Friday, April 19, 2013

Gittler Guitar

A Gittler Guitar is an experimental designed guitar created by Allan Gittler (1928–2003). Gittler felt that sentimental design references to acoustic guitars are unnecessary in an electronically amplified guitar, and designed his instrument with the objective of reducing the electric guitar to the most minimal functional form possible. He made 60 guitars in New York in the mid 1970s to early 1980s (selling one to Andy Summers, which he plays in The Police's "Synchronicity II" video. In 1982, Gittler emigrated to Israel, settled in Hebron, changed his name to Avraham Bar Rashi, and licensed the design to a local company in Kiryat Bialik called Astron Engineer Enterprises LTD. They computer-machined around 300, Bar Rashi commented later to the effect that he was unhappy with the manufacturing. Astron, however, claims that their instruments are precisely manufactured copies of the original construction, and that the addition of a plastic body containing electronics for simplified handling, while arguably compromising the minimalism of the original idea, had no influence on the sound or the style of playing.
The first 60 are sometimes described as the Fishbone Gittler guitar. Three Gittler basses also exist, made in New York and numbered 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

The Gittler guitar has 6 strings. Each string has its own pickup. Later versions have a plastic body. The steel frets, consisting of stainless steel bars pressure fitted into the stainless steel neck, give the instrument a sitar-like feel, as it is possible to bend the strings downward past where a wooden fretboard would prohibit the movement in a conventional guitar. The six individual pickups can be routed to divided outputs via D-sub-9-pin. or be mixed to a 1/4" TS connector. The built in pre-amps are powered by a 9 V battery or via D-sub connector. The New York version came without a pre-amp section; the individual pickups' signals were led into single cables, which could then be plugged into a mixing box or each separately amplified.

The Museum of Modern Art, MOMA has one instrument in its collection, as does the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (which also has a later Bar Rashi wooden electric guitar). Gittler guitars can also be seen in several other museums and collections.

The only left-handed Gittler guitar known to exist was made by Bar Rashi himself in 1995 or 1996. It is a signed minimalist instrument, identical to the one he played in the later period of his life and made to order for a client in Jerusalem. There are only 12 separate parts in total and the frets are one long thread of nylon. This creates a unique sound.

Gittler Instruments is back! The most unique, revolutionary guitar of the 20th century is now a 21st century marvel.
The Gittler Guitar is a striking minimalist design incorporating rounded cylindrical and ergonomic features.  The guitar is manufactured entirely of 6AL-4V aircraft grade Titanium.

With only 60 models made during the 1980′s, the original guitar became a legendary and iconic symbol of think-forward design.  Allan Gittler, the creator of the instrument, was a visionary musician who aimed to dispel the common misconceptions embraced by guitar players since the 1930′s.  His goal, and ours, is to provide modern guitarists a foundation from which to build their personal tone. We at Gittler Instruments maintain that a musician should begin to develop his or her signature sound by starting with the purest signal, completely absent of coloration.  Just as a painter begins with a blank canvas, we believe each musical journey should begin with the bare principles of vibration and gain.

We all love the sound of a traditional electric guitar.
Wood, as a construction material, has been used for more than 75 years to create the classic electric tone that we’ve all become accustomed to. We at Gittler Instruments ask the question, “Why?”
Wood is an organic and resonant material that provides a natural compliment to the vibratory characteristics of a guitar string. We believe the sound that wood imparts is pleasing, but it is an inarguable fact that this is a coloration added to the signal. Like it or not, that guitar you purchased already has its own individual and very specific sonic fingerprint. Wood is typically described as having fundamentals and overtones but no two pieces of wood, even from the same species, will sound the same.
Too many variables contribute to the tone of the instrument. At Gittler Instruments, we endeavor to provide something revolutionary to the guitarist by taking all the commonly accepted notions of what a guitar “should” be and methodically stripping away all that is unnecessary and redundant. When Allan Gittler was asked in an interview, “When were you satisfied enough to seek a patent?” He replied, “When I found I could take nothing more off.”

Why Titanium?
The Titanium grade we chose is a high tensile strength, wrought alloy containing 6% Aluminum and 4% Vanadium. It is used in a great many high-tech applications ranging from aircraft turbine engines to bioinert surgical implants. It is also both extremely costly and notoriously difficult to machine. At Gittler Instruments we chose this material because we had to. Because in a no compromise approach to realizing our vision – it was the only choice.

Perhaps it was best said by President Kennedy in his 1962 speech in Houston, TX:
“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy – but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills. Because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one which we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win”
Titanium, despite its challenges, was a natural choice for us. Our special Grade 23 Titanium is a high purity version of 6AL-4V which demonstrates superior damage tolerance to other alloys and exhibits the highest ratio between strength and density of any metallic material. It has exceptional corrosion resistance and fatigue strength, while weighing 42% less than it’s original steel predecessor. Perhaps most importantly, this metastable alloy has a crystalline structure of close-packed hexagonal grains, which allows for optimum transfer of acoustic energy.

This dense, uniform grain structure explains why Titanium is a superior choice for musical instruments. Simply put, it allows the string energy to more easily transfer into the body of the instrument, resulting in far more sustain, resonance and clarity. The nuances of your playing can now take a more central role. You will find that better note definition and dynamics are slowly adding a new dimensional to your style.  

A Virtual Tool Box
The Gittler Guitar has a host of exciting features that were either unavailable or unrealized up until now. Imagine being able to pitch bend a string down between the frets or to play it up through 3 octaves of soaring heights. Imagine 6 individual pickups, each dedicated to it’s own string and sonically separated from the others. You would own a tool of the purest tone and the best available synth tracking on the market today if such a thing could be realized. Imagine all this and more in a guitar that is only 28″ long, weighs only 3 lbs and is made from virtually indestructible Titanium. Take these few small examples and hide them inside of a masterwork of industrial design and, all things considered, you would be holding the new Gittler Guitar in your hands. Welcome to the future…we’ve been waiting for you!

New Features:
  • Electronics box (Ebox)
  • 6 individual pickups of revolutionary design
  • Hexaphonic output capability
  • Patented locking string mechanism
  • Abrasion resistant Titanium construction
  • Active electronics and tone shaping circuit
  • LED fret marker lighting
  • Adjustable bridge
  • Strap anchor points and adjustable bout
  • Optional LOXX™ strap lock system
  • Deluxe version in gun-metal finish with Aerospace Teflon™ coating