Look on my Keytar, ye mighty, and despair!

The Williams Keytar was shown at NAMM in January, but it's taken them a while to get the Keytar Inc website up. It's a huge triangular 12-string semi-acoustic guitar with no neck or fingerboard - instead, there's a one-octave piano keyboard which somehow mutes the strings (I can't quite see how it operates - the keys might just push down open-tuning barre chords). There are real audio clips on the site which are... well, I wouldn't want to spoil you the experience of listening yourself. Vinson Williams is the president of Keytar Inc. His previous business enterprises include a rocket belt company in the mid '90s (it was a rival spin off from the ill-fated RB2000 project). Keytar Inc. have just opened a 10,444-square-foot factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which will be able to produce 200 keytars a day, selling at $999 each. (thanks, Derek)
UPDATE: Cynical readers cite prior art.

you made it all the way through that story without deploying this ace link?

Wow. I liked that instrument the first time in the 70's, when it was called the AUTOHARP
this is hilarious. the guy has just re-invented the "bulbul tarang" in use as an indian 'toy' since god knows when and charging $999 for the privilige...
plus, the quote that it's for people who want to be able to play a guitar NOW - surely you still have to learn how to play piano chords? and with your left hand which is actually harder in some instances...
credit where it's due though - the guy performing the demos can play all those different styles - jazz and heavy metal?? genius ;-)
You know, I "played" this thing at NAMM. About 7 seconds of intrigue before I realised this thing would be much better served with 4 more octaves of keys and the name "Clavinet" on it.
Seriously. As a key'board' this would be really interesting. As it is right now, it's a way overpriced toy.
On the bright side, if they start making 200 a day, and it's a while before they go under, there should be a bunch of them in a year or two for $99, at which point I would buy one.
Hate to sound so pessimistic, but I've spent a lot of time in "e hall" at NAMM over the years, I've seen few move upstairs. This is another half-thought-through device that has very little actual market, and I hate seeing money and intellectual resources from obviously creative folks go into stuff like this.
Those audio clips are priceless...
It's too pricey, and looks kinda dumb, but might be useful in public playing (busking / begging) situations, where, because of laws against amplified music, busker keyboardists are often limited to autoharps and accordions (unless they want to drag a piano in).

Crazy. Don't sound all that great by the samples, and their site really doesn't show how it's really played: strummed, or is it a hammer-on machine like the Clav?
I thought you'd like that!

Sounds like it is definately strummed or picked and it sounds AWFUL! Especially that "funk" track. That is anti-funk. How could anyone think this limited, nonversatile gimmick is a good idea? Just play the fucking guitar.
It is more like a piano than an autoharp in that the autoharp mutes strings not in a chord, while this 'removes' the mute This keytar, like a piano does before the hammer strikes a string, lifts a mute from the corresponding string. Instead of a hammer, you strum. Each string is either on or off. Each triad you play has nine dead notes in it, hence that washboard sound

Yeah, I might drop a hundred for one. maybe two hundred if it had autosustaining ebow type pickups. Neither a keyboard or a guitar.
It sounds terrible. It's also very non-versatile, and seems to be rather difficult to play. Listen to all of the mistakes on the audio samples! Ridiculous. How does someone just blow away their money by building a factory for these?
Not to mention that the jagoffs are completely disgracing the name "KEYTAR". THAT'S NOT A KEYTAR!


