Rotorphon – An Electro-Acoustical Synthesizer

If you’ve ever struggled to learn how to play guitar and thought to yourself, “there must be another way” then you’ll be delighted by this guitar synthesiser project that creator Mike Utz recently shared to the Teensy forum.

Mike Utz, a Swiss sound engineer, has created this clever and unusual synthesizer that at heart is a guitar that actually plays itself. The synth uses a number of mechanical actuators attached to the body of a guitar driven by a Teensy 3.2. By combining analog and digital processes, Utz creates an interesting combination of sounds by way of producing vibrations against the guitar’s body.

Utz’s project, which he’s dubbed the “Rotorphon,” includes DC moving coils, servos, DC motors, and stepper motors that can be controlled using MIDI via USB. Below you can see the Rotorphon in action playing the theme to Knight Rider (a true test of musical excellence) or head over to Youtube to see it perform the theme from Super Mario or Kraftwerk’s Die Roboter. You can see more of Utz’s sound and engineering-focused projects on his website.