The Gizmo Guitar

January 26th Celebrates The Gizmo Guitar

Today on Days to Remember we celebrate how on January 26th 1979, the Gizmo Guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.

When I think of gizmo, I think it’s something either Mickey mouse to work like an original.

However today gizmo of interest is about the Gizmo Guitar Synthesizer, which created different sound effect from this guitar.

The Gizmo, also called Gizmotron, is an effects device for the electric guitar and bass guitar, invented in 1973 by the English rock musicians Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, whilst they were members of the British rock group 10cc.

Clamped onto the bridge of a guitar, the Gizmo uses small, keyed plastic wheels inside which press down on the strings, yielding resonant, synthesizer-like sounds from each string.

Today’s YouTube video explains to you what Gizmo Guitar synthesizer was used for in creating fantastic tunes. Shared by user name (singslot42), in this wonderful demonstration as we celebrate on January 26th 1979, the Gizmo Guitar synthesizer was first demonstrated.

One of the faults with The Gizmo was that it was very temperamental, and affected by conditions such as humidity and temperature.

The design of the device used small serrated wheels to indefinitely sustain each string through friction.

An inherent design limitation was that either the wheel had to have either small teeth, which could also produce harmonics of their own that varied with the speed of the wheel, or a smooth surface, which acted as a secondary bridge for each string, thereby making the pitch of each string completely unpredictable.

Today, intact and working legacy Gizmotrons are virtually non-existent. The Gizmo wheels and arm attachments were made of a plastic that cracks and weakens over time.

As a result, the wheels and arms of all Gizmotrons become brittle, fall apart, and disintegrate into smaller pieces all by themselves even in “like new” unopened boxes.

Other guitar effects have since been used to create sustained tones, but because of the different mechanical nature and physics involved, none of them replicate the sound of the Gizmotron.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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