The Magnetic Cello is an analog electronic musical instrument created by Cal Poly SLO student David Levi. After three years of development, the design of the instrument should be finalized by the end of summer. We plan on building a handful by the end of summer.
Whether you’re an established musician looking for a change of pace or a student just beginning to experiment, you’ll find new musical possibilities with the Magnetic Cello.
Playing the Magnetic Cello:
- Shape volume using a magnetic bow. Moving the bow in space around the copper coil induces an electrical signal to magnetically articulate the instrument.
- Control pitch by pressing down on an electrically resistive ribbon. This ribbon, mounted to the neck of the instrument, is continuous and can perform the same glissando and vibrato of a traditional stringed instrument.
- Select strings by rolling your right thumb. With a small switch mounted on the bow under the right thumb, a musician can instantly switch strings.
Along with a novel way of making music, the Magnetic Cello also provides:
- Flexible tuning. This instrument can be tuned to almost any range. The interval between strings and the compression (the space between notes on the same string) can also be adjusted by turning a few knobs.
- The same profile as an acoustic cello. The Magnetic Cello has the same dimensions as an acoustic cello, making it easy for acoustic cellists become adept at the instrument. The instrument is also lighter and thinner than an acoustic cello.
- Versatile electronic output. The output signal of the instrument can be fed to any standard effect pedal or filter, expanding the potential of the instrument.
Reservations are currently closed for the Magnetic Cello. Those who reserved the Magnetic Cello will have the first opportunity to buy the instrument. We had set August 2012 as when the first Magnetic Cellos would be sold. However, we are not ready and have pushed back that deadline, instead focusing on refining the technology in the instrument.