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Music

The SLAPEROO - rhythm on a stick

Eight years ago, California musician Andy Graham had a fateful meeting with a shipping crate. The container had a tightly-wound steel strap wrapped around it, and was slightly dented at the top, creating a small gap beneath the strap. By slapping that strap against the crate, Graham discovered that he could make all sorts of interesting noises. That experience motivated him to create the SLAPEROO, a unique musical instrument that we spied last week at NAMM 2012.Read More

Play harmonica on your iPhone with the iMonica app

There's no denying the popularity of music creation apps for the iPhone. Just about every instrument you want to play is available as a digital simulation - from guitars to pianos to drums, and even DJ decks - but what about wind instruments? The iMonica app for iPhone from DigitarWorld most definitely fits into this category and turns your iPhone into a digital diatonic harmonica. So, do you blow and draw on your smartphone? Kind of ...Read More

Winter NAMM 2012 in pictures

The 110th National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show wrapped up on Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. With upwards of 1400 exhibitors and a record breaking 95,709 registered attendees, the trade-only show delivered four days of the most mind-boggling array of musical hardware (and software) that you're likely to see anywhere. We've already reported on some of the outstanding innovations we encountered - and there's more to come - but in the meantime we hope this photo journal will give you a taste of the musical wonderland that is the NAMM show floor.Read More

Use your iPhone to change the effects on the iStomp pedal

The never-ending quest for killer effects pedals is an expensive and time-consuming passion that most electric guitar players will have to endure for much of their playing careers (unless you're lucky enough to hit on the perfect setup early on, of course). Effects veteran DigiTech has developed a stompbox that could well put that quest to bed. The iStomp effects pedal effectively starts life as a blank canvas onto which the user paints a wall of sound in the shape of a downloadable effect. Just like any other stompbox, the new pedal allows for fine adjustment of tone with parameter knobs, but if you fancy a brand new flavor of distortion or a completely different reverb to the one which is resident on the pedal, you can just buy the effect from DigiTech's online store and download it onto the iStomp via your iOS device.Read More

This record player reads tree rings instead of LPs

Artists often say they can find music in everything, particularly nature. The question they often face is how to get the general public to hear the same tune that they do. One German artist, Bartholomäus Traubeck, seems to have hit on one straightforward method to accomplish this with some clever technology. Using a digital camera and some software, the artist has built a unique record player that spins cross-sections of trees instead of vinyl and translates the rings into piano music. Read More

Roland and Fender announce the G-5 Stratocaster with COSM technology

Roland and Fender have joined forces to create a guitar called the G-5, that fuses a traditional Stratocaster body shape with cutting edge digital music technology. Set to hit the shelves a few months before either of the Auto-Tune guitars from Peavey and Parker, the VG Strat G-5 offers similar alternate tuning at the turn of a knob, a host of onboard digital guitar emulations and the chance to dial in different pickup and signature guitar sounds, too.Read More

iRig MIX compact mobile mixer for the mobile DJ

Apps that transform an iOS device into a portable DJ system (such as Algoriddim's djay app) have been around for a good while now, but the restricted screen space on small devices can lead to somewhat limited mixing functionality. Budding party disc jockeys can get more control from physical deck emulators like Numark's iDJ Live, but those with an appetite for real-time mixing of music stored on more than one device have now been catered for with the upcoming release of the iRig MIX from IK Multimedia. This compact mobile mixer can auto match the tempo from any type of audio source with the tunes on a connected iOS device, features an extra input for an instrument or microphone, and comes with four free music apps.Read More

PocketStrings takes guitar practice on the road

Guitarists don't like to be parted from their guitars. Even as a rank amateur, I get a nagging itch in my fingers after a couple of axeless weeks on the road. But guitars take up a lot of space and they are expensive to haul with you on a plane, so I often find myself seeking out music shops just so I can have a noodle. It's exactly this kind of affliction that PocketStrings is designed to address. It's not an instrument and it doesn't make a sound, but this portable mock-up of the first four frets of a guitar could help you satisfy the playing itch as well as giving beginners and more experienced players a take-anywhere tool on which to practice chords and build finger strength while keeping your calluses tough.Read More

Fender announces first ever multi-effects unit - the Mustang Floor

We've been treated to a number of Fender stomp boxes over the years - like the classic Fender Blender and BOSS collaborations like the '65 Deluxe Reverb - but the iconic manufacturer has never gathered all its tone tweaking know-how into one big bundle ... until now. The new Mustang Floor brings together dozens of effects, amp modeling and computer interaction into one rather attractive multi-effects unit.Read More

The Vortex: the world's first USB/MIDI Keytar Controller

Noted rock vocalist and bass player Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and more recently Black Country Communion) has often been quoted as saying that, for him, much of the 1980s was just a blur. It's probably just as well, or he might have had a hard time dealing with the emergence of the keytar - a strap-on keyboard that has a little neck with a number of parameter-changing buttons on it. Okay, I admit it, I'm not a great fan of the Jan Hammers and Jean-Michel Jarres of this world, but those who want to emulate these digital music innovators without digging deep for a Korg, Roland or Moog original can now rejoice with the release of the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex from Alesis.Read More

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