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Ziv bar Ilan, founder/designer of Zoybar, has created a “modular hardware platform” for creating custom electric instruments and effects. The fruits of these labors: an insane cross-breeding experiment combining a Korg KAOSS Pad KP3 with an electric guitar. The results look like something the evil supergeek in an 80s movie would play. “So, Todd, you think you and your puny Goody and the Goody Two-Shoes can defeat me, Brad, in the Battle of the Bands Saturday? Ha! You haven’t seen my secret weapon, the Kaossitar. My band, The Black Death, will be unbeatable – and the babilicious Mindy is totally mine! Now, where’d I put my Power Glove…”

Okay, getting a bit off-topic here. The big news is, Zoybar is a whole platform for creating your own superguitars. Here’s what the creator had to tell CDM about his vision – and there’s yet another contest in it, too:

Zoybar is a modular hardware platform for creating custom electric string instruments and effects.
The basic Zoybar kits enable you to assemble a variety of electric string instruments that could be mounted with different sound effects.

You can learn more about the project at my blog post

I was inspired [by] the open source movement. In the virtual world of software production, every individual programmer can be a powerful autonomous production unit (provided with a web connection and a computer) whereas in the physical world materials, energy, production lines, storage and marketing takes much more time, money and risks to become a reality.

The Zoybar components provide research and development tools as a sustainable, playable prototype platform.

The same modular parts can be assembled as different instruments, can be change during the performance and also be mounted with numerous special effects, just by adding and changing their position across the profile groves.

My vision is to found an open music instruments hardware community. Every new effect or feature that would be created by an independent developer could become relevant to the whole Zoybar users and community.

Almost any application can be easily attached to the Zoybar platform, just by adding and changing its position across the profile groves with common bolts and screws.

One last thing – we are giving Three First Edition Zoybar Hardware Kits.

The project is scheduled to be launched at December 2008 with a contest for music instruments and sound effect developers. Entrants shall submit a video clip performance of their new instrument to demonstrate its musicality, design, and engineering features. Performances may include new self made sound effects, synthesizer or electronic instruments.

Three First Edition Zoybar Hardware Kits will be given to the three videos with the highest number of views received through the video interaction at

So, modular builders, let us know what you make of the site, and if there’s useful stuff there for you. We’ll be watching.

  • Wow… Can't decide if that's ridiculous or ridiculously cool!

  • Darren Landrum

    I like the basic idea. It's along the lines of grid-beam construction and the Arduino. If anything else, it's given me a few ideas. 🙂

  • m@

    Blecchh. What a meatball sundae.

  • m@:
    That sounds delicious. 😉

  • This is pretty cool, actually.

    I've know about this project since its very beginning. Ziv was in my class year in the design academy we graduated from. he developed this the last three years.

    I'm not a guitarist myself, but some aspects of Ziv's design are truly cool, not just in the 80's cheesy battle-of-the-bands-get-the-girl-movie sense of the word.

    what Ziv has basicly done here is to democratize the custom built guitar. what you can't see from the video is the fact that the guitars (or any string based instrument) are built from relatively simple building blocks, and most of the really hard stuff Ziv has already taken care of with the modules he offers.

    the flexibility this gives guitarists, to shape and design their own guitars, is something that was never really an option for most guitarists.

    It's one of those things that you can see a potential – but in the end it will be up to the users themselves to come up with something that will truly blow your mind.

  • Just learn to play keyboards. Buy a Korg M3. Resistance is futile.

  • K

    Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy has been using guitars with integrated KP's (as well as phasers, fuzzboxes and other odd stuff) for a while now.

  • One unfortunate thing in developing musical instruments is that, once you make something, you have to learn how to play it, just like picking up your first instrument. Another unfortunate thing is that, if your proof of concept isn't miraculous, people tend to discredit it. To slight something you've never seen/played based upon an eager 2 minute video is like throwing away a gift because you don't like the wrapping paper.

  • vinayk

    That's sorta cool – what sort of price we talking? I don't know if it will beat my dream godin guitar?

  • I'm a keyboard and guitar player, but had never been that interested in the guitar as a synthesizer, or having it perform like a keyboard… however, I do like the idea of a modular guitar in this context… one can gradually, or radically explore other forms of expression without losing any of the gestural techniques…. I find this entire concept impressive and the engineering associated with it kind of mind-blowing!

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  • m@

    Yes, I relent… This is damn cool. How much?

  • Look, listen, and explore music and musical instruments that aren't part of the mainstream. Showcasing unusual musical creations and sounds of unique artists and artisans from around the globe. From gourd music to electronic odysseys, harp guitars to industrial insects, from beautiful, to bizarre, to just plain wacky. New, unique innovations, along with heavily modified hybrids of instruments once formally known as guitars, basses, keyboards, drums, wind and stringed instruments.

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