|Vox V-251 Guitarorgan|
For years blues guitarists used crappy guitars and amplifiers and got a distorted, gritty sound that some American and UK performers thought was cool.
The modern Rockers of the day wanted that down and dirty sound but would not be caught dead with a Silvertone guitar and a cheap old Danelectro amplifier.
Electric guitar technology came to the rescue and it's first invention was called a fuzztone. Next came the LBP-1(Linear Power Booster) transistorized preamps, wah-wahs and a host of other bells and whistles.
The first to develop this concept was a company located in Waco Texas known as Musiconics International (MCI) came up with the Guitorgan.
This was invented by a fellow named Bob Murrell.
The challenge of making the instrument work was to divide each fret into six segments and attach wires through the neck which connected to each segment of the fret.
So the average 22 fret instrument must have housed 132 wires and connections. Each fret was now a contact switch.
This caused the ground connection to produce output similar to pressing the keyboard on a conventional organ to produce the sound.
One could have just the organ sound, just the guitar sound or a mixture of both sounds. Musiconics built about 3,000 units.
There were two issues with the guitorgan and subsequent products. With a regular guitar there is a note on each string between the nut and first fret. However there was no wires going to the nut. So instead of the first organ note on the first string being F, it was F# since the first actual fret was wired. Guitarists compensated for this by tuning down a half-step.
This allows full guitar chords to be played the organ notes can only be played alone or simultaneously with the guitar. The idea was to use the expression pedal in such a fashion to bring the organ in or out but have the guitar be the primary sound giving the illusion of a duo, but actually just being one musician.
As we may discussed with the Wandre guitar, Italian made guitars seem to possess an accordion-like quality. They all seem to have sparkly designs, use of celluloid coverings and lots of buttons. The Godwin (guitar) Organ was no exception. It certainly looked impressive since the controls covered the entire bottom side of the instrument.
The Goodwin Guitar-Organ utilizes rotary knobs for this purpose. The instrument also has had slow/fast vibrato with an on/off switch so that even without the Leslie, you can get a pretty good impression. The Godwin Guitar-Organ has 19 switches and 13 knobs. They also produced a lower cost model with 16 switches and 4 knobs.
Vox Guitar Organ could be played as a guitar or as an organ or blended between the two instruments.
It was also possible to get organ rhythm behind the guitar melody.
This was due to the feature that played automatic chords in rhythm with your song.
The guitar organ became obsolete when the age of the guitar synthesizer came into the picture along with the hex-pickup.