Blimey! It's the Sonar Axe MIDI Guitar

A year after he announced the Axe Synth, a guitar-shaped optical theremin, Tony Amendolare returns with the Sonar Axe - a $425 plastic and aluminium MIDI sonar theremin thing. You trigger percussion by tapping on the red eye (or maybe the green switch), and pick notes by moving your hands up and down the neck. I think Cary would love this. Disappointingly, the old school pocket calculator doesn't seem to be part of the deal.

Well I don't think from the mp3 demo that he will be selling many! Banal at best.
I think it has intersting possibilities.
looks like a pogostick that would be found on star trek... new star trek...
It's probably not the pinnacle of technical acheivement, but at least it's a unique instrument and not just another plugin. Not that I've anything against plugins, I just fear the day is coming when there is no more dedicated hardware... everything will be modeled in software.

If for no other reason, it deserves some credit for being fairly original, and maybe in the right hands, it's an inspirational instrument. It is much easier to make fun of it than it is to, oh, say, go make your OWN instrument...
I constantly build my own instruments, so I can make fun of it.
It doesn't have the benefit of novelity, this has been done in a similar form before and quite frankly I think that for a guy that used to make exquisite spanish guitars this is (in regard of the craftsmanship and musicality of the instrument)a HUGE step back! Not because it's electronic but because this is of very limited use. It's monophonic (except for the rythms) and quite slow judging by the sound sample.
+ you'll look really doofy should you have the courage to step on a stage with this project-box and pvc tube mostrosity.
Ha Ha .. From that demo I think his RX21 ( drum machine ) ... Just took a shit !!!

I'll get me coat ....
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Anonymous strikes back!

First some explanation on my own instruments I make. I build solidbody electric guitars ( ok I'm trying to be honest here so I admit that I buy the necks but the rest is my own work, even the pickups )and I am a circuit bender too. Quite like you Tony alltrough I do it just as a hobby.

And well if the sound sample you put online isn't representing your instrument as it truly is the why did you put it online? It doesn't sound like an instrument I would be willing to pay money for.

The use of sonar may be a novelty alltrough I guess "Music Thing Hero" Godfried has been there before, and even if its never been done , that doesn't make your instrument new, it plays pretty much like a bunch of other "boutique" midi controllers I have seen on the interweb using laser, or LDRs or other obscure gimmics to measure hand movement. A guitar made of titanium and carbonfibre is still just a guitar an isn't a novelity either. (allthrough I'd like to have one :) )

I'm not asking for a rosewood/koa body with super detailed gold inlays but the boxes you use are freaking stompbox casings with plastic tubes attached to them, and for 425$ you could come up with a nicer design or paint some flowers on them or so,sorry but it looks like a prototype fresh from my the workbench!

I never had any doubt about it being possible to play multitimbral, still i don't see how it can be truly polyphonic or can it play 2 different notes at the same time? It plays quite like a one string instrument doesn't it?

If this where a diy project it would get 2 tumbs up from me, but you are selling these for 425$, wich I admit is affordable, but for the same money I could buy me a nice epiphone les paul or japanese strat and would still have money to spend on a practice amp or a half-decent but not nearly as whacky travel size midicontroller keyboard.

I am very sorry if I offended you, I was merly posting my (maybe not so) humble opinion.

I am glad we don't live in the 18th century anymore, but if you still wich to challenge me to a duel I get the choice of weapons. So I choose my 4 string piccolo-bass versus your "PVC-axe of DOOM" :) (If I eventually finish that one that is.) (obviously a joke too)

Oh and by the way my name is David so you don't have to call me "anonymous" anymore.
I agree with an earlier anonymous who applauded this guy for offering something different.

The net seems to inspire some to ridicule and belittle all in the claim of "just sharing my opinion".
When you purchase something like this, you're not so much paying for what the maker can do as much as what they can't. I'm sure that the guy can't buy everything bulk, or have it made in China, and that he's his own R&D as well as manufacturing department. You can choose to support this, in spirit if not financially, or you can choose to belittle it, perhaps discouraging others to come forward with their ideas or continue with their work.
Let me be yet another anonymous to chip in. I actually found the audio sample to be interesting. And heck, so much of what we chose to buy makes no sense. In this case I like the idea of being able to play something on an instrument unlike all the others. Purely subjective!

I appreciate what people have been saying, I'm getting some interesting feedback.

They're will be more sound samples uploaded soon. The sound sample available now was just a very quick thing using only some of the SonarAxe's options.

Tony Amendolare
quote: " The net seems to inspire some to ridicule and belittle all in the claim of "just sharing my opinion". "

So according to you'r "opinion" people should only state theirs if they are positive and friendly? Why not make you the boss of the internet and let you delete everything you don't like to read?

I send you peace.

Here is another sample of the SonarAxe. The sound starts off normal but then morphs into something very different.

I am working on transforming the regular General Midi sounds that are standard in all of our midi equipment. The SonarAxe and the Lunar Station can "bend" these canned sounds.

Check out this quick mp3 I call "Space Ice":
Tony Amendolare

P.S. I had deleted some follow up comments I made earlier when I was trying to correct some statements I thought were very inaccurately made by someone who has never even played the SonarAxe. I deleted my comments because I didn't like how it sounded
and I realized it was futile.
Everyone has a right to say what they think. I make a lot of things, some very weird looking like the SonarAxe.

I appreciate the interest and feedback, positive or negative. This is a great Blog.

Though I applaud Tony for trying something new, I'm a little frustrated by this new Axe. Something without a fingerboard is inherently harder to play than something with one. I was considering buying his previous version, with a fingerboard, but was waiting to see a review anywhere (I couldn't find a single person on the internet who'd actually bought one). Then it was discontinued and replaced by this, which while cool is not as easily playable. To really make music and not just noise, playing discreet pitches and knowing where all the notes are instead of just sliding around till you find it, you would have to devote yourself to learning it, much like you would have to a Theremin.
I got mine and here are some early experiments in sound. One take. One track. No added effects.
There's nothing more inspiring, than my instrument embraced. Thanks.

The Sonar Axe is amazing to play and use live, it works great as a trigger for most stuff. The Sapce Axe on the other hand is really amazing, can't wait to see one with midi...
I own several Electrokraft products, and I suppose I did not learn a lesson after my first purchase. I'll be kind by simply stating, " Buyer Beware ".
I would like to respond to this, posted above:

"I own several Electrokraft products, and I suppose I did not learn a lesson after my first purchase. I'll be kind by simply stating, " Buyer Beware ".
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 8:14 PM"

You don't own anything I've made.

Posting anonymously, what a piece of shit coward you are.

Please post your name so I can know who you are.

If there was something I made that you happened to own I would say that that was a mistake on my part. You were not meant to touch anything that I MADE!

You coward!

Posted by:
Tony Amendolare
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