There is something beautiful about the simplicity of an electric guitar. If they were invented today, electric guitars would probably use something needlessly complex like a laser sensor to pick up the vibrations of a string. Thankfully, the simple magnetic properties of a guitar pickup’s transducer have worked perfectly for several decades. However, some music calls for a mix of the old and new, which is the idea behind Lucem Custom Instruments’ Spirit Animal concept guitar.
The Spirit Animal is the result of a collaboration between Lucem Custom Instruments and synthesizer software developer Tracktion Corporation. It looks like any other elegant, dual-cutaway electric guitar, but with the addition of a 5" touchscreen module positioned right behind the hardtail bridge. That touchscreen is used to operate Tracktion’s BioTek 2 synthesizer software, and its output can be mixed with the pickups’ output to create complex music.
Essentially, this is an electric guitar with a built-in synthesizer. The pickups are standard humbuckers that we all know and love, and work as usual. If the player wants, they can play with just those like they would with a normal guitar. But, they also have the option to mix in the synthesizer that has the BioTek 2 software running on a Raspberry Pi fitted inside the hollow body. The two signals can be blended with a pan pot, so the musician can select and emphasize whichever signal they choose. It may not have the simple, timeless appeal of a standard electric guitar, but it’s a stunning merger of the old and new.