Above: the 1989 advert that caught my attention
I’ve said it many times, but pls let me re-iterate: as much as the content of this site may make me seem like some retro-fetish trainspotter, my investigation into all of this old kit is due to the fact that I make my living as a composer and sound engineer, and I am constantly looking for new sources of (inexpensive) inspiration. Because if you have to write and/or record three or four songs per day, the process can be either a chore or a joy, and what can make the difference is the novelty and new avenues that some ‘new’ (to you) gear can offer. Y’all know how much I love spring reverb, so when I spotted this ad for a guitar-mounted mechanical-reverb system in an ’89 ‘Guitar Player’ I searched for an old unit to buy on eBay. There were several, but they were not cheap. And then google told me that they had been re-issued by the original manufacturer! $99 plus shipping later, and a brand-new ASPRI arrived direct from dude in just a couple of days.
First of all, the packing is really spectacular, and in fact won some sort of Quebec design-award (I think it’s very fitting that this thing is from Montreal; if you’ve spent some time there I think you can see the whole kinda clever/artsy/slightly-fantastical vibe of that whole city reflected in the ASPRI).
The ASPRI mounts to any flat-top acoustic gtr in about 10 seconds. it does not contact the top of the gtr at all; just the saddle and the side; and the side is completely padded, so there really is no danger of damaging the instrument. BTW, if your saddle height is VERY high, the I’d imagine that the Aspri won’t work properly; that being said, I have yet to find a gtr that it has not worked on.
So basically what it does: it’s a box of springs that receive their exciting-energy from the motion of the strings; it does this by means of three little stainless-steel feet that effectively become the saddle of the gtr while the ASPRI is mounted. So yes there is some loss of ‘tone’ and volume, but what you get in return is a really transporting experience. Playing this thing, esp. bottleneck style, is really uncanny; it really does turn a living room into a concert hall.
There are a zillion YouTube videos of dudes demo’ing their ASPRIs, so no need to add to that fray; check ’em out if your curious. If you are a dedicated acoustic gtr player like I am, and you’re looking for a new direction, I feel like you are bound to get a couple new songs outta this thing.
To buy an aspri, visit: https://www.aspri.com