even if you have Having never picked up his namesake instrument, you probably know that Les Paul designed the first solid electric guitar. Surprisingly, Gibson, who built the guitar, feared that this radical new direction in instrument design would fail, not even showing a prototype to the public for years.
But the Gibson Les Paul was far from the first electric guitar. In 1931, the first commercially available electrically amplified stringed instrument was a simple all-metal cast aluminum lapped steel guitar nicknamed “the frying pan” – for which some Adolph Rickenbacker invented the electromagnetic pickup.
Now, 90 years later, Verso Musical Instruments founder and Kassel, Germany industrial designer Robin Stummvoll is going back to basics, seemingly taking inspiration from the humble beginnings of the electric guitar. Having no formal luthier training, Stummvoll decided to keep electric guitar parts to a minimum, thereby reducing the amount of material used to make each instrument.
“Allan Gittler made a guitar in the ’70s [held in the MoMA design collection] It’s basically just a steel rod with steel frets welded on it,” says Stummvoll. “It’s really the bare minimum required for a guitar, but it’s very complicated and expensive to make. So my approach is to be able to do this in a smaller shop but create a new perspective for the luthier. “
The body of the Cosmo is not a piece of wood, but a carefully bent powder-coated steel sheet. Not only does this ergonomic shape contain the circuitry needed to make the guitar work, it also allows for innovative ways to place the pickups, where the sensor captures the mechanical vibrations of the strings and converts them into electrical signals that can be amplified and played back by a speaker.
Pickups are usually attached to the body of the guitar, but where they are placed affects the tone of the sound produced. That’s why you’ll see multiple pickups in different locations like a Fender Stratocaster or Les Paul. Stummvoll makes his pickups movable, so they can be moved around and placed where the player chooses.
“It was a happy accident,” explains Stummvoll. “That wasn’t the intent.” Since the pickups are magnetic, they naturally clip themselves to the surface of the Cosmo’s metal body. Stummvoll recognized the potential benefits of this in terms of sound versatility as a feature. You can watch and listen to some YouTube demos of this changing voice.
“It’s got its own character and sound, a very warm and resonant tone with a lot of harmonic content, but it’s not weird or weird,” Stummvoll said. “I’d say it’s somewhere between electric and acoustic guitars. , because you have these additional overtones — but more of an electric guitar.”
In addition to the $1,781 (€1,710) Cosmo and the brand’s Gravis bass guitar, Stummvoll has now released his latest creation, the $1,935 (€1,860) midrange guitar Orbit. In addition to featuring Verso’s signature removable pickups, Stummvoll says the Orbit’s long 28.5-inch (720mm) scale allows the instrument to deliver precise and tough bass response in standard B-to-B or A-to-A tuning, while the added The length obviously brings a lot of support too.
Stummvoll also claims that the Orbit’s “natural vibrato is less pronounced than the Cosmo, which makes it more suitable for distorted sounds.” Metal lovers, take note.