A guitar-like electronic musical instrument for use with a synthesizer (18) has a body (20) and a neck (22). The neck carries six pitch strings (40) which the player depresses onto conductive frets to determine the selected note. The body carries six trigger strings (50) which can be plucked or strummed to initiate or trigger the desired notes. Alternatively they can be triggered by six keys (70). The trigger strings (50) and pitch strings (40) are at an angle to each other. The three lower strings and the three higher strings can be triggered together by group trigger keys (300,302) and all six strings triggered by a master trigger key (204). If either of switches (200,202) are actuated, notes will be triggered automatically as soon as the pitch string is depressed onto the fret. Touching of the string is detected by an a.c. waveform superposed on a d.c. potential. Hall effect devices are used to sense triggering by the trigger strings (50) or keys (70). Each fret has eleven conductive sections so that sideways bending can be detected, and bend detection coils are embedded in the finger board for the same purpose. A vibrato arm (210) using a Hall effect device can be used to introduce a vibrato effect. A console (32) enables resetting of the note of each string, storing various set values for each string, transposition of the instrument as a whole and a `Capo` effect to be obtained. A pedal unit (30) allows some functions to be selectively operated during playing, such as variation in the decay rate, or sustaining of notes played while a hold pedal is depressed.