The Gizmotron 2.0 is the guitar innovation I have been most hyped about for the last two years. Sure, it’s not exactly a new invention – the Gizmotron 1.0 was first invented in the 70s. But it didn’t take – the manufacturing of the day was not up to the task, and the original design was fraught with problems, and so it died. Fast forward to the present day, and some visionary entrepreneurs recognized that the beast could be brought back to life and that the concept was sound – it just needed a little 21st century technology.
So the Gizmotron was reborn – the Gizmotron 2.0. They brought out the prototypes to a couple NAMM shows, where I had the pleasure of trying one out, and I was beyond sold. There are many ways to play the guitar without a pick, but this one was something truly different. The test that I needed to put it to was getting one on one of my own guitars to see if it could be done at home the same as on the NAMM floor.
I received my review unit and immediately set to installing it (after shooting this unboxing video, of course) and I was unsurprised to discover that it was more complex than I had anticipated. I’m a pretty handy guy, so it wasn’t outside of my realm of possibility by any means, but it did take some real time and effort. The instructions are very clear, and I think anyone with a little patience can get the thing installed on a just about any guitar in a couple hours. Getting it nicely dialed in takes some more time than that, but that’s to be expected with something like this.
Once I got the thing up and running, it’s an absolute playground. The USB powered (not charged – it does not have an internal battery) device is acoustically loud because it has a literal motor in it, but playing through even a reasonably loud amp covers the noise just fine. The sounds you can get from it are just divine, and it’s really transformative of the guitar’s natural tonal qualities. The output from the guitar is substantially lower than using a pick attack, so I put a boost after the guitar to raise the level of the signal hitting the amp, which helped a lot. The increased potential of the instrument with infinite sustain is well worth the price of admission, and really causes you to look at the guitar in a whole new light.
I encountered some issues with it, including bent springs (which are accounted for, they provide you with lots of extras) that need to be replaced (takes a few minutes, slight pain in the ass), finding the right height and position for the wheels, and getting the volume to be even across the strings, but these were all minor inconveniences. The Gizmotron is not to be taken on lightly – it’s an investment in what amounts to almost a new instrument – so if you’re thinking about getting one, just know that it’s not plug-and-play. It’ll be worth the time spent to install and set it up, because it’s a joy to play, and I highly recommend it if you can get your hands on one.