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Octavator & Pikasso


Hybrid keyboard/stringed audio visual instrument by artist and musician Ken Butler. The keyboard activates the lamps of six slide projectors (aimed at the same area of the screen) creating live animation along with perfectly synchronized sound from an amplified string (located under the keys), the extended end which is struck with a stick, bowed, or strummed by a motorized disc, rimmed with guitar picks. A single key advances all six projectors to a new group of slides. Additional strings and resonant surfaces provide other sounds.


pikassoFour necks. Two sound holes. 42 strings. Two access doors; one on the upper player`s side and one at the tail block.

Created by luthier Linda Manzer for guitarist Pat Metheny, the instrument took 2 years to build (approximately 1000 hours), and when the 42 strings are strung up to high tension, the Pikasso is under approximately 1000 lbs pressure. It weighs 6.7 kg or 14 3/4 lbs.

The body is tapered so that the side closest to the player is thinner than the side that rests on the players knee, thus leaning the top back towards the player for a more aerial view. This is also more comfortable under the player`s arm. The instrument is outfitted with a complete state of the art piezo pickup system. (Designed and installed by Mark Herbert, Boston) This included a hexaphonic pickup on the 6 string section that allowed Metheny to access his Syclavier computer system thus triggering any sound including sampled sounds. Two mounting holes on the treble side (knee side) so that the guitar can be mounted on internal brass insets attaching to a stand, leaving hands free for playing or viewing.

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