Barry Wood's NAMM Oddities 2022 Edition

Packrat Barry


An Enormous Schwanzschtücker

With a name like "Big Johnson," you'd be excused for thinking this acoustic bass is trying compensate for something, but the reality is that generating the acoustic energy required for low notes requires air volume. You can't dig a ditch with a spoon.


MIDI Retrofit

Digitaize has kits for violin, viola, cello, and upright bass that put a sensor over the fingerboard to detect note on/off and pitch. It also includes a motion sensor you can use for additional control and an integrated microphone. Audio and data is wirelessly transmitted via Bluetooth.

Travel Harmonium

Finally a product for the classical Indian musician on the go. When in travel mode, the bellows close and it all drops down into the case.


It Actually Can Be More Annoying

The next step in the musical arms race would be to plug an accordion into a Marshall Stack. Where will the madness stop? I just hope no one brings a vuvuzela into this—the results would surely violate the Geneva Convention.


Crate o' Clavier

I'll admit that "Pocketpiano" might be a marginally catchier title, but mine is more accurate—you'd need some seriously large pockets to take theirs literally. In terms of playability, I thought the action was pretty darn nice for something that packed down so small.



It's one thing to understand that a Mellotron works by drawing lengths of audio tape across tape heads, it's another to actually see it in action.

Tyne Time

Not be outdone by the Mellotron, Rhodes drew back the curtain on the innards of their electric piano.


Salacious & Defiant

The top one is called "Ruby’s Dilemma." At this point, the bottom one should be called "Putin's Dilemma."


Identical Twins

Being a Stick player, I don't quite know what the point is of having two identically tuned necks, but it was fun to play in any case.



If you'd told me in grade school that someday, the crappy wooden recorder I was hooting away on would have "built-in wireless connectivity, digital sensor platform, and interactive app"…I'd have stared at you warily because it was 1970 and those words wouldn't mean anything to me. But now that I know what all that is, the re.corder is no less amazing. If Artinoise can revamp the World's Uncoolest Instrument into something that interests kids enough to continue with music, it's a good thing.


Wind Bling

If the kids stick with the re.corder long enough they can eventually upgrade to the R1, which is worth the upgrade just for the cool light show.

Not Subtle

Let just say understatement is not one of the virtues often expressed by Warrior Instruments… which is just fine by me.


Mid Century Aesthetic

This reminds me of designs seen in old ceramic lamps that I saw as a child. To really nail it, they need to do one in avocado green…and offer a matching refrigerator.


Wishful Bluing

While I'm sure the finish on the Valkyrie is produced by some boring chemical process, I choose to believe that they employ the most accomplished players in the world to blow licks so hot that it causes discoloration.


Color Combos for the Colorblind

These 3D printed violins sounded much better than they looked, but maybe some people don't mind craving sherbet every time they sit down to play. There's got to be someone with some design chops that can help them out.


Unlikely Paring

Elvis and ukuleles go together like TVs and Colt .45s. At least "Blue Hawaii" actually involved a ukeulele.


Dude, Turn on the Blacklight

Like getting stoned, watching the Wizard of Oz while playing Dark Side of the Moon at the same time, seeing this bass under a blacklight is probably something best left to professionals.


Back to the Roots

In 2017 3Dvarius were showing their 3D printed violins. It seems like a bit of a reverse pivot to go back to wooden instruments. Even so, you'd be hard-pressed to call these "traditional."


Classy Cases

These aren't as baggage handler-resistant as your typical flight case but they're certainly more aesthetically pleasing.

Next Up: Techno Geek Toys

©2022 Barry Wood