Electric guitars that have MIDI control cooked in aren't exactly a new idea, as evidenced by the now up for pre-order Expressiv Infinity Guitar. Heck, even acoustic guitars are muscling into MIDI territory courtesy of the upcoming ACPAD controller. But controlling effects by waving a hand in front of a laser isn't something you see every day. That's precisely what's on offer with one of the three new hand-made Drop guitars from Lithuania's Lava.
The work of craft guitar builder Rapolas Gražys, the Lava Drop x is fashioned from a single piece of Merbau wood edged in aluminum. The 25.5-inch scale neck has 24 jumbo frets and inlays made from hardened volcanic lava, and ends in a rather odd-looking scooped head.
The body is home to a wood-covered single Lace Deathbucker at the bridge, which can be operated in single or humbucker modes, and an interface box that offers USB connection to a computer, MIDI DIN out for hooking up hardware, CV out for synth control, an instrument out jack, seven or nine pin XLR in and out ports and an input for the power supply.
When connected to a computer running music production software, the player can alter the tones or pitch, or fire MIDI sounds, by moving a hand in front of a laser positioned to the top and back of the instrument and activated using a button behind the pickup toggle switch. Gražys confirmed that fans needn't worry about the laser beam causing eye injury, telling us that the "laser point is ending exactly at the end of the guitar neck," though he does advise players not to look directly into the light.
You can see the Drop x in action in the short demo video below.
The other two guitars in the Drop line are the Drop - and the Drop +. The Drop - has something of a travel guitar look to it, sporting a one piece Sapele wood body and 25.8-inch scale neck. The latter is topped by a fretless ebony fingerboard, and pickups shape up in the form of a pair of Lace Alumitone humbuckers with coil tap.
The Drop + has the fullest body shape and, again, the body and neck is made from a single piece of wood (this time American maple) with a 24 fret ebony fingerboard. It has the same pickups as the minus model and boasts a Schaller tremolo bridge.
To get his hand-made guitars into the hands of players, Gražys has launched on Kickstarter. Pledges start at US$2,100 for a Lava Drop -, rise to $2,300 for a Drop +, and top out at $3,290 for the Drop x. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in December. You can see the pitch video for the Drop Series guitars below.