Skip to main content

Who Needs Knobs? New Electrick Spray Can Make Your Guitar Touch Sensitive

(Image credit: Electrick)

If you're like me, you spend your days and nights dreaming about a space-age spray that can coat pretty much any object and turn it into a gigantic touch screen. Well, our dreaming days are over!

Three forward-thinking gents—Yang Zhang, Gierad Laput and Chris Hanson—have been working on a new touch-sensitive spray called Electrick, which essentially eliminates the need for knobs. This, of course, includes the knobs on your guitar or bass.

As Zhang puts it, the spray is a “versatile sensing technique that enables touch input on a wide variety of objects and surfaces, whether small or large, flat or irregular. This is achieved by using electric field tomography in concert with an electrically conductive material, which can be easily and cheaply added to objects and surfaces through a variety of fabrication methods such as painting, 3D printing, injection molding, etc.”

As demonstrated in the video below, Electrick could allow guitarists to control almost any parameter on their instrument with a mere flick of a finger. If you want to change your volume or tone, just touch the guitar. This also works for whammy-type—and other—effects.

If you're interested in all aspects of Electrick, be sure to watch the entire clip below. If you want to skip right to the guitar section, jump to 4:08.

For more information and photos, step right this way.

Damian Fanelli

Damian is editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine. From 1998 to 2014, he was one third of Mister Neutron, an instrumental rock act that toured the universe and elsewhere and released three albums via Austin-based Deep Eddy Records. These days he performs with several New York City-area bands and can often be spotted with one of his many, many, many B-bender-equipped guitars. In past lives he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor – and he still can’t believe he got to write the liner notes for the latest SRV box set.