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Gittler guitar (ca.1970-1985) exhibited at MIM PHX

A Gittler Guitar is an experimental designed guitar created by Allan Gittler (1928–2002).[1] 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.

History[edit]

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.

During this period, he also made a portable, battery-powered amplifier, cylindrical in shape, with a long handle that allowed it to be rolled around like a grass-seed-roller. Rolling was necessary to transport it through the street, since it was quite heavy due to the large number of D batteries that powered it. He frequently used this set-up to play his guitar in a street adjoining Astor Place in lower Manhattan, where the reverberation from the surrounding buildings amplified the sound.

The Gittler guitar has six 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.

References[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gittler_guitar — Please support Wikipedia.
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36 news items

CNET

CNET
Sun, 08 Mar 2015 22:49:56 -0700

Called Instrument 1, it's a little reminiscent of the minimalist Gittler guitar, consisting of a board that resembles the fretboard of an electric guitar, with six pressure- and velocity-sensitive ridges instead of strings, with a volume and mode knob ...
 
Gizmag
Tue, 22 Oct 2013 09:54:01 -0700

Back in January, the beautifully minimalist Gittler Guitar made its public debut at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. Little more than a long rod topped by 31 rounded frets with built-in electronics, the all-titanium guitar has now launched on ...

Geeky gadgets

The Verge
Mon, 14 Oct 2013 14:26:09 -0700

The creators of the Gittler Guitar don't necessarily believe there's something wrong with the way guitars are built today. But they insist there's room for improvement and seem confident they've found the right formula. "The guitar is due for another ...
 
Gizmag
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 12:46:37 -0700

He methodically stripped away all that he deemed unnecessary and redundant, and embarked on a minimalist instrument design adventure that resulted in the iconic Gittler guitar. Steel sitar or electric fishbone, the instrument had arguably its most ...
 
Sonic State
Sun, 27 Jan 2013 11:18:45 -0800

When it was announced toward the end of the last year that the Gittler guitar would be making a comeback, there was a great deal of buzz online. We spoke to a member of the Amped community who owns one of the original limited run guitars, and the ...
 
Audiofanzine
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 07:22:30 -0800

2 ans après l'annonce du retour de la Gittler Guitar, le fabricant annonce qu'il démarrera les expéditions des premiers modèles en janvier. Pour rappel, la Gittler Guitar est une guitare électrique en titane réduite à son strict essentiel (voyez cette ...

Gizmag

Gizmag
Mon, 22 Dec 2014 03:35:35 -0800

So what do you do if your solo performance set list includes compositions featuring parts for electric guitar, banjo and Dobro? You can either try to simplify the arrangement or attempt some exhausting quick change wizardry mid-song. When accomplished ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:56:03 -0700

The world's first all-titanium, futuristic-looking Gittler guitar was the brainchild of a musician and minimalist artist Alan Gittler back in the 1970s. Gittler's vision was to strip away individual elements of a functional guitar to find out what lay ...
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