If you were a 10cc freak like I was back in the '70s, you probably followed every wacky and tuneful thing the band did, and one of the wackier escapades of 10cc members Lol Creme and Kevin Godley was the invention of the Gizmotron in 1973.
The mechanical device attached to the bridge of a guitar (a bass model was also produced), and deployed plastic wheels to drive the strings, producing — when working up to snuff — haunting bowed and sustained sounds. Jimmy Page used it on Led Zep's In Through the Out Door, as did other artists, such as Wings, the Church, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
But when Creme and Godley's creation was mass produced for public consumption in 1979 (one of the original ads is reproduced at top), it suffered from manufacturing inconsistencies and reliability issues, and the wonderfully bizarre mechanism died an inglorious death.
Fast forward to 2013, and a brilliant wacko named Aaron Kipness decides to do the Phoenix trick with the Gizmotron, rescues the concept, reverse-engineers the device, solves all the problems, and improves its overall quality. Now, the Guitar Gizmotron 2.0 ($449 direct) and Bass Gizmotron 2.0 ($439 direct) are just about ready to ship. For more information, visit the website.
Guess you can't keep a good wacky idea down...
(Guitar Player will review the Guitar Gizmotron 2.0 as soon as it's available.)
HEAR Gizmotron LLC founder Aaron Kipness demonstrate the Guitar Gizmotron 2.0: