FireWire Guitar

2006 - this is how the site started, full of hope:

wanna plug your instrument straight into the computer?

FireWire is the nicer name Apple gave to the IEEE1394 connector standard, made for high speed real time applications like video cameras and multi track audio

Since the seventies, some use single string connections to give more options to guitar signal treatment, often called hexaphonic or polyphonic guitar, or even, slightly wrong: MIDI guitar. So far several connectors have been used and the Roland 13pin DIN. But none of them was quite ideal, making the whole technology expensive and little versatile. Now the digital age brought a new chance for the polyphonic guitar.

So far the only firewire guitar on the market is made by Rolf Spuler

the impulse to this construction came from Matthias Grob, builder of Polysubbass and other polyphonic effects since the early 80ies. The main implementation of the electronics was done by Philipp Scheidegger and the soft ware by Day Koch at BridgeCo, one of the very few companies that create FireWire interfaces.


2008, this technology was shown at the NAMM show and although at least 100 musicians, atracted by the Paradis design, no one was interested.

not only did Apple announce the end of the standard, but we realized that:

- a good guitar serves for decades and electronics change, so its important to build the minimum into the guitar. to fix this problem it would make a lot of sense to create a guitar electronic module standard, so newer modules can be inserted in older instruments...

- the FireWire male connector is pretty solid (survives the cigarette step out test you suggest here: :-)
but the female is not, even with Rolfs special protection part. and once it breaks, the 24V destroy parts of the computer

- whenever the FireWire connection is unplugged or fails the audio application in the laptop needs to be rebooted

- a laptop is great to create and save things, but its not reliable enough for stage, by its connectors and the uncertainty of the software. even with a dedicated machine, using the same setup and software, I often had clicks appearing or the interface not coming up immediately... reboot... even a big screem a few times!

- it does not feel right to have a lot of electricity (even warming up!) in the instrument.

With the Diguit, Rolf went even further with this concept, he managed that Axon built the Szalay MIDI conversion into the BridgeCo chip, so the guitar really had a MIDI output, a DIN 5pin connector and FireWire!
I also have some of those boards, but I do not know how well they work, Rolf gave up when Axon closed.

So now I hope we can figure out a solid analog connection with separate strings and some control lines.
we had some great discussions here: