New Complexity Instruments

Thanks again to Henry Kaiser for the tip on this fascinating Australian instrument maker. New Complexity makes two guitar-like instruments: the Harmonic Isolator and the Harmonic Master. Here is a peek at a potential source of some interesting music.

Harmonic Isolator

The Harmonic Isolator is a unique 3rd bridge guitar. The silver frets are all harmonic notes, which excite harmonic frequencies behind the bridge when played. The seven gold frets are notes from the western 12-tone scale, designed to allow players to approximate material they might play on an ordinary guitar. The harmonic ratio between the two string fields is 4:3 and it is typically tuned A to A. The Harmonic Isolator can also be fitted with a sustainer system, which enhances the ambient and ethereal sound of the instrument.

The controls include three-way lever switches on the left and right sides, Volume controls and output jacks for each side, a mix output jack, which functions when nothing is plugged into left and right jacks, an on/off toggle switch for the sustainer, and a sustainer drive control.

Harmonic Master

This 3rd bridge instrument has six sets of chorused strings. Each string has independent tuning positions behind the bridge. The anchor points behind the bridge are fully adjustable with the maximum harmonic ratio being 1:3 and the smallest around 1:6. You can tune the notes behind the bridge to pretty much any scale you want.

The controls include Volume controls and output jacks for each side, and a mix output jack, which functions when nothing is plugged into left and right jacks.


4 thoughts on “New Complexity Instruments

  1. wow! great instrument. I’m 55, play guitar from 12 on retuned open tuning almost 20 years. I have to say your instruments give much more open tuning/pitching/voicing/sound pallette, than a causal 6str. I can only imagine Future Sound, Heavy Metal stuf ) great job!

  2. The Isolator startingly reminds me of the late Hans Reichel ca. ‘Bonobo Beach’-aera. Hans was sort of Germany’s Derek Bailey (= doyen of improv guitar) and buildt a lot of instruments for himself. On the said album (if I recall correctly, I should check back) he used the effect of an Isolator-style instrument to great effect. I had the chance to try Hans’ last custom electric, a two-neck with pivoted soundboard acting as a vibrato unit. Uchihashi Kazuhisa, who was recently featured here, has it at his place in Berlin currently after retrieving it from an exhibition in Japan.

    • They most surely are similar to some of the methods that Reichel used. I purchased one last year and I just love it. It’s pretty well made and offers some sounds that no other instrument can.

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