Amit Zoran’s Chameleon guitar uses replaceable soundboards built from various types of wood and other materials to take on different sonic characteristics –
The five electronic pickups on the soundboard provide detailed information about the wood’s acoustic response to the vibration of the strings. This information is then processed by the computer to simulate different shapes and sizes of the resonating chamber. “The original signal is not synthetic, it’s acoustic,” Zoran says. “Then we can simulate different shapes, or a bigger instrument.” The guitar can even be made to simulate shapes that would be impossible to build physically. “We can make a guitar the size of a mountain,” he says. Or the size of a mouse.
The Chameleon seems to offer a unique shortcut for guitarists searching for their signature tone. It’ll be interesting to hear how well the onboard digital processing handles scaling those sounds. Read more on the instrument’s development at MIT News.
Photos © / Webb Chappell Photography 2009