Cool Gear @ NAMM 2011: Kitara

The Kitara looks very familiar to anyone who has watched the original YouTube video of inventor Michael Zarimis rocking out on very early prototype of the device that is now being mass-produced. MISA Digital Instruments is boldly asserting that the Kitara is the the next major paradigm shift in guitars, and from what we saw at NAMM, we’re prepared to believe them. What’s interesting to DJs is why the Kitara might be a instrument that fits nicely into a DJ set for those looking to put more of a performance in their shows.

The Kitara is controllerism for guitars – everything that the Guitar Hero controllers should have been. While guitars have always had strings, the Kitara doesn’t – instead covering the fretboard with buttons and trading the area reserved for a sound hole or pickups for a multifunction touchscreen that allows the musician to effect the sound of the instrument in a number of ways in a similar feeling of operation as a Korg Kaoss Pad.
Here’s the official tech specifications list:

  • 8-inch multi-touch display
  • MIDI out
  • Audio out (1.25”)
  • Headphone out (3.5mm)
  • Onboard multi-voice audio synthesizer with assignable effects blocks
  • 100+ digital sounds
  • 6 pre-loaded effects
  • 24 frets; 144 notes
  • Linux operating system (yes, it’s really open-source)

If you’ve ever tried to work a electric guitar into a DJ set, you might have found that good results are hard to come by. If the DJ is able to overcome feedback and other technical problems then it becomes challenging to have a guitar tone sit into the mix of modern dance tracks, which tend to be are highly produced and very compressed. We think the Kitara might be a great tool to bring into the clubs for an truly epic performance that sounds nearly as good as it looks. For more information, check the Misa website!

best of NAMM 2011ControllerismDigitalDIY Midieffectsguitarinside guitarkaoss padkitaramidi guitarmisa digitalmisa digital instrumentsNAMM 2011
Comments (27)
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  • halfheard

    “Audio out (1.25”)”
    That is a mighty big hole 😛
    I think you meant Audio out (.25”)
    Dj halfheard

  • Sww1235

    daft punk definitely has to use one of these.

    also think about the guitar hero guitar ean was using in one of his sets on this website, now look at this…

  • djjackmeoff

    Badass! Kudos on the open source. Its a midi device. Technically you could hook it up to Traktor or Ableton and do as you wish. I bet Daft Punk will do something with this in there shows.

  • Djdannys

    Anyone who dj’s with this should have backup dancers. I understand “thinking outside the box” but this I’n a Dj set . To me takes away from music. And says . “look at me . I’m cool. And even an insult to guitar players. My opinion.

  • DJ Girish

    Nice one. Pretty expensive though.

  • Ean Golden

    Djing is evolving again in a performance direction (controllerism today and 15 years ago turntablism) so I personally think that any technology or performance tools that inspire us or break boundaries are very relevant even if they dont fit within the standard boundaries of what is normal for djing.

    quite frankly, breaking those boundaries has always been what made this site special so I have no intention changing that.

    keep in mind this instrument is a open source midi keyboard so you can map it to your software. Imagine cue point chords and effects triggers mapped all over the fret board.

  • Djdannys

    Waste of time for me., but I guess it’s cool. I open this site everyday for Dj tips and reviews not guitars and drums.

  • Directorate

    +1 for relevance, I read somewhere that it’s able to send a universal MIDI signal so on top of it’s own inbuilt ability’s who knows what you could do with it controlling something else!

    Need one in my life.

    • StrangeMatter

      Totally dude! This with Maschine or Ableton (or both!) would be a dynamite combination for both the booth AND the studio!

  • Penson

    I would definatly say this is relevant. I dj using a Kaoss Pad and a Terratec Axon Ax 100 Midi Guitar controller (for controllerist Glitch Hop sets)

    This is basically a combination of the two so could make for some fantastic looking preformance.

    I do however think that it wouldn’t work particularly well. If i was comparing it to the terratec I have it doesn’t seem to do anything more, plus the inclusion of actual strings on a midi guitar set up would be far more natural to guitarists.

    I don’t think the “string mode” would be even close to inteligent, but i can see the appeal of it as a lead synth for electronica bands.

  • Dj PC3

    Looks really cool, if did more electronica/house/dance music I could really get into that (bit of a steep price tag though)

  • Phil Morse

    That is truly excellent, as a guitarist rather than a keyboard player, that appeals so much to me. I would LOVE to incorporate that into my DJing. THAT’S what breaking free of two-decks-and-a-mixer is about to me. Brilliant.

