The Gizmotron is not a synthesier and even not an electronic instrument, but for me it has quite some nostalgic memories. I remember about the introduction of the Gizmotron by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley and the exhausting use of this instrument on the album ‘Consequences’, which -by the way- is a very special masterpiece. I had it on vinyl originally (the black box with golden lettering) and now I am the happy owner of the japanese import double CD.
I would like to expand this page with experiences and opinions by our readers. So if you have anything to share, please do so.
The original Gizmotron
Originally invented in the mid-1970’s by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley of 10cc, the Gizmotron® was poised to revolutionize the guitar world with its promise of infinite sustain and the ability to create “authentic sounds of such stringed instruments as violins, violas and cellos”.
Kevin Godley writes about the Gizmotron: “Strictly speaking this isn’t one of my projects anymore. But it’s come back to haunt me and, as it turns out, in a good way. A bit of history… In 1977 Lol Creme and I released a triple album box set called consequences to explore the potential of a device we’d invented years earlier called the Gizmo It was a mechanical unit that straddled the bridge of an electric guitar and bowed the strings to simulate violin, viola, cello and contra bass. Unfortunately the technology and physical materials of the day weren’t resilient enough to engineer a reliable product and the Gizmotron, as it was dubbed when brought to market in 1979, quickly faded from view (as did the album). Oh, it surfaced occasionally over the years, on the odd track by some big names, sonic experimentalists and fans of arcane guitar effects but, at the time, it was a double whammy kick in the balls for us, so we reluctantly let it go – we had to. The GIZMO represented an extensive period of intense work and faith with negligible critical or commercial rewards, so we moved on, let the patents expire and closed the door on that chapter of our lives. But everything comes full circle…”
Kevin continues: “In 2004, this long-forgotten device caught the attention of Aaron Kipness, who developed and manufactured restoration parts for the legendary Hohner Clavinet. In the nearly decade – long search that followed, he managed to obtain a small collection of original units, all of them in various states of disrepair and, in 2013, assembled a small team of engineers to restore, reverse engineer, and ultimately design a new and improved version using modern materials and manufacturing methods. Using original patent drawings and the units in his collection as a reference, Aaron and his engineering team solved long – standing design problems with the original Gizmotron and several Patent-Pending innovations were made to the device to improve its sound, functionality and reliability. The end result is the Gizmotron® 2.0, a device which challenges guitar and bass players everywhere to re-imagine and re – define their place in the stringed instrument world.
Distribution and advertisements
As of 1979 the Gizmotron was promoted in different countries. I have a pile of old magazines, such as the Dutch Music Maker magazine. From 1980 the Gizmotron was distributed in the Netherlands by Alberto de Hond.
The Gizmotron 2.0
After years of development and great investment, the company originally licensed to manufacture the commercial version of the Gizmotron released the product to the public in 1979. Poorly engineered, unreliable, and suffering from various manufacturing problems, the Gizmotron did not live up to expectations and became an infamous commercial failure. After bankrupting the company, the Gizmotron disappeared into obscurity. The few remaining Gizmotrons sold to the public either fell into disrepair or were discarded.
In 2004, this long-forgotten device caught the attention of Aaron Kipness, who developed and manufactured restoration parts for the legendary Hohner Clavinet. In the nearly decade-long search that followed, Aaron managed to obtain a small collection of original Gizmotrons, all of them in various states of disrepair.
In 2013, Aaron assembled a small team of engineers to restore, reverse engineer, and ultimately design a new and improved version of the Gizmotron using modern materials and manufacturing methods.
Using original patent drawings and the units in Aaron’s collection as a reference, Aaron and his engineering team solved long-standing design problems with the original Gizmotron. Several innovations were made to the device to improve its sound, functionality and reliability. The end result is the Gizmotron® 2.0, a device which challenges guitar and bass players everywhere to re-imagine and re-define their place in the stringed instrument world.
The Gizmotron® 2.0 (US PATENT 9,997,144) delivers on the promises of long ago, offering guitar and bass players endless sustain, organic violin and cello sounds, and the ability to bow polyphonic chord arrangements. Being an entirely mechanical device, the Gizmotron® 2.0 offers nuanced touch-sensitive playing, where by applying pressure its rotating wheels, the player can control the timbre, attack and sustain of each note or chord.
Kevin Godley, co-inventor of the original Gizmotron®, fully supports our efforts to bring the Gizmotron back, and we are truly grateful for his blessing.
The Gizmotron® 2.0 was released on February 3rd, 2016, and is available directly from Gizmotron.com and from authorized dealers worldwide.