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Music

Vibrating stool puts drummers in touch with their bottom end

The thunderous punch of a bass drum is the time-honored foundation on which all of rock 'n' roll is built. That thud that hits you in the chest and moves your whole body … it taps into a deep and primal place in our subconscious. But while the crowd is enjoying the power of the bass drum amplified through huge sub-woofers, the poor drummer himself is usually hearing a poxy, paper-thin, bassless pop from a tiny onstage foldback speaker. Trying desperately to feel the bass, they often turn the onstage monitors up to ear-splitting volumes, but you just can't get that kind of low end out of small speakers. Enter the BC2 (formerly known as the BumChum) from Britain's Porter and Davies - a simple two-part system that takes the bass drum signal and literally shakes the drummer's butt with it through a vibrating stool. Read More

Items from the estate of Les Paul head for charity auction block

Mention the name Les Paul, and most people will think of Gibson's famous guitar and not the extraordinary person after which it was named. To mark what would have been the 97th birthday of the accomplished guitarist and visionary inventor born Lester Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915, Julien's Auctions will host an auction of some of Les Paul's personal estate. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Les Paul Foundation, a charity that encourages young people to pursue their curiosity and innovation about music, sound and engineering.Read More

Vocaloid keyboard lets your fingers do the talking - or singing

Growing out a of a research project led by Kenmochi Hideki at Spain’s Pompeu Fabra University in 2000, Yamaha’s Vocaloid is a singing synthesizer that lets those with a voice like Roseanne Barr after a big night out synthesize more pleasing vocals by inputting lyrics and melody. While the current commercial version of Vocaloid 3 requires these inputs to be prepared on a PC prior to a performance, Yamaha has now developed a Vocaloid keyboard prototype that lets users input lyrics and melody and generate a singing voice in real time.Read More

Boingy Boingy suspended drum kit gets drummers moving

You gotta feel sorry for drummers in rock bands. While the guitarists and singers get to run all over the stage, they’re just stuck in the back, sitting on their stool. Well, Canadian inventor Charlie Rose set out to change that. The result is Boingy Boingy – a drum set suspended in mid-air by car springs, that lurches around like a mechanical bull as it’s being played ... as can be seen in the video at the end of the article, it’s definitely entertaining.Read More

Ghost Pedal lets guitarists wander the stage and wah

No matter the size of the stage, most gigging guitar players are likely to have to return to the same spot from time to time to change the tone, increase the volume, check tuning or to operate the wah effect. Thanks to a team of students from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering, the last of those has now been liberated from the pedal board and strapped to the player's ankle. But this doesn't involve attaching a large brick-shaped wah pedal to one leg, as one's imagination might suggest, but wearing a small wireless transmitter and a couple of sensors instead. Players operate the Ghost Pedal in much the same fashion as a physical pedal, the sensors registering the rocking motion of the foot and feeding data to a base station connected to the amplifier.Read More

Review

Review: The OPC musician's computer/amp from Orange Amps

The first OPC from Orange Amps was made available in August 2010 and we've been closely following its development ever since. The bundled musician-related software has remained pretty much the same since launch but the musician's computer was given a serious hardware upgrade towards the close of 2011, and it's the new Core i7 system which I've been getting to know over the past few weeks. I've also managed to discuss some of the finer details with the driving force behind the OPC, and its lead developer, Charlie Cooper.Read More

Researcher spins spider silk into violin strings

Spider silk is turning out to be a remarkably versatile material. Aside from having a higher heat conductivity than any other organic matter and proteins for inserting genes into cells, strings from a spider have also been found to have a very high tensile strength. One researcher in Japan has studied this property of spider silk for decades, and recently unveiled a new application for it by weaving together thousands of strands of spider filaments and using them as violin strings.Read More

There's a spider in my guitar: Olaf Diegel's beautifully detailed 3D printed guitars

Gizmag has featured many guitars over the years that have veered well away from slight design variations on the ubiquitous Les Paul or Strat body shapes. There have been those which are just stunning (Di Donato/Stereo Acoustic/Tesla Prodigy), others have a look that's both familiar and strange (Ministar/Jetson/Sonic Wind), and others still that are quite frankly bizarre (gAtari 2600/iTar). I think it's fair to say, though, that none have ever looked quite as extraordinarily beautiful as Olaf Diegel's 3D-printed Scarab and Spider electric guitars. Read More

The amazing Beatjazz Hands 3D-printed gestural digital music interface

A few days ago, my colleague Eric Mack brought together eight of the coolest items produced by 3D printing - I'd now like to add a ninth. Digital music artist and inventor Onyx Ashanti has spent the last couple of years creating a wearable system to help him break away from the confines of the front of a computer screen and create improvised music using wireless gestural interface controllers. His original prototype Beatjazz controller was made from cardboard and featured pressure sensors, accelerometers and an iPhone. The vast majority of the latest version has been 3D printed, and it looks and sounds incredible.Read More

Wrist "piano" puts music at your fingertips

We've all drummed our fingers when impatient or bored, but the arrival of a wrist-mounted finger "piano" from Japan could change all that in a snap. It looks more like an EKG for your hand than a musical instrument but comes with a full octave of range - one note for each finger and three on the wrist unit.Read More

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