Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2017 Edition

Packrat Barry



3D printing is really starting to come of age. This year at NAMM I saw a number of products that were not simply 3D printed as prototypes, but were the finished products.

This electric violin has a striking look, and an even more striking price tag.

The Great Mutato

Andy Manson could be considered a post modern prometheus based on the daring and dangerous acoustical experiments he no doubt undertakes in his mad scientist luthier lab.

Harp 2.0

Eschewing the ornate harp designs of old, this reboot is simple and stylish. Part of the update includes a pickup and on-board preamp.

Short Travel Slide

When I played trombone we always got to be in the front, otherwise we'd nail the players in front of us with our slides. Not so with these.

With all the slide positions halved, this would be a great choice for young, fledgling trombone players.

Design Courage

It takes a certain amount of fearlessness to take the form factor of a piano and come up with this. While I applaud this bravery, the playing action left me wanting.

Blinged Out Beyond all Recognition

By the mere act you would, by definition, have no shame if you were play one of these gem-encrusted saxophones.

Zero G Sax

John Mackey worked with Stephen Holgate at ANU to develop this saxaphone counter balance, which eliminates back and neck strain from playing sax while preserving a large degree of freedom of movement.

Something like this might encourage more people to take up baritone sax.

Willy Wonka's Evil Twin

If you buy an Ozzy Ozbourne signature harmonica you might get one with a golden ticket, which is redeemable for a harp signed by by the prince of darkness himself.

Saber Cuándo Sostenerlos

This playing card-themed Vihuela was on display at the DR Strings booth.

Regal Banjos

A well-appointed banjo is kind of like a stylish Corolla or dapper work boots.

The Banjo Tribe

Banjo players are a breed apart and I beleive this may be their tribal symbol.

Theremin Plus

Along with the traditional Theremin volume control, the Theresyn has a touch pad on the side that can trigger the sounds produced by its analog monosynth.

I'm not certain if those strings on the back are meant to be plucked or if they resonate sympathetically.

App Accessory

This snazzy item is a 2-watt amp with a mouthpiece to route your breath to the phone mic, which triggers the sounds in the Songbird Ocarina app. Hat and beard dye extra.

Strolling Sitarist

I came across this fellow wandering the halls of NAMM playing the Limulus electric sitar while wearing a battery-powered amplifier backback.

The Real Deal

These guys are manufacturing honest to god, no digital nothin', electric pianos. And they sound great.

Swanky Hooter

Connoisseurs of fine melodicas will be drawn to this most well-appointed of hooters.

I couldn't find these on the Hammond US site so I've linked to the EU site.

Infinity Piano

Duuuuude, this piano goes on, for like forever.

REO Keywagon

Perfect for touring pianists.


Turn your Story & Clark grand into a piano bar with lights, usb chargers, and places to set your drinks.

I would love to see one of these on stage for a piano recital.

Cigar Store Kanaka Maoli

It was just a matter of time until a cigar box ukulele came into being.

Episodic Ukes

It looks to me like Shaggy and Scooby are running from the street cone-wearing zombies, which will ineveitably turn out to actually be Old Man Jenkins and his sons trying to run some land purchase scam.

That's Very Nice Dear

I was going to get snarky about the quality artwork on these ukes but then I realized that these are kits that you paint yourself.

Shotgun Approach

There's something for everyone here, at least everyone who wants a ukulele, which apparently is pretty much everyone.

I'm thinking that in a few years this show will need to be renamed The NAUM Show.

Marbled Endsheets

When I saw the finishes on these basses I immediately thought of the paper inside the cover of a finely bound book.

Taking Wing

This child's piano was simply adorable. Gone are the days of poorly-tuned tines, these contain digial keyboards with multiple sounds and a USB port to connect to piano learning apps.

NAMM Collage

The instruments that Jens Ritter produces are usually in the interesting, beautiful, and expensive range. This year they took a trip back to elementary school to create a NAMM memory book of a bass.

Double Helix

I've worked with a handful of what I consider true bass players. Musicians who are not failed guitar players but those for whom the bass is intertwined in their DNA. This bass is for them.

Inverse Leslie

At Lowrey, the speakers are stationary and the organ spins.

Mr. Clean

I was drawn to the uncluttered design of these semi-hollow body basses.

Next Up: Techno Geek Toys

©2017 Barry Wood