Here are some of the weirdest musical instrument ideas from NAMM

Trade shows can be a strenuous onslaught of noise, cost, and crowds – but then it’s often the weirdest stuff that makes it worth it. And no one finds strange quite like Barry Wood and his annual NAMM Oddities.

Barry impressively tracks every kind of freakish appearance at the enormous US music instruments show, and it’s worth digging through his whole NAMM Oddities guide category by category ($1.2 million-dollar guitar straps and all). I’ve taken the liberty of picking some of my favorites from this year’s haul. Some of it is genuinely useful and cool – some will just make you shake your head and mumble, say wha?

One Synclavier knob. Built-to-order, $399 – half of which you owe as a deposit. This is evidently for people who are esoteric rich people, but with a fraction of the money of really rich crazy people. They … I don’t want to use the word “explain” as that would imply I understand who this is for, but they describe how this four hundred dollar knob is historically accurate:

The weight and feel of the knob are identical, as we have used the exact measurements and a balanced spring arrangement. The two-inch diameter knob is milled from a solid bar of instrument-grade aluminium (yes, we were doing this long before Apple). The interface software and hysteresis algorithm are taken from Synclavier II.

Full hammer action, in any quantity of keys. This is actually a great idea – Piano de Voyage is a hammer action keyboard broken into modules. Want just 2 octaves? Get just one module. (I always wondered why people want a full 88 keys in electronic contexts, actually.) Or if you do want as many as 8 octaves, you can break down the modules so they fit in a bag – unlike a usual full keyboard. No word on pricing or availability, but there’s a sign-up.

A food pedal that looks like it was prototyped in Play-Doh. Effigy Labs Control pedal is what it’s called, and the makers promise unique expression in a foot controller. (This was evidently a big hit at the show, too!)

Color sensing rings. Sphero Specdrums are wireless, optical, color sensing rings. (The idea of having musical rings just keeps coming.)

Giant panda piano. The piano section at NAMM and Germany’s Musikmesse always has something unusual, but this Seiler upright – out there. And if you figured something weird and panda-related came out of Asia, you’d be wrong – Seiler started in Germany, is now a US brand, and recently was bought by Nashville’s Samick Music Corporation.

Remember, never say no to panda.

A light-up uke. Solo Music‘s Lighted Ukulele should qualify as this year’s strangest use of RGB LEDs (though I know given what controllers look like these days, we can’t really make fun of ukelele players).

Brass knuckle mic accessory. Signs you may want to talk to your booking agent about the quality of your venues. Someone at Metaldozer had ideas about what to do with the metalworking.

And basically everything from Game Changer Audio. Need a sound source that’s got spinning discs with optical sensors and electromagnetic pickups? Or 3000 volts of plasma for distortion? Game Changer is all over new ideas; we’ll have reviews of their stuff soon.

Sonic State takes a look:

— and did a nice writeup.

Plenty more where these came from – do check them out:

And you’ll get loads more bizarre finds on Barry’s Facebook page, like… whatever this is:

The post Here are some of the weirdest musical instrument ideas from NAMM appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Danger Hight Voltage! Warning on the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Drive

On the back of the Gamechanger Audio Plasma Drive eurorack module.

via @PerfectCiruit

Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal Sound Demo (no talking) with Novation Peak

Published on Feb 15, 2019 Bonedo Synthesizers

“6:00 following: Sorry for merzbowing your Speakers…”

NAMM 2019 Floor Walk and Awards Handout

Published on Feb 1, 2019 sonicstate

“Sunday AM is when we hand out the awards, and usually we just take the photos, this year we decided to combine a floor walk with the awards. Contrary to most award ceremonies, this one is not at all organized..”

NAMM 2019: Gamechanger Audio Motor Piano – Poly Synth Madness…

Published on Jan 27, 2019 sonicstate

“A weird concept that we’re looking forward to see develop…”

Mechanical electo motors with optical discs for oscillators. Reminds me of the Optigan & new Panoptigon. 12 voice polyphony.

NAMM 2019 Gamechanger Audio Motor Piano Synthesizer Early Prototype!

Published on Jan 26, 2019 SYNTH ANATOMY

“At NAMM 2019, Gamechanger Audio presented a very early prototype of the Motor Piano Analog Synthesizer.
User interface is not working yet, sound Demo only! More info will follow soon!”

Gamechanger Audio recently brought us the PLASMA DRIVE with Erica Synths.

Erica Synths & Gamechanger Audio PLASMA DRIVE

Published on Jan 21, 2019 Erica Synths

“Plasma Drive is the Erica Fusion series module developed in collaboration with the high voltage distortion experts Gamechanger Audio.”

“It’s official. Plasma Drive is the Erica Fusion Series module developed in collaboration with Gamechanger Audio. Available from 20th of February 2019. Video demo out now!

Gamechanger Audio is a Latvian company

Gamechanger Audio Plasma Pedal, High Voltage Xenon Tube Distortion

Published on Nov 7, 2018 Perfect Circuit

“Gamechanger Audio Brought their Plasma Pedal by our shop in Burbank CA so we could make a video with it. We ran a drum machine, synth and guitar through it. The Plasma Pedal runs your audio through a high voltage xenon tube, which not only makes for a great sounding distortion, but looks cool as well.

Plasma Pedal available here: https://