Honestly, I think the Williams Keytar is the TRUE KEYTAR. I understand the word Keytar to be a combination of a keyboard and a guitar. The Williams Keytar is a combination of both a keyboard with keys and a guitar with strings. The previous keytars that were invented before the Williams Keytar are only a portable keyboard in the shape of a guitar. The previous Keytars look like a toy that a kid would play. The Williams Keytar looks like a real insturment. The sound is awesone!!! I met Mr. Williams at NAMM and he is really a nice guy. Mr. Williams is getting great reviews for the Keytar by some big names. I think you are all just intimidated by the Williams Keytar. Have you tried to play it or are you intimidated by it??? I think you are going to be left in the dust... The Williams Keytar is going to be a big hit, I already know 5 people that have one including myself. It is easy to play and is very innovative. Sorry you guys are so intimidated by this mastermind invention.
Oh, puh-lease! That thing is a complete joke. 200 of them a day? What's that? 20 per hour in a 10 hour day? One every 3 minutes? And for $999?
And I have to reply to the previous post: intimidated? mastermind invention? You are on CRACK.
To say this thing sucks, would insult all the gear that just sucks. This is more of the level of black hole suck! If they make 200 a day, they'll be able to make all the units they will ever sell in about 40 minutes.
This is as sad as the people in the Renaissance Faire.
I'd way rather have a Hohner keyboard sitar than this over-hyped ugly-ass thing!
hello haters,
my name is Lurch, first I will adress sean elliot, Sean did your parents have any children that lived? and to anonymous,Rob ,Brando
Did your parents not hold you enough.With my shots out of the way ,The TAR is outstanding in every way and anybody that tells you anything different aint nothing but a damn liar.
is that the home of that guitar/keyboard deal or is that fort smith,cause i looked up moffett oklamoma on the computer pretty rough spot SEAN ELLIOT,and did "your mom" have any children that lived,is lurch "your DADDY"help us out sean
I saw a handful of guitars that work on the exact same principle... in the Victoria & Albert museum, in glass cases, cuz that's some old, has-been, ancient history stuff there.
The Williams keytar is not a bulbul tarang, which is much more limited in its tunings--the tarang only plays single notes with drone accompaniment. The Williams Keytar is not an autoharp, either. With an autoharp, you can only select predefined chords to play (usually 15-21 chords), while the Williams Keytar lets you finger any conceivable chord or tone cluster. The WK also lets you pick out individual notes or melodies much easier than the autoharp. Also, it's only been very recently that solid body electric autoharps have become available--they've usually been acoustic folk instruments.
Now the autoharp DOES give you more strings, and thus could put out more sound, while the WK seems to be limited to one key to one string.
I've long wanted to take an autoharp and change the chordbars to keybars like the WK, and I'm surprised more people don't see the value or innovation in freeing up the chord/melody limitations. Sure, you have to learn how to finger chords, but why should it be targeted to "beginning" musicians, instead of to more experienced musicians looking for a new playing style?
One thing I don't like about the WK is wearing it guitar-style. Yes, I understand the "coolness" factor in prancing around like a guitar player, but it still looks like it would be easier to play on a tabletop or stand rather than hanging around your neck.
I'm not sure that "keytar" is an appropriate name for it, either, but it does sound better than a "gitboard".
I also don't like the high price of the WK, but if I were to make a modified autoharp like I'm thinking about, it would be hard to do it cheaper. But if I'm really going for broke, I'd like to see an electronic version with midi, sort of like a Qchord with keys instead of chord buttons, and with sring triggers like Starr Labs' Ztar uses, instead of Suzuki's crappy "strumplate" (www.starrlabs.com). But that would probably be even more expensive than the WK!
It IS A CLAVINET! Trust me I was there when this brainiac (Mr. Williams) disassembled his clavinet and thought he invented something new. Then he ordered every old clav he could find and copied the parts in his machine shop and built them in a warehouse. If you take the outsides off of a clav it looks just like this.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Music Thing on Twitter
    follow MT on Twitter

    Music Thing Hits:
    Music Thing Heroes:
    Music Thing Friends:
    My music gear for sale
    DIY Modular Synth
    Matrix Synth
    Create Digital Music
    Analog Industries
    Boing Boing Gadgets
    London Video Production
    Wire to the Ear
    Palm Sounds
    Noise Addicts
    Retro Thing
    Analogue Haven
    Music Thing Massive
    About Music Thing:
    Send tips to Music Thing
    About this site
    Music Thing Massive
    RSS Feeds

    Problem with the ads?
    Please let me know