AES: Finally, a guitar you can plug directly into your computer — no strings attached.

You may never have heard of BridgeCo, but if you’ve got a FireWire audio interface, odds are their guts are inside. (They make the firmware / hardware platform.) Now they’ve gone and crossed your FireWire interface with a boutique electric guitar. What does that give you? A FireWire electric guitar, that’s what.

Companies have been promising guitars you could plug and play with a computer, but there’s always a catch, like a breakout box — or the thing simply doesn’t ship. Heck, we even got a prototype USB-powered ukelele. But this is real, it’s at AES here in NYC, and thanks to FireWire, each string can be a separate audio channel.

So is the guitar any good? Probably — it’s the product of designer Rolf Spuler, who builds instruments for the likes of Al DiMeola and Bela Fleck. I’ll get to hear it in action this weekend and will report back. And it sure looks cool. (More CDM photos after the jump; thanks, Spencer!)

Alternative to a FireWire guitar: use a computer-based stompbox and plug into that for software effects; see the recent IK / Native Instruments stompbox smackdown.

  • Guest

    Looks like the exotic cable brigade have missed the FireWire band-wagon so far. That's clearly not a gold-plated socket. Seriously though – if this catches on, someone will have to invent a locking FireWire connector.

  • Guest

    does this thing have any volume control knobs? it doesn't look like it, unless those black things extending from the bridge are the 'knobs'…?

  • Guest

    No Whammy Bar?

  • Guest

    The absence of a fret board on the high notes for string 4,5,&6 could allow us to do Sitar type bends! That could be interesting!

  • Guest

    I want a wifi guitar!!!

  • atomic_afro

    If I was inclined to play guitar, I would be VERY interested in separate outputs for each string. This could be killer for sound designers and experimental artists. For example, in a DAW one could assign a separate set of effects for each string. Imagine, a set of 6 delays with their times set to progressively longer times as one goes down the strings.

    Alternatively, for live performance it would make using Kantos a blast, by setting several bass patches for the lower strings, and pad patches or leads for the higher strings.

    Just some ideas that have been going through my mind over this…


  • atomic_afro

    Hows about 6 instances of Trash or Amplitube for polyphonic distortion of the guitar? Maybe have the drive amount raise or lower as one goes from the high strings to the lower.

    Really killer stuff possible with seperate audio outs.


  • Guest

    Winter NAMM & Summer 2005
    Brian Moore Guitars, makers of the hi-tech iGuitar range with 13 pin synth access sockets, have now introduced the iGuitar.USB – the first guitar to offer onboard Class Compliant USB audio to streamline the guitar to computer connection, eliminating the need for an external audio interface or pre-amplification. This will allow guitarists to plug directly into their computer (Mac or PC) for instant access to popular recording software like GarageBand, Logic or Cubase or to guitar amp/effects programs like NI Guitar Rig or Amplitube Live. The system is Class Compliant, meaning that there are no special drivers to load, and it is also bus powered so no batteries or power adapters are required.

    You can see this @ the Apple Booth! Since it's remarkable MIDI/Piezo system (best ever) has shipped for YEARS, I expect better pricing ( Like a $599 "List" MIDI/Piezo/Whammy they sell now -plays awesome!)

    ( so this is news??)

    Lao Tzu

  • Guest

    Looks nice, tho i worry about it just having a normal firewire port! Those things break easily enough just connecting a hard drive to a computer on a desk, how are they gonna withstand Rock!?!? :p

  • Guest

    Brian may be all that but this design wins out hands down.

    I would also be interested in knowing how much this guitar costs.

    Brian's shop starts at pretty steep prices.


  • Guest

    That guitar is SO ugly. I imagine it's supposed to look modern and forward thinking, but it just reminds me of all the guitars I've seen through the years that tried to be NEW looking but just ended up looking dated in 6 months. Keep it simple folks.

  • Guest

    8) just cool u have made such an awsome device now its been really easy to use guitars aswell as the audio channels

  • Guest

    :sigh :zzz :upset šŸ™‚ :grin šŸ˜‰ šŸ˜‰ šŸ˜‰ 8) :p šŸ˜” šŸ™ :cry šŸ˜• šŸ˜• :cry :eek

  • Guest

    I got rid of all my vintage fenders and rickenbacker when I moved last time. Maybe I need one of these suckers!

  • Guest
  • Guest

    Brian Moore guitars are "Pricey"? I was amazed at their prices, I can't figure out how even the parts can be bought for twice the cost! ( and so did the Music store! )

    RMC Piezo & Roland MIDI are over $300 – Seymour Duncan pick ups are $150 + and how can they use Figured Maple tops & Mahogany ( real wood!) The action is super low, plays beautifully, as an electric, a electric/ acoustic/ and also does MIDI with ZERO latency!!!

    You cannot find half these features for the price @ $599
    Here is a zzSounds listing–BMG8113

    $599.95 (free shipping)

    A Brian Moore Guitar is as distinctive as the way you play. Below are some of the features, options and benefits that make Brian Moore Guitars stand out from the rest.

