Said to have been inspired by the sight of Steve Vai pulling away a whammy bar from his Ibanez guitar and whacking the strings for some odd solo madness, the Guitar Triller offers players a different way to attack a stringed instrument. It looks like something you might use to assemble flat-packed furniture, but can help bring a hammered dulcimer vibe to a bass guitar, give shredders some new ways to speed-pick or add some expressive tap and scrape power play to ukes.
The string-striking hammer is the brainchild of guitar player Alex Bodnar and Jeremy Legarda. It can be gripped loosely between the fingers for some percussive single or multiple tap hammering or pinched between thumb and finger like a pen and used like a pick.
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The tool can be used to sound all strings at once for hammered chords, be aimed at individual or double string targets or its flat edges used to sound and slide notes. Or a string basher can get creative and use combinations of different playing styles. It's reported easy to just pick up and play, but mastering the various striking and picking techniques will take time, patience and effort.
The 165 mm (6.5 in) long Guitar Triller is made from ABS plastic, with a shaped grip at one end and a 14 mm (0.5 in) wide lead hammer at the other. The hammer end is also home to a tap and slide surface and a picking tip, while a ridged chord basher runs the length of the tool. The current pre-production prototype tips the scales at 18 g (0.6 oz), but the creators are looking to add some kind of filler during manufacture to add a little more weight for a better feel and improved durability.
The project is currently seeking production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$15. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in March 2016. The short video below shows Bodnar demonstrating the Triller on an electric guitar.