Muse’s Matt Bellamy was recently spotted using a unique electric guitar on the alt-rock trio’s Simulation Theory world tour. With its stealth black appearance, the axe wasn’t notable for any exotic tonewoods. What did create a buzz, though, was how Bellamy played an emulation of the Prophet 5 polysynth directly from his guitar.
It’s known that Bellamy is fond of both Arturia’s Prophet V plug-in and Fishman’s TriplePlay MIDI pickup setup. But how did an emulation of a vintage polysynth end up in his electric guitar?
The story starts with Muse’s guitar tech Chris Whitemyer, who caught wind of Swedish company Mind Music Labs’ ELK MusicOS platform and its ability to run plug-ins and virtual instruments on hardware. According to Mind, Whitemyer first made contact with the company at NAMM 2019 in January. What proceeded was a meeting between Mind Music Labs, Fishman and Arturia on the NAMM show floor.
Four weeks from the initial meeting, Muse kicked off their world tour in Houston with Bellamy holding the finished axe in hand. The three-company partnership had worked out a plan that would see Fishman’s TriplePlay MIDI Guitar Controller controlling plug-ins on an ELK system built into the guitar. This schematic enabled Bellamy to wield the Arturia Prophet V from his six-string – without a computer – and control it at very low latency.
This proof of concept could have far-reaching consequences. Because the ELK MusicOS system can run any VST – instrument or effect – this could mean high-quality, low-latency, in-guitar amp modelling, for example. It could even mark the beginning of a new wave of plug-in powered performance instruments. Whatever happens, we’re excited to see what’s next.
For more info about Mind’s ELK MusicOS, click here.