the GuitarCross

Designed and created for bassists to fill in the inevitable void found in rock trios, the GuitarCross has grown into a viable instrument of its own. Innovative and simple, pairs of strings are played--as with many stringed instruments--but are in fact amplified independently. Three bass strings provide sufficient range for a variety of bass playing styles, while five guitar strings allow for full chording and even lead playing. Various tunings create chord and bass line possibilities which are--for either bassist or guitarist--musically challenging and rewarding to play. Unison, harmony and counterpoint are all within the realm of the interaction of these two 'formats,' played together as on a piano. See the various prototype models used by signal2noise here.
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How GX works & how to play it!

The GuitarCross has eight strings: 5 guitar strings--which correspond with the lower 5 of a regular 6-string guitar, and 3 bass strings--which likewise correspond with the lower 3 of a regular 4-string bass guitar. Additionally, these 3 bass strings are paired--as found on a 12-string guitar--with the lowest 3 of the 5 guitar strings. So, to go from the bottom to the top--in pitch--you have the first guitar/bass pair(guitar e/bass E), then the second pair(guitar a/bass A), and then the third pair(d/D). After those pairs, the two guitar strings(g and b) are alone. Again, the layout is as follows, although actual tuning can vary as desired:

          
e E       a A       d D        g        b

The three bass strings have their own Bartolini bass pickups which are routed to their own volume/tone/mix controls onboard, and out to a 1/4" output jack. Likewise, the 5 guitar strings have their own seperate pickups, controls and output jack also. There is a 3-way selector switch to mute either bass or guitar formats--or leave them both operational.

To play the GuitarCross, you can approach it from a number of perspectives: you can look at is a bass guitar with octave strings to utilize when you choose the extra sound. Or, you can look at it as a guitar with bass strings to supplement. You could see it as both instruments--to played alone or together in an entirely new manner--or as neither...the best way is as a completely new instrument: the GX!

The strings are spaced in a distance that allows the fretting and the strumming/plucking/slapping/whatever hands to easily emphasize one or both of the formats' strings. They are close enough to press down both strings of a pair, or more than one pair, or all 8 if you want--yet far enough to fingerpick chords, play leads, or play bass lines while 'missing' the guitar strings altogether. And like when Jimmy Page left the upper neck of his Gibson 6/12 doubleneck 'on' while playing the lower neck, many interesting possibilities arise when experimenting with manipulating the two formats in various ways, physically and electronically.