Nick Demopoulos is a guitarist, sound designer and musician. He is also a Maker and the creator of the “SMOMID” — an Arduino Mega-based MIDI instrument that resembles a touch-sensitive guitar with several joysticks and other sensors. Not only does it just look cool, it can even flash LEDs in sync with the music being played for some wild effects and visual feedback for the performer.
This instrument was created out of necessity because despite the fact that the guitar is the most popular instrument in the world, there are almost no guitar-like midi controllers commercially available. The SMOMID is not a guitar, nor is it a substitute for a guitar, but rather it is a new and unique interface. Like all musical instruments, it has its strengths and weaknesses, and requires patience and practice to master.
Its software allows the performer to control numerous aspects of a performance, including the playing of melodies and harmonies, the direction and pattern of a melody, controlling beats, controlling bass lines, triggering samples, manipulating audio files, and more. All aspects of a performance can be controlled from the grid on the fret board and the buttons on the instrument body. Additionally several custom made synths can be chosen as sounds and several tunings are available. The instrument can be played like a fretted guitar, like a fretless guitar, with twelve notes to the octave, or other variations like twenty four or forty three notes to the octave. In addition to emitting sound, the SMOMID also emits light that is rhythmically in sync with the music the instrument is then creating. The lights also provide visual feedback for a performer that can indicate if an effect is engaged, the rhythm of a delay or the section of a composition among other facets of a performance. The SMOMID connects to any device or software that can receive MIDI information via a USB cable and is bus-powered.
You can read all about the project here, and check out some SMOMID performances below!