    Brian Moore Guitar Features and Benefits:
    13-pin RMC system for fast tracking access to Roland and compatible 13-pin guitar processors

    Beautifully figured Maple wood tops

    Innovative rear output jack keeps cable hidden away and snug behind your guitar strap

    Seymour Duncan, Alnico II Hum, Alnico Single + JB Hum for a wide range of harmonically rich versatile tones

    RMC piezo bridge for warm, authentic acoustic tone

    The Custom Contoured Top delivers the ultimate playing experience. This design creates a lighter more ergonomically correct body shape that actually increases your playing comfort. The curved top also reduces contact between the guitar and the pick as it leaves the strings reducing pick scratches.

    The iGuitar81.13 is based on the i81 and feature RMC piezo and 13-pin system for access to 13-pin Roland and compatible guitar processors.

    iGuitar81.13 Features:
    Comfort contoured body

    Unique sculpted headstock

    Bolt-on neck construction

    Nato Mahogany body

    Beautifully figured bookmatched Maple wood tops

    22-fret Maple neck

    Rosewood fingerboard with pearl fret markers

    25.5 in. scale 15 in. radius

    Classic 'iM' Alnico humbuckers

    Chrome hardware

    'iM' precision tuners

    Fixed bridge

    Innovative output jack location

    RMC piezo (via stereo 'Y' cable) for warm, authentic acoustic tone

    13-pin RMC system for fast tracking access to Roland and compatible 13-pin guitar processors

    No need for externally mounted synth pickup.

    Improved tracking over externally mounted magnetic hex pickups.

    Compatible with all 13-pin guitar synth products.

    All 13-pin sounds can be blended with the magnetic pickups.

    Connect to your computer and use explore the world of online interactive music, recording and jamming.

    Connect to your computer for use with a variety of music notation software programs that even convert to TAB

    Also see one @ $419…

    Still don't see a shipping USB version yet…but at least I know these guys can make a great guitar, with knobs! Throw in everything new, improve upon old, and ship it at unbelievably low prices….

  • admin

    I refrained from adding more detail to this story as I wanted to go see this thing in person. But you're right, the Brian Moore stuff is great. Also, because they have an RMC out on that, you can hook up their guitars to a MIDI box like the Roland GI-20 and use it to control soft synths, etc. (or anything else you can think of to use MIDI for)

    So, iGuitar = proven track record, great instruments. This = something I've never heard of before. I will say, though, iGuitar.USB still isn't shipping. But I'm in touch with them (they're just upriver from NYC) and expect to hear more soon.


  • Guest

    I finally found the page with the info! Looks pretty new, maybe 1 day old?



    Its ‘plug an play’ time with the new USB models.
    Why USB?
    Just plug the iGuitar into the USB port any computer and get direct access any your favorite computer based recording program or guitar effects program.
    – Built-in USB digital audio connects your guitar directly to you computer
    – Record instantly in your favorite application such as Garageband. Logic or Cakewalk
    – Play directly into the latest software programs such as Guitar Rig by Native Instruments and Amplitube Live by IK Multimedia
    – Line level signal – No external audio-interface pre-amplification required
    – Class Compliant – No need to load special software drivers
    – Bus powered- no 9V battery necessary
    – Available on all models (most are in stock)
    – Add $200 to the list price of any Custom Shop, i2000, i1000 or iGuitar model.
    – Add $300 if you already own a Brian Moore or iGuitar model – Upgrades done at our factory, 3-4 week turnaround

    from link:

    ( Now trying to figure out if/how other I/O works. Does it replace the Roland 13 pin? I mean, I hope the Stereo output for Piezo/magnetic is still there…for amp's and such…. )

  • Guest

    I'm pleased you know about Brian Moore. ( I have never been so happy with a guitar ) I also think you're intelligent, if you think they are good stuff.
    -already posted USB shipping

    But, I gotta admit, this is the 1st Firewire Guitar I ever heard of…. Did you see it? Try it? How's it play? No knobs? Can you use it without a computer? Nice action? Anything??

    Lao Tzu

  • Guest

    Wouldnt a bluetooth one be better for studio AND live?

  • admin

    Yikes, no! Bluetooth doesn't have the bandwidth for one high-quality *stereo* audio signal, let alone six mono signals, one from each string. I'm not sure about latency, but I would imagine you'd add some. Anyway, wireless RF could make sense for audio signal, but not Bluetooth wireless RF. Not unless you're trying to play guitar into your cell phone.


  • Guest

    saw this guitar, it works… those little sliders are volume, balance, etc… there is also some kind of pickup to pick up body resonance.

    Personally tho, I wonder why they didn't also put normal humbucker and/or single coil pickups on the thing and just have them on separate channels too…

    Also, folks, Roland has had separate guitar pickups for over 10 years, it's not like this is new…

    Also the headphone/output jack is only the guitar output, no mix from the computer, which is dumb….

