For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the ZTar is a great little invention (hopefully, at least) by the California based Starr Labs. It’s basically a MIDI-guitar, but like a keyboard, it has real keys, which are laid out in the traditional fretboard fashion (and yes, it does look a bit like a Guitar Hero guitar).
The great thing about the Ztar that separates it from other MIDI-type guitars, is exactly the real keys, which opens up the possibility of polyphonic “strings”, where each string can give you more than one note. As you can see from the picture, it also has strings for triggering notes, although you are not required to use them, so you can play the Ztar with both hands like a keyboard. For a guitar player like myself, this is an infinitely more tempting way of playing keyboard than playing an actual keyboard!
There are several reasons I have laid my eyes on the Ztar. Apart from the reasons mentioned, there is also the sad, but simple fact that with my persisting Carpal Tunnel problem, it has become impossible for me to learn the keyboard, even if I wanted to. Playing guitar has so far not triggered the same painful symptoms, and my hope is that the Ztar can be my loophole into the keyboard world without playing a real keyboard.
But I have to admit, the biggest reason is just that it’s damn cool, and it has so many settings to customize the MIDI output that you can get dizzy. For example, you can tune the fretboard to any tuning you want in the blink of an eye, or you can have different zones on the fretboard playing different instruments. You can even have tunings that are not possible on guitar, such as whole tones between each fret!
So for me awaits the agonizing time of waiting for this nifty piece of equipment, and California is a long way so it’s probably gonna take a while… Damn, regular guitar seems so boring now!