 8 inch sized touchscreen and you can use this to change the volume, pitch and tempo as you wish. If you are used to playing a more traditional type of guitar then a handy little feature lets you place a transparent cover with ridges over the screen. The fretboard has 144 notes, divided into 6 groups of 24.
There are more than a hundred pre configured sounds and you can expect to see the ability to modify existing ones and create new ones launched soon. 5 milliseconds is the latency with this stringless guitar, so no worries about time delays, and the Kitara is compatible with PCs, Macs and Linux machines.
You can pre order one now for early April delivery and there are two options. The black, plastic Kitara costs $849 and the stunningly stylish silver one about $2,000 more. Whether you already play the guitar or not you will find that this is a wonderfully expressive machine which lets you do things which simply can’t be done on a stringed model. The YouTube showing the prototype was a huge smash hit, but will people fork out for the real thing?