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Music

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

Take your tunes in the water with the Eco Terra boombox

Liquipel nanocoating may well keep moisture from damaging the inner workings of mobile devices but if you're looking to share your tunes with friends at the beach or pool, you need something with a bit more output than the resident speakers. Grace Digital has just announced the release of a fully waterproof boombox for smartphones or digital music players that was first seen as a limited preview at CES 2011. The Eco Terra Boombox is fully submersible, waterproof and shock resistant, and can even keep cash and valuables safe and secure as it pumps out the music while bobbing on the surface of the water.Read More

The House of Marley releases handy new Bag of Rhythm personal speaker system

The House of Marley recently celebrated a certain Reggae legend's birthday with the release of the Bag of Rhythm portable stereo speaker system. Topped by a solid piece of FSC-certified Birch wood and coming in its own durable cotton canvas bag, the device can output 32 watts of sonic power through two 1-inch tweeters and two 4.5-inch woofers, and features an iPod/iPhone dock that can charge while playing.Read More

Grace Digital's flagship Mondo Wi-Fi Media Player released

San Diego's Grace Digital has finally announced the release of its flagship Mondo Wi-Fi Music Player, first seen at CES 2011. The first of three new devices to swell the company's family of audio products, Mondo features a large high contrast color TFT display with adjustable brightness, can access thousands of online radio stations over a Wi-Fi connection, and is also capable of streaming music stored on a PC, Mac or network attached storage device.Read More

Feature

A closer look at Don Gilmore's self-tuning piano system

A few years ago Gibson began introducing some clever new technology to a select few guitars which automatically tuned the instrument and kept it there (seen most recently in the gorgeous Firebird X). I think that it's fair to say that robot tuning has not quite been a phenomenal success, perhaps due to the fact that tuning six strings only takes a few seconds and doesn't require any specialist training. That's certainly not true of the piano, which has more than 200 strings divided between 88 keys and its tuning is, for the most part, gratefully handed over to the experienced ear of a professional technician. In the 1990s, Kansas City mechanical engineer and classically-trained pianist Don A Gilmore created a mechanical self-tuning device for the piano. From there he went on to develop a thermal system that can bring the whole instrument to tune within a minute.Read More

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