The Moog E1-M guitar has a lot to answer for in these grim economic times, as it has just added Matt Bellamy to the dole queue.
Yes, somehow understanding what every MIDI player has secretly craved for infinity-billion years, the Moog magicians have taken it upon themselves to upgrade the Moog guitar into a particularly interesting beast, adding a huge amount of extra functionality.
The searing, square-wave tones are still there and loveable as ever, allowing guitarists to oscillate to their heart’s content, while still providing powerful ‘classic’ tone thanks to the custom-designed and lovingly-researched pickups.
The thing was, the original Moog guitar – which won awards last year - was something of a pricey purchase, and at the time the notable omission was MIDI. Considering the beauty of the idea, it seemed a shame not to add some serious digital manipulation.
Now with the E1-M, a newly-installed hex output on the guitar – which has a similar design to its predecessor – allows you to communicate directly with the all the latest MIDI converters and virtual guitar systems (Roland, Axon et al).
With that addition, coupled with a MIDI volume control, patch selector and a toggle to trigger the output, the infinite possibilities of the Moog E1-M are opened up. What’s particularly special is that, while there are other guitars like this out there, this baby is also packing a sustainer. A video on Moog’s website shows you the results when using a Little Phatty, triggering an unending arpeggio while the smug-enough guitarist starts to form chord shapes with fantastic results. Results, in fact, that the aforementioned Muse maestro would be proud of.
Some will argue that the price is just too much to ask, regardless of the innovation. Others – especially ‘traditional’ guitarists – will balk at the capabilities and put them down to gimmick. But actually, there’s something very right feeling here. Moog is thinking like Moog, and applying that train of thought to the axe. It allows the sound-savvy guitarist to create soundscapes previously unapproachable by one musician.
In fact, considering the guitar pickups and MIDI signal are leaving through two separate outputs, I would be completely unsurprised if those players currently wielding loopers and modulation-heavy pedal boards hadn’t just dropped their coffees.
It won’t be for everyone, then, but those with the money to spare and an obsession of all things oscillatory may well have just been given the justification they need to pay for this little beauty. On that note, it looks gorgeous too, and is an incredibly playable instrument. Maybe Matt Bellamy is safe for now, but it won’t be long before space rock rules the airwaves if the Moog E1-M is anything to go by.