What do you do if you can’t find an instrument that you can play the way you want? In the digital domain, you can just invent one.

So, when Brooklyn-based artist Nick Demopoulos wanted a controller that’d allow him to articulate digital instruments more like a guitar and less like a keyboard, he built his own expressive touch controller. It uses arrays of touch-sensing strips on a guitar body. A future version, he says, will incorporate 6 “strings” (touch strips).

New York-based literary/culture quarterly BOMB Magazine shot a video in which Nick walks through his creation.

Nick has also played our Handmade Music series in New York, at Culturefix. (See documentation of that event, from 2010.)

Videos of Nick playing:

Lots of stuff on SoundCloud, too; I enjoy the rhythms in this one:

Whispers in the Water by Nick Demopoulos


It occurs to me looking at this, too, that if you could improve the sensing accuracy and physical feedback from the touch strip, you could radically improve the instrument. It’s really the quality of these kinds of sensors that will have the biggest impact on future instruments – that is, the fundamental ideas about these controllers are out there, and now implementation means everything.

Thanks for sharing your work, Nick!