Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Drums

The BeatBuddy with its footswitch (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

When musician David Packouz couldn't find a stomp-based drum machine that didn't sound, well, like a drum machine or one that could provide fills, changes and accent hits on the fly, he set about designing and building his own. He took his BeatBuddy project to Indiegogo in December 2013 and it went on to raise more than four times its funding goal by the close of the crowdfunding campaign. The first post-crowdfunding production run started shipping at the end of August and Gizmag was offered a system for review. But with my attention focused elsewhere during September (namely the IFA and Photokina trade shows), I had to hold off until mid-October to start spending some quality time with this nifty drummer-in-a-box pedal. And it was definitely worth the wait.  Read More

The wallet-friendly SD500 electronic drum set from Simmons

If you're looking to tap into the versatility and portability of a full featured electronic drum set, you can probably expect to be left with a sizable hole in your savings. California-based e-drum maker Simmons has released a new 5-piece kit that could put the smile back on your bank manager's face. For under half the list price of Yamaha's TD-4KP V-Drums Portable, the SD500's rugged steel frame offers a snare, three toms, a kick drum, two cymbals, hi-hat and pedal and a brand new trigger module with hundreds of available drum sounds.  Read More

Cliphit allows budding drummers to practice on whatever objects are close to hand

Many of us find ourselves tapping our fingers on desks or tabletops at any and every opportunity. It doesn't matter whether or not we've ever actually held a drumstick, if we have a rhythm in our head and a hand free we'll tap out a beat on whatever surface is within reach. We have already seen attempts to turn this from an annoying habit into a way of making something approaching real music, such as the Wavedrum and the TableDrum, but Korg has now upped the ante with Cliphit.  Read More

Stephen Henderson playing a new Ruach Music Live Series cajon

The percussive sound of folks sitting atop a cajón de embalaje and banging out a rhythm has accompanied traditional music for years. Many, many years. Often called a drumkit in a box, many of today's examples come with built-in snare sounds, bass drum pedal attachments and all manner of jingle-jangle accessories, but the basic instrument remains true to its Peruvian ancestors. Teenage cajon maker Stephen Henderson has designed and built a new series of wooden boxes with a 5-way snare lock mechanism and integrated kick pedal.  Read More

The Drumstooled combines a kick drum, reversed pedal and height-adjustable stool

France's Patrice Bardin has come up with a stylish and eye-catching twist on self-accompaniment. Rather than stomp out a backbeat on a kick drum, home-made rhythm board or even an empty suitcase out front while thumping the strings of a battered acoustic guitar and throwing out soulful vocals, the Drumstooled is a mash up of a stool and an acoustic kick drum, with some colorful LED lighting thrown in for good measure.  Read More

The Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine and bass synth from Akai

Solo musicians looking to generate their own backing tracks or DJs wanting to lay down some beats can seek out software solutions, but those who really want to get their hands dirty may prefer to opt for rhythm machines like the recently-announced Electron Rytm or Roland's Aira TB-3. Such things can prove expensive choices though, which makes Akai's vintage-inspired Rhythm Wolf analog drum machine and bass synth with built-in sequencing quite a compelling piece of kit. And yes, it comes with a sonic howl feature.  Read More

Jason Barnes and Professor Gil Weinberg demonstrate the robotic prosthesis

In 2012, Jason Barnes lost the lower part of his right arm after being electrocuted. Though he could have pursued his dream of becoming a professional drummer using only his remaining limb (like Def Leppard's Rick Allen, for example), he decided to build his own stick-wielding prosthesis. The attachment certainly allowed him to make some noise, but it wasn't flexible enough to give the speed or bounce control he was looking for. Now, thanks to the work of Georgia Tech's Professor Gil Weinberg, Barnes is preparing for a gig later this month where a novel robot drumming prosthetic arm will help him pound out precision rhythms with a live band.  Read More

Gizmag looks back at instrument innovations highlights of 2013

It's been another bumper year for new musical instruments. Join us as we look back on some of 2013's high points, including inventions that dare you to play out of tune, new takes on familiar designs, and simply stunning 3D-printed creations.  Read More

The Beatbuddy guitar pedal drum machine from David Packouz

Though noodling is a whole lot of fun, and fingertip calluses certainly need regular workouts, there are times when it would be good to have your very own John Bonham or Mitch Mitchell to provide a rock-steady beat. Playing along to backing tracks or engaging the help of loopers, drum machines or rhythm boxes can work to some degree, but there's little or no room for improvisation or creativity unless you take your hands away from the guitar to mix things up a bit. Billed as the first guitar pedal drum machine, the Beatbuddy from David Packouz puts control of the beat at your feet, leaving your hands free to get on with some serious shredding.  Read More

An ensemble of ODD instruments will take to the stage at Euromold in Frankfurt, Germany, b...

Kiwi Professor of Mechtronics Olaf Diegel has now added a set of drums and a keyboard to his catalog of beautiful 3D-printed instruments. His new creations will join guitar and bass models for a road trip to Frankfurt's EuroMold event next month, where a band will take to the stage to play some live sets using the instruments.  Read More

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