Devil & Sons’ iCaster, though, is a different beast altogether. Yes, for all intents and purposes, it's just another Stratocaster-style replica, but it does include one hefty twist: it’s got an Apple iPad stuck right in its center.
Built by Daniel Wallis, the iPad was originally considered as a cosmetic addition to the spec sheet – the possibility for custom digital pickguards here is quite literally endless – though the iCaster soon developed into something far more intelligent, becoming a one-stop shop for recording, learning and more.
iPad aside, it’s a straightforward build. A Tulip poplar body with satin black lacquer finish is complemented by a maple neck and Indian rosewood fretboard, with the iCaster flaunting a 25.5” scale length, 12” fretboard radius and a top-loading hardtail bridge with roller saddles.
That’s where the normalcy ends, though. The statement piece of the guitar is, of course, the central iPad, which turns this humble Strat copy into a guitar from the future.
Though you can’t see any pickups, three piezos are lurking within the depths of the iCaster’s construction: one is underneath the bridge, while the other two are situated below the iPad and neck.
As for what the iCaster can do, and why it’s a particularly neat development in the field of guitar design, it effectively combines the fields of 21st century technology with the humble guitar – something that is becoming increasingly common in this day and age. Take the Lava Music Smart guitar, for instance.
In practice, thanks to its Wi-Fi powers, the iCaster can connect to Boss’ Katana guitar amps and other smart speakers, meaning it can stream music or videos for the user to play along to with full-amp tones during their practice and learning sessions.
At the moment, that’s about the extent of what the first-generation iCaster can do, but the instrument’s potential leaves the door open for some even better applications in the future. These include the use of Wi-Fi to manipulate floor-based stompboxes direct from the iPad’s screen while playing.
Wallis has even speculated that future iterations of the guitar could be compatible with interfaces such as iRig, and could bring further technological advances directly to the fretboard.
“I very much look forward to seeing what creative directions this instrument can go in once it gets into the hands of musicians and performers,” Wallis said. “My hope is that the prototype goes to an imaginative player who can suggest improvements for future iterations and that customers that place orders can have each model tweaked to their preference, from changing the body to shape to incorporating interfaces such as the iRig.”
The guitar itself was submitted by Wallis for entry into 2022’s Great Guitar Build Off, and is currently being raffled off for just £3 per ticket as part of the Great Guitar Giveaway.
At a glance, it also bears a striking resemblance to Matt Bellamy’s Manson MB-1, which comes loaded with a similar-looking Fernandes Sustainer unit that gives the Muse man access to a range of touchscreen-enabled sonic manipulation powers.
While it remains to be seen if a similar app can be built for the iPad and thus used in partnership with the iCaster, it’s yet more evidence that touchscreen devices and electric guitars could have a pretty interesting future together.