Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2013 Edition

Packrat Barry


The Hurdy Gurdy Mothership

Absolutely everyone that I know who was at NAMM asked me the same question: "Did you see that round keyboard thing in Hall E?"

The Wheelharp is essentially a huge motorized Hurdy Gurdy that covers a multiple-octave range. Before you get too excited, these sell for about $10,000+

Antiquity Music

Don't Be Lax, Cover Your Axe

And that concludes our safe sax public service announcement for the day.

Instrument Care Apparel, LLC

Digi Gilespie

You don't see many of Nyle Steiner's EVIs around, particularly one outfitted with wireless MIDI like James Ingenito's.

James Ingenito

Metal Shop Music Project

The makers of the Slaperoo were showing a prototype Slaperoo-type instrument made up of four tuned bars.

The tone produced was less "glockenspiel" and more "rock in a dumpster."

Andy Graham Productions

Vlad the Bow Maker

These cute Bow Hold Buddies impaled on the bow are actually bow grip learning aids that force the player to use a proper bow grip.

I like the fact that the frog is on the frog.

Things 4 Strings, LLC

Plastic: Material of the Future, Today

At about $140, the Tromba is a great product for kids learning to play trombone. I can't remember how many time I had to have mine repaired after dinging the slide or breaking it in some other fashion.

I played one of these but I can't really tell you about the tone because my embouchure is 30+ years out of date.

As you can see they've also got a trumpet, which is a little more expensive due to the instrument being more complex.

Shanghai Shinsen Imp.& Exp. Ltd.

The Plastic Oh No Band

It looks like 2013 is going the be the breakout year for plastic band instruments. While clear saxophone looks cool, that probably would have been kind of disgusting for the trombone or trumpet. At least the player could see when they need to open their spit valve.

  • Vibrato Co., Ltd.
  • 11/248 Thantawat 5, Soi Watcharaphon,
  • Ram Intha Rd. Bangkhen, Bkk Thailand 10220
  • 02-519-7603
Vibrato Co., Ltd.

No Instrument Left Behind

When instruments are made of plastic it's kind of a stretch to continue calling them brass or woodwinds. Then again, people still talking about "taping" TV shows and making "records."

  • Nuvo Instrumental, Ltd.
  • Unit 15A, 8/F, Manning Industrial Bldg
  • 116 How Ming Street
  • Kwun Ton, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • +852 23048931
Nuvo Instrumental, Ltd.

All That's Plastic is Not Cheap

Gua makes instruments that are made of something they call "Grenaditte" as well others simply made out of "high grade polymer." Neither option is particularly affordable.

Guo Musical Instruments Company

Giant's Paperclip

That's enough of the plastic stuff, so here's a big hunk of metal. I almost expect to see Admiral Nelson perched atop the air column produced by this Contrabass Flute.

KHS America

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

…or not. I think these just may be the ugliest violins that I've ever laid eyes upon.

Thank god they're electric violins and have less surface area to display the atrocious patterns lifted from fabrics found in thrift store bargain bins.

Taixing Fengling Musical Instruments Co., Ltd.

Inked Strings

The artwork on the sides of this cello and violin have that NBA-player-tattoo look to them.

Scott Cao Violins

Ventilated Violin

Instead of dressing up the sides, this violin does away with them almost completely.

  • Concord International Group, Inc.
  • 2380 Vantage Drive
  • Elgin, IL 60123
  • (847) 836-8688
Concord International Group, Inc.

Is That a Chord Harmonica In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Really Glad to See Me?

Chord Harmonicas aren't particularly new but they'd not crossed my before so here they land.

Suzuki Corporation

5-String Chimera

For some reason there were a plethora* of 5-string basses that caught my eye this year. Here is the first of the 5 fives I found.

Sandberg calls this the "Sybil" bass, which I'm sure is a reference to this film.

* In case you were wondering, I consider five or more similar oddities a "plethora." You do know what a plethora is don't you?

Sandberg Guitars

How's This One Grab You?

If Leland Sklar had this bass it would complete his transformation to Leland the White.

Spear Guitars

Shapely Low End

This is the counterpart to the Lairat guitar that I covered in 2010.

  • Paul Lairat Luthier
  • Rte de Roquemaure Chemin du Rimonet
  • 84100 Orange
  • 00 33 (0)4 90 51 12 56
Paul Lairat Luthier

A Bass for Headlining Acts

Yeah, that was a bad joke but at least I didn't try to work in something about a corduroy pillow.

  • Gitary Mayones s.c.
  • ul. Narwicka 10
  • 80-557 Gdansk, Poland
  • +48 58 343 07 83
Gitary Mayones s.c.

Straddling The Line

I'm not sure if the Marleaux Diva bass is attractive or ugly. It's definitely got its own look going on. Somebody must have liked it because it's got a "sold" tag on it.

  • Marleaux BassGuitars
  • Sägemüllerstraße 37
  • D-38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
  • +49 (0)5323 - 81747
Marleaux BassGuitars

Use a Ruler Next Time

Actually these frets are supposed to look like that. This 7-string bass is equipped with a True Temperament neck.

Mattisson endorsee, Henrik Linder of the band Dirty Loops, was at the booth. That guy's got some serious chops.


Flitting From Oddity to Oddity

I'm sure that Markbass sells some kind of useful products but it was endorsee Igor Saavedra with his custom 8-string bass that caught my attention.


I Promised Myself…

…that I'd try to avoid ukuleles at NAMM, but there are just too many of them nowadays. In this case, I was lured in by the tiki and then snared by Ukulele with a USB port.

Lanikai Ukuleles
Next Up: Techno Geek Toys

©2013 Barry Wood