Gear Watch: Keith McMillen K-Bow for Bass

Keith McMillen Instruments has just released a video featuring their revolutionary product, the K-Bow, on a bass. The K-Bow is a specialized bow that utilizes Bluetooth technology to transmit data to its own comprehensive suite of software on your computer. The software then manipulates different effects, tones, loops, and more to give you a fluid and inspiring way to create and perform music. Not just stopping there, the K-Bow system can also utilize MIDI and OSC to control external devices, too. That means anything that can be controlled by MIDI can be controlled by your bow.


The Bow has five ways of measuring your movements:

  • XYZ 3D Accelerometer – measures the playing force and angle of the bow
  • Hair Tension Sensor – detects how hard the bow presses against the strings
  • Grip Pressure Sensor – gives a measure of how hard you are gripping the bow
  • Bow to Fingerboard – a measure of the distance you are playing from the fingerboard via the antennas embedded in the bow
  • Bow Length – by interacting with the included fingerboard emitter, an Infrared light sensor shows the distance from the bow frog to the strings of the instrument

“K-Bow unlocks vast new creative possibilities. And it’s all magic,” says Berklee professor Richard Boulanger. “The wireless electronic sensors and triggers are totally hidden and built in to this incredibly ‘intelligent’, beautifully and perfectly balanced and weighted bow. They are transparent to the user and the audience. String players love the fact that it feels right, it plays right, and that there are no encumbrances. It’s just a great bow!”

K-Bow Diagram

The bass version of the K-Bow starts at $3,495, and is available at KMI’s store. For more on the K-bow, visit Keith McMillen’s site.

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