After tempting us with some candid studio shots last December
, followed by some attention-grabbing showcasing at CES 2013 and NAMM, Artiphon has revealed that its Instrument 1 will shortly be available to buy. The professional-grade instrument leverages the processing power of a docked iPhone or iPod touch running digital music creation and recording apps, such as GarageBand or Animoog. It allows existing guitarists or piano players to use familiar playing styles in a new way, while ushering in a whole new wave of digital music noodlers.
Learning to play guitar is tough. It takes time, dedication and practice. Lots of practice. Fortunately, technology is taking the edge off a little and offering more hope of success to those who might otherwise take an early bath out of frustration. Online teaching services like iPerform3D
provide virtual lessons whenever you need them, hardware additions such as the Maestro
can help guide students to the correct finger positions, and the gTar
marries the power of your iPhone with buttons and strings on a full-sized guitar. The JamStik from Zivix brings many of these aspects (and more) together in a compact portable practice/learning guitar made for the mobile generation.
Over the years, we've seen a number of worthy attempts at turning our clothes into electronic instruments, from drum kits built into shirts
to a motion-activated MIDI controller concealed in a jacket
. The latest addition to the wearable instrument ensemble is "Drop The Beat" from industrial design student Wesley Chau, a vest outfitted with pads for a drum kit that musicians can rearrange and reprogram to their liking.
After a fruitless search for a digital controller/instrument that would allow him to get closer to his audience, San Francisco digital music performer Omni Infinity decided to design and build his own. The guitar-shaped SPACEBASS:01 prototype can house a smartphone placed in the central "spaceport" for wireless touchscreen control of music and art software on a remote computer. There's another port above that can host a variety of third party MIDI modules, a button-packed 12-fret neck and a virtual whammy bar.
We've seen some impressive creations that use LEGO pieces to make music in the past, from a drum machine sequencer
to a Star Wars-themed barrel organ
. More recently though, Italian music producer Giuseppe Acito decided to take the inevitable next step and build a fully working band using the little plastic bricks. The "Toa Mata Band" is made up of several tiny robotic LEGO figures programmed to play a variety of instruments.
Inspired by the many people he encountered at his mother's daycare center for severely disabled children when he was a youngster himself, multi-instrumentalist Dan Daily began working on a digital music system that anyone can play, regardless of ability or physical capability. Several prototypes later, along with some vital technical input from Lockhead Martin subsidiary Sandia National Laboratories, and MidiWing 1 is ready for release.
Gizmag has been following the development of the Antares Auto-Tune for Guitar
technology with great interest since it was first teased back in May 2011. In January 2012, it was launched in two guitars
at the Winter NAMM show, but only one of those has actually made the leap into production. Peavey released its AT-200
as last year came to a close, and I've spent the last few weeks in the company of this game-changing guitar while also chatting with some of the folks involved in its development.
As technology becomes more integrated into our lives, it's reaching a point where the only fodder left for electronic enhancement will be the clothes on our backs. For design group Machina, that notion represents a world of possibilities for how we interact with each other and even create art. The team of anonymous designers recently developed the MJ v01 MIDI Controller jacket, which conceals a variety of sensors that sync to iOS and Android devices to produce electronic music through the wearer's movements.
Educational electronics kits like the one from Minty Geek
are a great introduction to the world of circuit building and electronic tinkering, but are perhaps a little too basic for more advanced hobbyists. Three MIT students are currently enjoying enormous success on the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform with a DIY Tesla coil kit called oneTesla that can make artificial lightning sing ... well, erm, play music from a MIDI source. Now where did I put that polyphonic version of This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us