If NAMM is a veritable candy store for musicians, this feral blogger spent the weekend looking for the black licorice–and I managed to find a few oddities on the convention floor.
Specialty drum keys
These bad boys will give drummers, tired of being sequestered in the back of the stage, the opportunity to break free from the pack and become a fierce individual. Not really. But these drum keys, sold by Massachusetts-based Dojo Co. are fun. They come in an assortment of shapes including: pot leaves, skulls, hearts or your favorite state. Average cost for one of the standard designs is in the $17 range. Custom orders are possible as well.
Zvex guitar pedals
This company employs three artists who painstakingly paint each one of their guitar pedals by hand. For those not interested in dropping a huge chunk of change, affordable pedals such as the Wooly Mammoth are available in a standard template. But custom orders are also possible–just expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for one of these beauties. Musicians such as Jack White have been known to use these pedals, but according to Zvex sales manager Andrew Richardson, White is also known to paint over them in mono color depending on his mood. Seems like putting a primer coat over the Mona Lisa if you ask me.
Prat Extended Range Bass
The top three strings on this bass are actually smaller than standard guitar strings. We didn't get a chance to find out how much this bad boy costs, but it's a safe bet that it would be outside of the price range of the average Weekly reader (or writer for that matter).
The Music Easel, by Buchla
With its protruding wires and dizzying array of faders and knobs, this bad ass futuristic piece of equipment looks (and sounds) like something out of Logan's Run. But it's actually a throwback to the 1970s. This machine, which features a sequencer, oscillators, spring reverb, as well as beaucoup other sound modulating options, is the size of a suitcase. Buchla Artistic Consultant Todd Barton demonstrated the Music Easel, which pulsed with foreboding sounds reminiscent of Edgar Froese (or perhaps some post-apocalyptic cinema). Barton likened the controls on the machine to paint brushes with which to continually add colors. "In 1974 this thing was ahead of its time, and I think it's still ahead of its time," Barton said. But save your pennies, the Music Easel retails for close to $4,000.
The cajon boasts an informal attitude and begs musicians to gather 'round to enjoy making some music. The folks at Sela told me their product, which is available as a kit to be assembled at home, sports a unique removable snare feature. We watched as Sela rep Paul Jennings pattered away for folks as they passed the booth. I'm told he plays in a Scottish band known as the Red Hot Chili Pipers.
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