Merging synthesized sounds with rocking riffs on a guitar might involve installing a MIDI pickup, or plugging into a stomp box or blending the two in post production. Now the UK's Lucem Custom Instruments has collaborated with Seattle's Tracktion Corporation for an interesting concept guitar that has a BioTek 2 synthesizer built in.

The Spirit Animal has a BioTek 2 software synth X/Y pad displayed on a 5 inch touchscreen mounted behind the hardtail bridge of the twin humbucker double-cut guitar, angled slightly up towards the player. The BioTek 2 is a virtual sampling and synthesis design playground that comes with over 500 patches created by Richard Devine and Christian Halten and would normally require a laptop running digital audio workstation software.

But the Lucem concept rocks a Raspberry Pi computer inside the hollowed out body to provide all of the processing power needed to support the synthesis engine, and you can actually see some of the electronics through the cutout that arches above the bridge.

Elsewhere, the guitar features a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays, chrome 3x3 tuners, a three-way pickup selector and five volume/tone dials.

The signal from both the cooked-in synth and the guitar's pickups can be blended using the pan pot and the whole shebang is output via the instrument jack to the front of the body. There are two ports on the bottom edge of the body, one is USB for charging the Li-ion battery and the other is Ethernet for connectivity/screen sharing.

The Spirit Animal is purely a concept design study at this stage and no further details have been revealed ahead of a NAMM 2019 debut later this week in Anaheim, California.

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