Gigging musicians will often lug around a number of electric guitars to play during a set, each offering up something different – whether that's a special tone, a favored feel or a preferred look. But what if you could change the shape, alter the tone or swap out the hardware on just the one guitar sitting onstage? That's the idea behind the Somnium Guitar, where the whole instrument is broken down into interchangeable modules that can be swapped out on a whim, no tools required.

Florida startup Somnium Guitars says that its system will allow players to change the guitar's tone, its body shape or hardware configuration in less than a minute without needing to break out the toolbox, soldering iron or even change the strings.

The company intends to offer complete instruments direct for its website, but will also offer individual US-made component modules for sale. The patented design is made up of a machined metal head and neck, onto which fingerboards of different woods can be installed, a main body module that's home to a removable pickup block that can be slotted in or out as needed, changing from single coil to humbucking pickups in a snap, and a number of different body wings.

The lower body module is home to prewired electronics, volume/tone knobs and pickup selection switch, and each module is designed to snap together to make a whole guitar. Body shapes displayed at Winter NAMM last week included Strat- and Tele-like guitars, and metallic V and Explorer creations. Somnium says that its guitars are also designed to accept off-the-shelf hardware such as tuners, pickups and bridges should players wish to go down a total modification route.

If Somnium manages to move beyond proof of concept music show demonstrations and gets its guitar system to market, and all works as advertised, we can see this reconfigurable instrument effort being very useful indeed. It will allow players to essentially change the look, feel and sound of a guitar inbetween songs, and the onstage modding of the instrument itself could prove to be quite the showstopper.

However, as of writing, we've no info on pricing or availability, and we've not heard what any of the snapped together guitars actually sound like. But, it's a neat idea and, with the company already looking for retail partners to help get the system into the marketplace, this is definitely one to watch.

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