Radiohead strummer tests radical redesign of electric guitar

By Stuart McDill
LONDON (Reuters) - British band Radiohead's rhythm guitarist Ed O'Brien has put a radical redesign of the electric guitar through its paces.
The Circle Guitar has a rotating disc that can be equipped with picks for strumming the strings, so the guitarist can experiment with new sounds with one hand.
O'Brien described the instrument as one of those he "longed" for.
"It's really like learning a new language," O'Brien told Reuters during a meeting at The Church Studios in London. "I want to spend a lot of time on it ... I think it's extraordinary."
The spinning wheel can spin at up to 250 rpm and allows the musician to program various rhythmic patterns with magnetic picks that fit into 128 slots in the disc.
Designed by designer Anthony Dickens, it was inspired by the search for new sounds.
"It's not really a guitar, to be honest. It's a different type of instrument," Dickens said. "It's like with Frankenstein's cousin."
The guitar can be synchronized with a computer, a drum machine or a digital interface.
"I like electronic music and drum machines," said Dickens. "So when you make the organic, beautiful sound of a guitar so precisely, it creates a different feel and mood to the music."
There are plans to produce two versions of the Circle Guitar: one with a single edition for the classic rock guitarist and one with each string being a separate edition for record producers such as Oscar and Grammy award winner Paul Epworth.
"I think the Circle Guitar is an incredible innovation that really challenges how to play an instrument," said Epworth.
"It's really a league of its own."
Two years in development, Dickens said he hoped to begin commercial production of the Circle Guitar next year.

(Adaptation by Mike Collett-White)

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