Guitarists and bassists, get ready for something completely different! Some of you may remember a product that the fellas over at Korg created called the Kaoss Pad. I first heard of this creation when I was reading an old interview with former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo. Geno was a visionary to me in the way that he would create sounds on a guitar that sounded totally out of this world. When I was getting into Filter back in the late 90s, it was evident that one of the things that really set that band apart from so many others 90s rock bands, was both Richard's voice and Geno's eclectic guitar style. It was like a DJ that clashed with a guitar that clashed with a keyboard.
Geno did an interview back in 2000 with Korg, that I was actually able to locate in the depths of the internet. You can read it right here: http://i.korg.com/Artist.aspx?artist=13
He goes on to explain the manner in which he uses the Kaoss Pad, the Electribes, and his songwriting and creative process. Geno would use the Korg Kaoss Pad live by attaching it to his mic stand and using his picking hand to manipulate this real-time effects unit while his fretting hand created the notes or chords. The whole signal would go from his guitar to the pad to the amplifier. Geno had the following to say about the Kaoss Pad:
Every once in a while there’s a product that comes out and becomes an instant classic. I think that the KAOSS Pad has something here. It has filters, it has flangers, it has all these weird, wacky effects that change in time instead of being a static thing. I love things that mutate. This thing is like a toy but it’s not. Korg originally made it for DJs, but I’m like, screw it, I’m going to put it through my Marshall JMP1. So I switch into the patch and then send my signal through the pad to my amps.
...I’ve always liked things that you can play with in time. When I told the guys at Korg that I was doing this, they were really excited. It’s a new way of using something that it really wasn’t intended for. I love it. When I first brought it out the rest of the band was like, “What the hell is that? That is cool.” Sometimes when we’re on stage Rich’ll come over and start just messing, using the KAOSS Pad. And they’re really not that pricey either. Sometimes I’ll tip it forward on the mike stand and let (the audience) watch while I’m doing it. They are completely fascinated. I love that.
Now, I have no doubt, like any new thing, this concoction of guitar and electronic wizardry is going to receive its fair share of hate; but in a day and age when so many companies are relying on tradition and stale recipes to sell their products (going with what's safe), it is really so refreshing to see a company like Ibanez pushing the envelope of what a guitar could or should be.
Some of you may remember reading about the nine string guitar that Ibanez just released recently, and this new RGKP6 is no different! In fact, this may be one of those truly outrageous creations that the music world is always ready to have more of!
So what the hell do we have in these two new guitars? To build on something Geno may have started back in the day, it would seem a bit cumbersome to use a Kaoss pad mounted in front of you on a mic stand and have to be right near the stand to use it. What if the pad was in the guitar itself? What if the pad travelled with you as you moved on stage? No pedals, no stands, nothing to tie you down. Well Ibanez and Korg have teamed up to create basically
a six string RG guitar....
and a four string SR bass....
....both with Kaoss pads pre-installed into their bodies. Get ready, this is SO not your average guitar.
ibanez has the following to say about these crazy new instruments:
For those looking to weave the dynamic elements of electronic music into their sound Ibanez introduces the RGKP6 Kaoss Guitar and the SRKP4 Bass.
Each instrument includes a built-in/detachable Korg mini kaoss pad 2S that puts 100 effect programs within fingertips distance. Other mini kaoss pad 2S features include a synthesizer, built-in mp3 player and digital recorder. As if that weren't enough, both axes contain a built-in distortion circuit for additional sonic mayhem.
Both instruments feature the ability to function as normal guitars or basses, but they also can incorporate the wacky sounds of the Kaoss Pad, and all of its built in distortion electonica madness. There is a great new demo video showing both instruments at work, so check it out!
Personally, at least in this video, the bass demo takes the cake for me! The tones and effects you can get are straight up raunchy and sound really great with that gritty bass tone. Plus that "vinyl break" sound can really open some doors for low-end effects!
So is this for you? Is this something totally stupid? Is this going to be the lamest guitar product ever? Is this for poser musicians?
What we must remember is that this opens the doors to new avenues of creativity. I am already curious as to what the result would be if Aaron from Intervals were to get his hands on this guitar, or Tom Morello, or who knows?!
I think Geno really put it best, 14 years ago...
That’s a really tough question and a really good question. The best answer I can give you is that there really is no method to the madness. I don’t know how it’s going to happen each time, but having the stuff around gives us more options. What’s exciting to me is that all this technology offers up a way to get a sound that nobody’s ever heard of without buying a $5,000 effects processor. But some of these bands think, oh well, I used the bleep-blop 6000 and that is going to solve all my musical soul searching. It’s not. You still have to write something musically that is satisfying to your ear and heart.