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NEWS: there's a new Gizmo now available: see here. Plus Tom Avis has written a really nice article about the Gizmo, old and new.
Many thanks to John Knight for providing these wonderful colour photos of a production model of the Gizmo - click on these thumbnails to see larger images.
Gizmo was Godley and Creme's invention, and it helps give Consequences
such a distinctive sound. Paul Gambaccini explains more in his sleeve
notes for the album:
Unable to afford an orchestra for early 10cc albums, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley conceived a guitar able to play violin sounds. The bowing motion was activated by keys located at the bridge of the guitar. Pressing one key would bow one string, pressing three would bow three, leaving the other hand free to roam the rest of the guitar.
John McConnell, a senior lecturer in Physics at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) assisted Godley and Creme in the development of their prototype. He considered it critical that the instrument retain the natural decay of a note rather than the sharp cut-off often experienced with an electronic synthesizer.
Other Godley & Creme albums featuring the Gizmo include L and Freeze Frame. Its haunting sound can also be heard on This Mortal Coil's recording 'It'll End in Tears', played by Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins (on 4AD records).
Laurence Juber writes: 'when I was in Wings, Paul McCartney had a prototype 6 string Gizmo that we used on the Back To The Egg album in 1978... on another note, I played guitar with Lol and Kev on the "Wide Boys" single and video.'