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Born from the body of a humble miniature Tijuana six-string is The Penguin. Built as a one-of-a-kind birthday gift, this instrument’s strings aren’t for plucking, they’re to be touched. After triggering the piezo concealed beneath the device’s cartoony namesake, the player modulates sound by bridging multiple strings. And convincing the original instrument to be touch contact-able proved a bit of a challenge –

It took a lot of trial and error and screaming and error and error and trial to get the piezo sensor to work consistently. The other big thing was actually electrically isolating the strings from each other so that they would respond to TOUCHING and nothing else. This was done by wrapping the base of each string in plastic tube, and sealing the metal frets with an acrylic glue so they don’t short out when you push the strings all the way down.

Very cool idea that produces some interesting sounds, some of them even a bit musical.

[via Matrixsynth]