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Percussion

— Music

Roland merges traditional and modern with hybrid cajón

Thought to have originated as a simple communication tool for slaves, the cajón has been accompanying traditional music for many years. More rhythmic flavors have been added to today's boxes in the shape of snare springs, jangly accessories and kick pedals. At Frankfurt's Musikmesse last year, Germany's Flink Labs brought the instrument bang up to date with a cajón-sized electronic drum machine called the Flink, which had rubber pads out front that triggered samples when bashed. Roland has opted for a best of both worlds approach and married acoustic with digital for the EL Cajon EC-10.

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— Music

BeatBuddy drummer in a stomp gets a baby brother

After raising more than four times the project goal on Indiegogo, David Packouz began shipping his BeatBuddy drum machine in a stomp to backers in August last year. Gizmag got to call on the realistic-sounding and very responsive percussive skills of Singular Sound's virtual bin basher at commercial release time and we were mighty impressed. Now the company has announced a less expensive, and slightly less capable, version called the BeatBuddy Mini.

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— Wearables

DrumPants as a trigger-activated communication system

DrumPants, the wireless device that converts your pants into a wearable MIDI controller and music sequencer, can now bring a different kind of music to the ears of those around you. Its creators have recently started a beta test program that uses DrumPants triggers (sensor strips that wirelessly connect to a control box) to control lights and doors and to give a voice to those who have none. People with injuries or disorders that limit their ability to speak can tap the trigger on their body or wheelchair to activate an app that reads out loud any customizable statements or text messages, thereby enabling them to communicate more effectively with others.

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— Music

Yamaha's motorcycle designers make some (musical) noise

Engineers and designers from the Yamaha Corporation and the Yamaha Motor Company have changed places for a rather special project called Ah A May (that's Yamaha backwards). Musical instrument creators have been tasked with producing motorcycle and bicycle prototypes, while folks from the motorcycle design house were let loose on a pair of percussion instruments. Let's have a look at the latter. Read More
— Music

Music gear that struck the right chord in 2014

It's been another strong year for instrument innovation, making the task of choosing a top five quite a challenge. Though many excellent examples of envelope pushing have popped up on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo during 2014, including the Hammer Jammer and Aalberg's Ekko and Aero, we allowed those to fall gracefully to the cutting room floor in favor of tech that's available now. Join Gizmag as we take a look back at some of the top groove gadgets of the last 12 months. Read More
— Music Review

Review: BeatBuddy drum machine in a stomp

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
— Music

Ruach gives always-in-tune Live Series cajon its own kick

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
— Music

Hammer Jammer brings a percussive twist to playing guitar

With what's got to be one of the shortest campaign pitches on Kickstarter, Ken McCaw is putting second production run hopes for his Hammer Jammer percussive guitar attachment in the hands of players. Described as essentially turning the guitar into a new instrument, the fretting hand is still used to form chord shapes or single-note runs. But players tap, stroke or bash the big raised "buttons" at the picking end, causing soft or hard hammers to sound the strings.

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— Music

Spark shaker harvests kinetic energy for the developing world

In 15 years as a percussionist with British electronica band Faithless, Sudha Kheterpal has spent countless nights energetically bashing away on cymbals, snares and high-hats. This has inspired her to wonder how the power of music could be extended beyond the flailing arms and shaking hips in the crowd. She has now teamed up with designers and engineers to develop Spark, a shaker that harnesses kinetic energy with the aim of bringing power to the developing world. Read More
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