The EBow string sustainer is a great tool for lending mystery to a song and extracting yourself form a same-old-solo rut. TC Electronic’s AEON is the first real hand-held rival to the EBow. And its relatively accessible price makes it a cool option for casual users on the fence about an effect they’ll use sparingly.
Like the EBow, the AEON uses an 9V battery-driven electromagnetic field to vibrate a guitar string. It’s intuitive and easy to use, though a few techniques are critical to making it work and sound best. Two contoured channels serve as string guides to assure that the string stays in the center of the electromagnetic field. Situating the AEON at the vibrational sweet spot along a string’s length is also critical, though shifting that placement generates expressive variations in intensity. AEON is a cool study in design economy. There’s a clip to hold the battery rather than a compartment and a single push button activates the effect. But while the brushed aluminum enclosure prevents slippage in sweaty hands, a few simple ergonomic improvements like thumb and finger divots could make it more comfortable. Those minor gripes aside, AEON is a blast, and an easy way to expand your guitar’s expressive potential.