Back in July 2014, I created the world's first Spectrumaxe guitar, although the idea of making a guitar with dynamically responding LEDs came to me some time earlier, around the end of 2013. I'd been watching an old Michael Jackson pop video of Billie Jean on the TV. It's the one where the paving stones light up along the sidewalk, wherever Jackson places his feet. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if I could get a guitar to light up in a similar way to that, in response to the movements of a guitarists fingers along the fretboard. Of course fitting LEDs into a guitar fretboard is not something entirely new or original, but I couldn't find any LED guitars available commercially, that would do the kind of thing that I had imagined.
The first Spectrumaxe prototype took a few months to construct, and was built mainly in my spare time. The design concept was relatively simple and straight-forward, but there were some technical and construction problems that took a while to resolve. The MK1 prototype that was the culmination of this work turned out to be far better than we had expected and indeed it performed in some surprisingly more innovative ways than we had originally anticipated. Below is the first demonstration video of this prototype, that we published on YouTube.
The MK1 prototype uses LEDs of each of the primary colours in the visible spectrum, arranged in a logical order along the fretboard, so hence the name "Spectrumaxe" came into being and seemed like the perfect description, for what we'd created. We decided to register "Spectrumaxe" as an official brand name and we also applied for a patent for this invention. Since that time, we've been busily developing the Spectrumaxe concept and trying out some new ideas to enhance and improve the original design concept, including acrylic bodied guitars that light up in unison with the LEDs in the fretboard. You'll see these latest developments on the Products and Video pages of this website.
We're now making some production models and a few of our guitars are being used actively for gigs by bands in both the UK and in other countries including the USA, South Korea, Brazil and Norway. After the great success of the MK4 prototype that went on tour with The Chip Shop Boys: www.chipshopboys.com a production model of this Strat type guitar was ordered and is now used regularly by The Zoots: www.thezoots.com Two of our guitars have also been exported to bands in California, and a fourth (JEM style) Spectrumaxe guitar is being used by a science fiction inspired band in Brazil, who have fully integrated and featured the guitar into their stage show and website at: https://ultraaliens.com.br/guitar/ One of these guitars was exported to a famous K-pop artist in South Korea and another to an eminent guitarist and composer based in Oslo, Norway.
Spectrumaxe Limited was formed in May 2015 and I decided that this should be a "not for profit" company, to provide services to the music industry, at an affordable level. Any money that we might make will be used to cover our costs and also to be plowed back into the company to aid further innovation and product development.