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Kaisatsuko - hurdy gurty-like experimental musical instrument Kaisatsuko
    Yuichi Onoue playing the Kaisatsuko

Close up of the Kaisatsuko's mechanism, on the left, two hand wound homemade magnetic pickups to amplify the sound, and on the right, the nylon wheel which vibrates the strings

The Kaisatsuko was invented by Yuichi Onoue of Tokyo, Japan.
The translation of the word is as follows:

Kai = Rotation    Satsu = Rub    Ko = Oriental fiddle

Looking a bit like an Asian stick fiddle, such as the Mongolian Morin Khuur, or Tuvan Igil, the resemblances to a traditional musical instrument stop there.

The Kaisatsuko does not use a bow to vibrate its two strings, usually employed with fiddle-like instruments. Instead, a small hand crank spins a nylon wheel, which vibrates the two steel strings, producing a sustained drone sound of both strings. The rotating wheel acts like a mechanical bow, a technique similar to the the Hurdy Gurdy, invented before the 11th century.

Since the basic sound signal of the instrument can be sent through an amplifier, its sound can be altered by various effects and played in a number of different musical styles. The neck of the Kaisatsuko does not have frets on it, so Yuichi can use various slide techniques to give it a sound reminiscent of many traditional Asian musical instruments.

Watch a short video clip of the Kaisatsuko

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For more detailed information about Yuichi's other musical instruments, inventions and videos, please visit:
Yuichi Onoue's Website

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