The GASP project investigates the design and realisation of an Immersive Guitar System. It brings together a range of sound processing and spatialising technologies and applies them to a specific musical instrument ‒ the Electric Guitar. GASP is an ongoing innovative audio project, fusing the musical with the technical, combining the processing of each stringʼs output (which we called timbralisation) with spatial sound. It is also an artistic musical project, where space becomes a performance parameter, providing new experimental immersive sound production techniques for the guitarist and music producer. Several ways of reimagining the electric guitar as an immersive sounding instrument have been considered, the primary method using Ambisonics. However, additionally, some complementary performance and production techniques have emerged from the use of divided pickups, supporting both immersive live performance and studio post-production. GASP Live offers performers and audiences new real-time sonic-spatial perspectives, where the guitarist or a Live GASP producer can have real-time control of timbral, spatial, and other performance features, such as: timbral crossfading, switching of split-timbres across strings, spatial movement where Spatial Patterns may be selected and modulated, control of Spatial Tempo, and real-time performance re-tuning. For GASP recording and post-production, individual string note patterns may be visualised in Reaper DAW,2 from which, analyses and judgements can be made to inform post-production decisions for timbralisation and spatialisation. An appreciation of auditory grouping and perceptual streaming (Bregman, 1994) has informed GASP production ideas. For performance monitoring or recorded playback, the immersive audio would typically be heard over a circular array of loudspeakers, or over headphones with head-tracked binaural reproduction. This paper discusses the design of the system and its elements, investigates other applications of divided pickups, namely GASPʼs Guitarpeggiator, and reflects on productions made so far.


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