    Imagine “playing” vocal samples on it! Mind-blowing.

  • RCUS

    holy crap you sound like a bunch of bratty kids! it’s ABSOLUTELY relevant to controllerism. DJTT covers controllerism if you haven’t noticed. That video was sick thanks for posting! Totally forgot to check that out at the show.

  • MichielyGil

    I agree with the complaint. There’s enough guitar-sites around on the internets. No dj in their right mind would walk around with a guitar “as a performance”-USP. I doubt if there’s need for this here…

  • wikkid1

    nah, the above poster prolly forgot to pick up his prozac this month… you gotta be on top your scripts man! although i do seem to recall that were supposed to get some sort of a ‘namm2011 best of’ article on monday, and, well, its Wednesday, so i could kinda see where hes coming from… i DID remember to get my scripts filled though.

    this isnt really a new concept they came up with, they did add the touch screen though. personally i see the touch screen being more of a hindrance then a benefit, a couple of faders/knobs/pads couldve served the same purpose while providing at least SOME tactile feedback. with the screen located as it is now, and the 144(!!!) buttons where they are, you would have to constantly switch your view from screen to buttons(assuming youre using the screen for more then single zone tapping.)

    i can see this become a set-up for those who are more into live performances then mixing. probably something that would be a cross of this kitara thing with the starr labs Ztar for the pots, and theres still room to add a few faders… and that could be a one piece controller for a live performer. but there is no reason to pick something like that over a decent keyboard.

    so yeah, another interesting concept, but a very very niche market that will most likely never end something you see more then once in a great while.

  • Yello

    enjoyable viewing and can see these things popping up in more live electronic shows….but some more articles on upcoming dj software would be appriciated

  • foobar

    That’s pretty cool from a gearhead perspective. I wouldn’t pick one up instead of a guitar, or over one of the Roland GRs. But it’s still neat that somebody made one. And seriously, just because it doesn’t have rubber feet, it’s still a controller, just like your X1 or monome is. Please be with the gating of the hating, haters.

  • WTF is going on with DJTT?

    Seriously Ean? We’re anxiously waiting reviews on software like Torq and hardware like the Reloop and instead you’re giving an article on a “pseudo” guitar? WTF IS GOING ON WITH DJTT? Guitars are amazing instruments that people dedicate their lives to and this is ridiculous. Do I need to stop reading DJTT? What happened to DIGITAL DJ’ING? Who cares about adding a freaking guitar to your dj set? Tell me what to buy and what not to buy for DJ’ing and give me advice/tips on how to becomes a better DJ/producer. This blog is seriously losing credibility.

    • Ean Golden

      Our “Best of NAMM” post is coming tomorrow and will contain a lot of the info you want. Its been taking a little longer than usual to compile the info we collected since the team is also working really hard on a high load of other projects.

      • Vinicius Hoffmann

        Thanks for the feedback Ean, don’t listen to the haters…

      • Mr Draxx

        WTF!?! Ean, I’ll be more than happy to break one of my 1200’s on this guy’s head! If deejay’s are considered musicians I don’t see why we can’t appreciate other musical product that’s revolutionary. Keep up the good work kid!

    • Flik

      WOW get a life man! People who think out of the box keep the world interesting and encourage innovation…stretch the boundaries into new territories. It keeps thinks fresh trying something different. The vid was cool and already had me thinking of controllerism possibilites with the kitara. Open your mind and try to stray from your linear life sometimes, you might learn or experience something positive. Props to DJTT.

    • xOrejin_Kahausx

      Hey! Take it easy! Some of us are musicians. Isn’t that right Rocky. I myself beside a Dj is a Guitarist, Bassist, Drummer, and Keybyboardist. I this idea is a new way of making music. Just like a sampler, MC, or a DJ.

      Plus this means no more broken guitar strings!!! LOL!!!

  • TT

    If the guy presenting the kitara is messing up, I doubt I’d be able to play it without messing up. His demonstrations didn’t sound like music, they sounded like he was pressing random frets and strings. I understand it’s not supposed to replace a guitar, but I don’t understand how people will be able to perform a routine without messing up constantly!

  • Anonymous

    yeah, another few years, all the hardware will be gone and it’ll just be a hologram that we all play on!

  • Anonymous

    why don’t we make simulated light as well…

  • Anonymous

    Looks like these are getting popular