The Artiphon is roughly guitar-ish interface that communiates via usb or midi. Some controllers like beat boxes have become popular as they add functionality. Those that mimic existing instruments tend to have a tough time as expert players rarely migrate. The trick is to make something with compelling new capabilities while being 'transparent' allowing the musician to achieve a state of flow. It isn't clear this is in that category, but it is cute.
It is worth reading again (thanks for reminding me Bjarne) in light of the partial change that has taken place. Many musicians focus on touring now and a larger percentage are now indies. The big danger now is streaming with its extremely low compensation.
String Theory - The Physics of String-Bending and Other Electric Guitar Techniques
David Robert Grimes
Electric guitar playing is ubiquitous in practically all modern music genres. In the hands of an experienced player, electric guitars can sound as expressive and distinct as a human voice. Unlike other more quantised instruments where pitch is a discrete function, guitarists can incorporate micro-tonality and, as a result, vibrato and sting-bending are idiosyncratic hallmarks of a player. Similarly, a wide variety of techniques unique to the electric guitar have emerged. While the mechano-acoustics of stringed instruments and vibrating strings are well studied, there has been comparatively little work dedicated to the underlying physics of unique electric guitar techniques and strings, nor the mechanical factors influencing vibrato, string-bending, fretting force and whammy-bar dynamics. In this work, models for these processes are derived and the implications for guitar and string design discussed. The string-bending model is experimentally validated using a variety of strings and vibrato dynamics are simulated. The implications of these findings on the configuration and design of guitars is also discussed.
Last night I caught most of Rodrigo y Gabriela on Live from the Artists Den (PBS). The clip only captures a bit - their performance is often electric. A live performance would be the way to go, but catch the video if you can find it.