Ichika Nito playing a Casio DG-20

(Image credit: Ichika Nito/YouTube)

Back in the 1980s, the future probably seemed full of bright possibilities. For the average ‘80s-era citizen, such prospects probably included flying cars, hoverboards, self-cleaning clothes and even holidays to the moon.

Though the reality has been something of a let down, the advances in guitar and gear development have been somewhat more promising. It is in this spirit that Japanese virtuoso Ichika Nito has released his latest video, which sees him playing a Casio DG-20 guitar synth.

It’s an instrument that, admittedly, looks more like a futuristic spaceship than a stringed instrument, and that’s perhaps why Ichika chose it for his “This is how 1980s thought the future guitar would be” skit.

Now, the only hiccup in this theory is that the Casio DG-20 was actually around in 1987, as were many other guitar synths, but don’t let such technicalities distract you from the level of technical proficiency on display here: we don’t think we’ve ever seen a synth guitar used in quite this fashion. Also, the video here is reversed, but that only adds to the alternate reality vibe.

Fair play to the synth guitar, it keeps up with Ichika’s noodles, with the headless and fretless machine playing host to just about every trick in the player’s extensive arsenal of techniques.

It’s not the first time Ichika has used the Casio DG-20, mind. Earlier this year, he took it for a 30-second spin, during which he further pushed the boundaries of what synth guitars are capable of.

Nor is it the only quirky instrument he’s come across during his time on YouTube. He’s also had experience with an Artiphon Instrument 1 – a similarly styled creation that ditched the body, headstock and even the strings in favor of an entirely digital playing experience. Safe to say he conquered that one, too.

While there might not be anything too futuristic about the Casio DG-20, there is certainly something extraterrestrial about Ichika’s skills. Even with everybody’s wild speculation from the ‘80s about what the future holds, we can’t imagine any could have seen Ichika’s style of playing coming. 

The moral of the story is that Ichika can make anything sound good. Heck, give him a match box strung with rubber bands and he’d probably compose a masterpiece. Having said that, he’s probably got that video queued in the content schedule already.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

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