Ever wish you could have a big fat bass right there on your guitar? Me too. I’ve tried all sorts of stuff like octave pedals and 8-strings, and they’re all fun, but nothing quite does what the A Little Thunder pickup does. It takes your lowest two strings and shifts them down an octave or two. You can output the signal with your regular guitar sound or you can wire it up so you can send it to a whole separate rig. If you play metal or stoner styles you can get some hugely fat sounds. If you play jazz you can do some amazing walking bass stuff. If you’re a solo singer/guitarist you can really, really flesh out your compositions. But it’s not the “If you’re a [this] you can do [this]” applications that excite me the most: it’s the stuff that we can’t even envision yet that people will be using this for. Andy Alt has launched a Kickstarter to get this baby happening and there are plenty of great perks, my favourite of which is lunch with tech-to-the-starts Thomas Nordegg (Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Dweezil Zappa, Mike Keneally). I’d like to think that Thomas would show up for lunch with some kind of MIDI-enabled, LED-festooned Ultra-Spork. But there’s also – get this – a 1987 Ibanez RG550 Roadflare Red prototype signed by Steve Vai and with A Little Thunder installed. Sweet, huh?
Here’s info about A Little Thunder and the Kickstarter.
Add Bass to Your Guitar: New Electric Guitar Pickup Seeks to Shake Up Game for All Genres of Music
A Little Thunder Kickstarter Pre-order goes live October 8th
October, 8, 2014, Los Angeles, CA: bit.ly/ALTKickstarter – Introducing “A Little Thunder” – a revolutionary new electric guitar pickup that allows guitar players to play guitar and bass guitar simultaneously. This ground-breaking innovation, which is designed to replace a humbucker pickup, adds a bass signal to the two lowest strings on electric guitars, leaving the signal of all 6 guitar strings in-tact: www.alittlethunder.com
The addition of the bass feature requires no physical modifications to the player’s beloved guitar: no drilling, routing, or adding extra strings, nor will they need to replace 9v batteries or use MIDI. Players will simply remove their existing humbucker, and with about 5 minutes of installation time will have the ability to push a button to activate the technology.
The three controls for the pickup are on-board a custom designed pickup ring: an on/off switch, a -1 or -2 octave switch, and a polyphonic (2 bass notes at once) or “low note priority” mode (the pickup detects the lowest note being played and only applies the bass effect to that note). Because the technology is housed within the pickup itself, players will experience virtually no latency or tracking issues that they may experience with external technologies, such as octave pedals.
A Little Thunder will be launching its Kickstarter campaign today, and is seeking to meet a modest $35,000 fundraising goal to go into production. Rewards for Kickstarter backers include a Steve Vai autographed 1987 Ibanez RG550 prototype, a trip to Disneyland with Drake Bell, guitar lessons with Adam Ross (Rihanna), Gretchen Menn, Daniele Gottardo, the first serial numbers of the pickup, limited-edition design by artist and musician Trisha Lurie, and many more.
The Kickstarter video features many artists trying A Little Thunder for the first time, including:
Jonny Two Bags (Social Distortion)
Kirk Douglas (The Roots)
Adam Levy (Norah Jones)
Brad Oberhofer (Oberhofer)
Jørgen Munkeby (Shining)
Drake Bell (Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh)
Barry Zweig (Buddy Rich, Herp Alpert)
JinJoo Lee (Jordin Sparks)
Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta/Suicidal Tendencies)
A Little Thunder was conceived, patented and created by Andy Alt, online marketing director for Steve Vai, and, along with Vai, co-founder of GuitarTV.com. In addition, Alt serves as lead guitarist for Drake Bell of Nickelodeon’s “Drake and Josh.”
Quote from founder and creator, Andy Alt: “Prototypes of A Little Thunder have been incredibly fun and addicting to experiment with and now it’s going to be available to anyone who wants to go deep into the depths of their guitar’s dark (but beautiful) soul. Metal players can now get super heavy sounds without having to relearn an instrument that has more strings, jazz players can subtly add bass to comp along with their lines; singer-songwriters will sound fuller and my favorite configuration so far is the duo setting, where two people will now sound like much more. The most exciting part is to see what musicians will do with A Little Thunder.”