The artist has written the open-source instrument to replicate the feel of a cheap guitar.

Guitarist Bill Orcutt has created an open-source app called Cracked for OS X that allows him to shred with a MIDI controller like an electric guitar.

Best known for his role in Miami noise rock act Harry Pussy, Orcutt is also a software engineer with an interest in electronic music – the 1998 drone album Let’s Build A Pussy was reissued on Editions Mego in 2012.

Speaking to The Wire, Orcutt said: “Lately I’ve been trying to find a more personal approach for making sound on the computer, something that feels like a software equivalent to one of the cheap Silvertone or Kay guitars I use – something primitive and stripped down, where the inner workings are exposed and easily modifiable, and the music feels like it’s being made by you rather than by the program.”

As the video below demonstrates, Orcutt is able to create glitchy, distorted sounds while tapping MIDI pads with the app that sound a lot like a guitarist working a fretboard.

Cracked is free to download from GitHub, but its command line interface might take some getting used to. As he explains, the app “has no traditional user interface, no buttons or knobs, just a window to code into. As you type, changes are interpreted immediately and the sound updates as you go.”

Orcutt says that he’d like to see cheap digital tools replace the current thirst for Eurorack synths, but if you want a modular environment to plug a guitar into, Pittsburgh Modular recently unveiled a patch box for exactly that purpose.

Read next: The best free music production software



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