Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2020 Edition

Packrat Barry


Gatling Harp

Richard Jordan Gatling was a prolific inventor. If he'd had musical inclinations, he would have no doubt created something like this Concerto Steel 6 way back in the 19th century.


Vestigial Body

Even though this is a digital piano, I'd be on board with the useless lid if its position had an effect on the sound.

Don't get your hopes up; Roland has no plans to actually put this one-of-a-kind GPX-F1 Facet Grand Piano into production.


More Than Happy

I think the guy demoing this instrument was just the sort of person that Carlin was referring to.

Odd String Count(down)

The next four entries feature unusual string configurations. Coming at 15 is this double neck from Claas that's got a a 6-string fanned fret bass neck and a 9-string guitar neck.


Way Too Much Uke

At 12 strings, we've got the Ortega double neck ukulele. One neck has doubled strings and the other is the normal four.


Two-Thirds of a 12-String

The Octofone is essentially the highest four courses of a 12-string guitar. This could be a very cool instrument for layering purposes in a recording.


When East Meets West

While this is similar to a shamisen, the inclusion frets and electronics make it something else entirely. It's got one bass string and two guitar strings and two outputs so you can amplify/process/record the bass separately from the guitar strings.


MIDI Mouth Organ

The world of sound has just been opened up to the practitioners of the tin sandwich.


A Stout Powerhouse

The Sylphyo is positioned as an electronic instrument for many woodwind and brass players with fingerings for flute, sax, clarinet, or trumpet. It can output seven different continuous controllers simultaneously via breath, touch sliders, and the 3-axis orientation of the instrument.


A Host of Harp Guitars

I often see solitary harp guitars roaming the NAMM savanna, but it's rare to see so many in one place. It must be mating season.


Manufactured Hardwood

Instead of using old-growth hardwoods (which are getting difficult to source), these guys use a heat and pressure process to compress lighter woods. The blocks you see are the before and after examples. They were showing a guitar by Canna Guitars made from it.


They're Inescapable

Every year I promise that I'm going to try to avoid ukuleles but there are so damn many of them that statistically speaking, there has to be something that I have to include.


21st Century Uke

The EU-ONE is a foldable electronic ukulele. Just because something can be made doesn't mean that it should be made.


Clean Slate

You'd have to work pretty damn hard to drop a pick into this guitar.


Rare Game had a wall full of rare finds, implying that you'll see this stuff on their website. The one that got my attention was this '70s Zhitomir "Stone" guitar made in the Ukraine and owned by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. It didn't say if he actually found it on Reverb.


Black Sheep of the Family

Every family has one. If you're enjoying these pages, it could very well be you.


Taste the Rainbow

Why go with a boring sunburst finish when you could have a starburst?


Fun Size Harps

The "Baby Fat" harmonica is about the size of the miniature candy bars that the cheapskates on your block pass out at Halloween.


Wind Resistance

These devices are designed for brass players so that they can warm up with resistance similar to that of playing the actual horn.


The Missing Link

Many electric string instruments sound kind of thin and boring. These, however, sound much more like actual instruments with pickups installed and have a more complex tone.


Artistic Evolution

In years past I've featured Rozanna's violins more for their kitsch, but these instruments are actually starting to look pretty cool.


Stealth Sax

The "Black Mermaid" stands out by not being flashy, perfect for any ninja sax players that might exist.


Bass With Lime Garnish

It took me longer than I'm comfortable admitting to correctly parse what I read as "Bone Mien Energy."


Essential Essence

The idea of a trombone doesn't distill down any further than the pBuzz.



I saw these 3-string kit guitars at the 2013 show. They get a nod this year because I'm a sucker for translucent instruments.


Genuine Imitation Hammer Action

The Casio Celviano pianos contain actual mechanical hammers. They don't actually strike anything but they do provide keyboard action that's closer to that of an actual piano.


Spin Art For Your Mouth

The mixed colors of these mouthpieces remind me of the spin art of my childhood.


Bespoke Mouthpieces

At first I just thought these were mounthpieces in a variety of colors, but they are customized to your playing style. When you order one you answer a questionnaire about your playing and what you're looking for.


Longhorn Sax Strap

If you're a sax player in a Western swing band, the Whimory sax strap should be mandatory equipment.


Hang Four, Dude

Yeah, this fictitious surf product is somewhat humorous, but it still falls short of the real thing.


Utility Player

The TB10 has a radiused fretboard to allow for bowing. It's also got an end pin so you can play as an upright.


Frag Finger

While having an integrated computer for learning and practice apps sounds like an interesting idea, good luck keeping the kids from playing MMOs on this super-widescreen PNOmation Workstation Windows 10 piano.

Next Up: Techno Geek Toys

©2020 Barry Wood