Something very important and I would to hammer this home:)
Why the Kelstone is not a guitar or a piano
If you would compare piano and guitar to ski’s (40 or 50 years ago) the Kelstone would be a snowboard.
Let me explain.
There is the instrument family of the guitar and piano: chord instruments.
And there is the musical instrument family of instruments like the saxophone (also Belgian), violin, voice, etc.
Here you have still control over the volume, the length and the vibration once the note has been played.
I’ll call this the one-note expression instruments.
In this family you play one note at the time, but you have a lot of control over the envelope (duration, modulation, volume) of the note once it has been played.
On the piano not so: once a note is played, it can only die a happy death.
On the guitar (and of course similar instruments like the banjo, ukulele, etc) the note also dies very quickly.
But since the guitar turned electric it has become also part of the one-note expression family thanks to the sustain and distrotion pedal, the volume pedal and the whammy bar/tremelo arm (allowing control over the length, the volume and the vibration of the single notes).
Up untill now, everybody, myself included for a long time, has placed the Kelstone in the first familiy (chords, composition, arranging).
But although you can play chords, arrange and compose on the Kelstone, it is so much more related to the second family, to the one-note expression instruments.
This is counter-intuitive when you see the instrument and so most people try to force it in a guitar-piano way of playing.
Approaching the Kelstone as a the one-note expression instrument will allow you to start playing from minute one
Now the Kelstone is also part of the chord instruments but to master this, you need quite some practise.
Why is the Kelstone not a Lap Steel Guitar:
The Lap Steel Guitar has no frets and is therefore not a ‘fretted instrument’. Or to say it with Bach: it is not a ‘Wohltemperierte Klavier’, a DO # is not a REb. On guitar, piano, Kelstone, a DO # is a REb.
And there is no hammering on the strings.
A very specific technique (sliding) is used in which a smooth piece of metal or a Bottleneck slides over the strings.
Why is the Kelstone not a Chapman Stick or traditional tapping instrument:
The Chapman Stick builds on the hammer technique (two-hand tapping) of the guitar and turned it into tapping with two hands (which is something completely different).
The Kelstone builds on the tradition of percussion and key instruments: in harmony with gravity, stable on a stand (separate from the player who can move freely), clearly visible and an expression action from the player away towards the audience.
The Stick is also chord instrument, not of the one-note expression instrument.
Why the Kelstone is not a Dulcimer (Bumblebee, Elder) or a Zither
On a Dulcimer one does not hammer on the strings.
The basic technique here is to pick/pluck the string (fingerpicking and strumming).
A Dulcimer is basically a guitar that lies in front of you.
The Kelstone is rather a piano-keyboard with a two-dimensional interface.
Of course the Kelstone is not a Cimbalom (played with mallets) even though it is very interesting to hit the notes with a mallet on the Kelstone. Once hit, one still has a very nice control over the vibration of the note with the left hand