Sukandar Kartadinata is an omni-focused instrument builder who navigates between traditional craft and modern technologies. His designs are driven by the needs of individual musicians and artists — needs that are typically more specific than commercial offerings and more practical than academic research.
Some common themes in his work over the last three decades include spatialization, sensors, digital signal processing, embedded systems – and of course guitars.
Guitars are at the heart of Sukandar’s work, not the least because he’s an active player himself. His first instrument arose out of his need for a specific feature set that wasn’t available elsewhere at the time. This approach holds true to this day, as he has typically no ready-made guitars in stock. Instead every instrument is defined in a process between maker and customer.
While tonal details and visual design issues are important, the emphasis is definitely on providing unique functionality. Some examples of this are:
• polyphonic (per-string) signal processing
• on-board ADC & digital transmission
• fret-scanning & pitch-tracking
• movable frets for alternative tuning systems
Sukandar’s services range from small modifications for existing guitars to complete tailor-made instruments built from scratch – and everything in-between.
Live-Electronics have top priority when Sukandar is not working on a guitar.
This can include other string instruments, controllers, and hybrid designs.
Beyond electronic instruments, Sukandar also fields requests from sound & visual artists regarding custom technology for sound installations and media art.