Why is the Kelstone not a guitar or a piano?
As stated in the introduction the piano and the guitar are in the first place chord instruments and secondarily (thanks to electric technology) one-note instruments.
The Kelstone on the other hand is first of all a one-note instrument and only secondarily a chord instrument regardless of electric technology.
This is counter-intuitive when you see an image of the instrument.
Even the new way of playing a guitar on your lap is fundamentally different
because of the way of arranging.
Why is the Kelstone not a Lap Steel Guitar?
The Lap Steel Guitar has no frets and is therefore not a ‘fretted instrument’.
Bach would say: not a ‘Wohltemperiertes Klavier’:
DO# is not REb on the lapsteelguitar.
On guitar, piano, Kelstone DO# is 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. Lapsteel is rarely used as a chord instrument.
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 action away from the player towards the audience.
Visibility and portability are organise fundamentally different.
The Stick is basically a chord instrument, and not really a one-note-expressive instrument.
Why is the Kelstone not a Appalachian Dulcimer ?
On a Appalachian Dulcimer one does not hammer on the strings.
The basic technique here is to pick/pluck the string (fingerpicking and strumming).
An Appalachian 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 or Hammered Dulcimer (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:
Kelstone with a mallet
Why hasn’t the Kelstone been invented earlier as it is so simple?
The concept of the Kelstone was only possible because of the technology of frets and electric pickups.
Frets and equal temperament in western music were introduced in the 16th century.
The electric guitar beginning of the 20th century.
Frets and electric pickups have lead to two-hand tapping which has evolve into tapping with two hands which is the basic technique on the Kelstone.
If, in the past, a string was in front of the player, unless he strummed or plucked it, he needed a mallet to generated enough energy as there was no amplification.
So the instrument could not have been conceived in a traditional setting.
Note of the author:
‘This is my own opinion, open for change. With respect to each musical instrument, it’s players and creators.’