  • Guest

    I don't like the guitar. guitars are meant to be up in stage rocking and not plugged into a computer making metallic sounds that you could make by hitting a tin roof. šŸ™ it's stupid. and it's design is weird. i would want to be seen with it. leave the rocking to the artists :upset :sigh

  • Guest

    ***not want to be seen with it

  • rolfspuler

    the paradis guitar is handmade in small quantities, not to compare with industrial products. it works as a 'normal' guitar with jack-output. natural acoustic sound comes from individual bridge-pickups made by myself. also magnetic pickups and microphone can be added. both nylon- and steelstring versions.
    firewire comes as an optional expansion-module including digital converters and processors. activated, the jackout turns to headphone-out sending the audio-mix from the computer or mixing desk.
    guitar on-board controls are: faders for master volume, 2 digital controls, 2 switches.
    with firewire, the guitar offers 12 independent audio sends (f.ex. 7 strings, microphones, magnetic pickups) and 2 audio returns and complete midi-control (no pitch-to-midi-coversion).
    i agree, the firewire connector is not quite rigid, but the contacs are goldplated. we work on a rugged solution.

  • Guest

    Just wanted to drop a line to remind (or tell) everyone that one of the important things to remember about FireWire versus USB is that USB *requires* a host (i.e. a computer) to run…FireWire doesnt – its completely peer-to-peer. So as far as feeling awkward "rockin' out" with the FireWire guitar, you woulndt, cause you wouldnt neccessarily need to to be tethered to a computer…..unless of course you wanted to be. With FireWire, you can go directly to any/all of the many available audio mixers, boards, effects boxes, etc.

  • Guest

    can you do a violin like this, my folks are asleep when I have an hour to practice. Just a kit with a good mike and a F/W link will do.

  • Guest

    what effects are there that the Firewire guitar can directly plug into?

  • Guest

    Looks like a sweet setup. I wonder if they are going to do this with other string instruments.

  • Wayne Masters

    An interesting design but light/sound futuristic 'moving LED music/display play assist accessories' all missing on the above discussed guitar.

  • ArcadioElectricVioli

    I have Yamaha Electric Violin . Can you make converter MIDI pick-up or can you do system for my violin like this????



  • Gio

    Hi there! well there is a new USB guitar Behringer iAXE393. Has anybody tested that one? Apart from this I would like to adress a VERY IMPORTANT question to every one in this site. I find it very interesting that the USB system can "understand" or "receive" each string seperately, so that it recognizes which string i am striking when i use a notation software eg. Sibelius. We could either call it "different outputs for each string". Some old midi guitars use to offer this multiple output facility. Does anybody know Which USB guitar brands offer that type of multiple outputs? Any answer is welcome. Thanx

  • ed Black

    Visit Rolf's web site. It's in German, but he shows the guitar and how it's made. It seems to be available with a 13 pin out – for midi?

  • anon.


    just noticed you'd been speculating on what you could do with seperate channels, well you could just cut off certain strings completely, temporarily.

    this would mean no being super cxareful not to hit thewrong strings and no more ugly sounding chords when you fail.

    Anyways if you wanna see something great

    check out the line6 variax guitar, it is amasing.

  • Vitor

    Hi everybody!

    Very interesting this guitar with their creative design very unusual and exotic, but not beautiful to me.

    I adore guitars. I have one red solid electric guitar with 2 Schaller pickups, made by my self on 60´s when I was very young. I have 63.

    In internet sites you can find some electronic cheap interfaces to connect any electronic musical instrument with a PC through the USB, but I think is needed specific software or a sequencer to work well.

    There are systems to produce sinthesized sounds with pads, without any kind of strings on the instrument. You can see some video-clips about this in You Tube.

    Hugs from your portuguese friend VTR.

  • Chris Benz

    I saw Steve Winwood in concert last year, and he had Jose Neto playing leads on one of Rolf Spuler's guitars. Very versatile instrument, worked beautifully on stage for everything from mellow acoustic to heavy overdrive and effects. It's got two extra frets and a built-in capo on the low E to allow for an easy dropped E tuning. It's alos got an octaver on the low strings so you can accompany yourself on bass!

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  • Bert

    About one month ago I had the opportunity to buy a secondhand nylonstring Paradis guitar. I am rather a rock guitarplayer, but since I bought this guitar I did not touched any of my great Gibsons, Fenders or PRS's. This guitar is really super : the sound is heaven, sustain is almost endless and the polybass is marvellous. Some people pretend that their drinks do give you wings, I did try these beverages but it never worked ( maybe it's got to do with my weight ), but the Paradis guitar does give my play wings.

    Although my guitar does have the Midi output and not the Firewire, the possibilities are endless.

    I can only say : Rolf Spuler is more than a good guitar builder, he's an artist with a very big twist of genuis inventivity. Just look at the dropped D possibility on the sixt string. It's amazing how many innovations you can find on this guitar.

    Oh, and for those who don't like the design, just hold it in your hands and you'll feel that the guitar is just perfect balanced with your body. On every occasion where I used this guitar everybody loved the design and admired the sounds, I got so many questions and possitive comments from professional and amateur players who adored all the bits and pieces. As a matter of fact I did asked Rolf to make me a second one !

  • George Henry 3rd

    The "NEW" firewire connections have changed this will need an adapter which is not recommended. Be careful and make sure if your buying this that it matches up with the newer computers firewire connection.

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