Written by Joseph Caplan
(PATRICK CUMMINGS WITH JOE CAPLAN IN HIS WORKSHOP)
Situated in a non-descript building on Main Street in Cold Spring, is one of the most innovative guitar workshops in New York State. While instrument makers such as Joseph Veillette , Harvey Citron and Michael Tobias of Woodstock define the pinnacle of luthier skill, a quiet tinkerer has patented a revolutionary device.
Mr. Patrick Cummings opened the door to his iGuitar Workshop and revealed both the future of fretted instruments and a unique patented digital interface. Here, in one place, exotic hardwood blanks are transformed into hollow body John Abercrombie Signature or solid body Russ Freeman Signature models. Equipped with piezo transducer pickup, thirteen-pin synth jack or patented usb cable output, the instrument permutations seemed to extend relentlessly.
How a blank of flamed mahogany is milled into a guitar is one thing. The artistry of their mother of pearl inlays which adorn the fretted necks is another. Even the hues of their lustrous two-toned stains boggle the imagination. But still, without the coiled magnetic transducers, whether humbucker, piezo or single coil, a guitar is still rather a lifeless musical instrument.
Or maybe not. Adorned in his shop apron, Mr. Cummings guided our novice group to his Brian Moore demo iGuitar, upgraded with several afore mentioned output connectivity options. I noted a relatively thin cable ran from the solid body guitar to one input port on their iMac computer. Patrick struck a chord, instantly triggered the synthesizer card, and produced a torrent of sound captured both digitally in audio waveforms, and sonically in music notation. Wait a minute, the software program digitized the iGuitar output and transposed the notes into a graphical display of music notation? Patrick played it back, struck another chord and overdubbed the original track. Just another minute, you overdubbed one track, in real time, in perfect pitch? How about a rhythm track? Well, Mr. Cummings, why not?
So maybe a thirteen-pin synth output jack might not rock you. But what if the ability to output limitless tracks to your iPad 2 thru a Brian Moore usb equipped solid body guitar was a reality?
I mean the ability to transmit any musical instrument digital interface data via a cable from a gorgeous iGuitar to any iPad 2 with the appropriate software?
So, how does a single instrument produce the audio tracks that comprise a musical work?
Inside the iMac is a digital board used to produce synthesized sounds. It simply requires a trigger, or appropriately equipped iGuitar instrument. Install the proprietary device into a Brian Moore guitar, or have the modification fitted to your favorite Fender or Gibson. A cable connects the usb port on the guitar to the appropriate usb port on the iMac. Any technophile musician understands the application of the musical instrument digital interface protocol to transmit digital signals. Even so, I stood in awe of the effortless mastery of Mr. Cummings to create the bright sounds of horn sections, lush harmonics of string orchestras and explosive staccatos of percussion instruments thru his iGuitar.
I might add that Patrick Cummings offers the expertise only a luthier provides to retail Brian Moore or iGuitars or even retrofit any brand. Find information about the iGuitar or Brian Moore instruments on their website at www.iguitarworkshop.com. This is how a former Gibson Guitar executive from Nashville, Tennessee rocked my preconception of digitally composed music.