I've seen plenty of electric violins at the NAMM show over the years, so it takes something quite out of the ordinary to get my attention. This nine-string electric violin did just that.
The bottom string is a low E-flat, just below the lowest string on a bass. At that scale length it's as flappy as a one-winged pigeon, but technically it does go down that low.
The humble home organ has evolved to the point where it puts the cockpit display of an F-22 to shame.
You just finished a concert as the soloist playing Mozart A Major K 219 and you go out for a few drinks to celebrate. After a few too many, you wake up at home and instead of a tattoo, your Strad is now sporting one of these lovely designs.
The guy from Gliga at the booth told me that these designs are all hand-burned into the wood and that there is no computer imaging involved.
Ukuleles must multiply like rabbits, or at least like Gosselins. Uke's have always been popular at NAMM but this year you couldn't swing a dead sea sponge over your head without hitting one.
Just in case there's something seriously wrong with you and you really do want to buy a Spongebob Flying V ukulele, if you live in the US you're out of luck. They don't have the rights to sell them here.
When I saw these I thought "Hey, there's something new." After a consulting the Oracle I found that resonator ukes were made as far back as the late 1920s.
What you see here is the U•Bass, a 20" scale bass ukulele that uses jumbo polyurethane strings.
Believe it or not, through an amp this sounded pretty darn good.
Blackbird has had entries in the NAMM Oddities for the last four consecutive years. I'm beginning to suspect that they have a NAMM Oddities-centric business plan.
This year they were showing their brand new carbon fiber ukulele which generated more booth activity than their previous offerings. Go figure.
These instruments look like guitars as interpreted by Dali.
While a soprano bass would seem to be an oxymoron, this little guy looks like it would be fun to play. With a 22.5" scale length it's got the added bonus of fitting in an overhead compartment, that is if airlines allowed you to have more than one carry-on bag.
The ANSIR basses have their necks mounted at an angle to the body to put it into a more comfortable playing position.
In case you were wondering, ANSIR is an acronym for Angled Neck Stringed Instrument Resource.
The pickup that Enfield makes for their instruments is pretty unique. You got two three-position switches that allow you to switch in different combinations of coils in the matrix. Combine that with blend pot and you've got more combinations than you can ever remember at a gig.
The Epoch is a prototype single manual design by Ventura from Brazil. Complete with drawbars and a half-moon switch, this looks like a tidy package. The other production models they had in the booth sounded and played great so I expect the Epoch to be a winner.
©2010 Barry Wood