We all know that breathing helium makes you sound like Mickey Mouse. But does that pitch change affect the air you blow into a saxophone or a bagpipe? The guys from The King of the Random conducted a few experiments to test out the impact of helium and sulfur hexafluoride on the frequencies wind instruments produce.
THE BEST Musical Instruments
There’s a musical instrument called a steel guitar, but it’s named for its metal slide, and not the material it’s made from. But metalsmith Paul Pinto decided to actually make a guitar out of the weighty metal. Watch as he cuts, welds, forges, and grinds a steel plate into a beautiful chrome-plated instrument. Now how does it sound?
Wonder World shows us an unusual guitar that uses a motorized wheel to strum its strings, so the person playing it only needs to worry about the frets. Anthony Dickens‘ unique instrument has a other interesting innovations like the ability to output sounds one string at a time with the push of a button.
Developed by Magenta using Google AI tech, Tone/Transfer takes ordinary sounds like a human voice and makes them sound like a musical instrument. It can also digest the sounds made by one kind of musical instrument and map them onto a different one. You can play with the online demo for yourself.
Music equipment rental company Gate to Hell shared footage of them assembling an enormous drum kit at Essen, Germany concert venue Turock. After the massive rig of percussion instruments was set up, musician Jürgen “Ventor” Reil from the band Kreator put the drum set to the test.
AKAI Pro’s standalone digital wind instrument can be played like a flute, oboe, or saxophone. It has 200 built-in acoustic and synthesized sounds, and can be listened to via its built-in speaker, a 1/4″ audio output, or headphones. It also works as a USB-MIDI controller.
The MicroFreak Vocoder Edition, is an an updated version of Arturia’s hybrid analog/digital synthesizer with voice-enhancing capabilities. It includes a 16-band vocoder and a gooseneck electret mic for capturing your voice. Those with a standard MicroFreak can add vocoder ability via a firmware update.
The music that they create might not be the most melodic, but the way “post-electronic” London quartet Oscillatorial Binnage makes its strange and ethereal sounds certainly is creative. The band plays instruments made from recycled objects that reverberate when exposed to electromagnetic fields.
It’s not often that you encounter a musical instrument that you’ve never heard of. Well, here’s your chance to see and hear 72 of them, all played back-to-back by musician and inventor Nicolas Bras, who created each of these unusual instruments from scratch, mostly using things you can find at your local hardware store.
Musician Tolgahan Çoğulu shows off a unique instrument he put together after his son Atlas gave him the idea. The acoustic guitar uses LEGO studs all along its neck, allowing for microtonal positions throughout the fretboard. The trick was to build a custom 3D printed baseplate for the LEGO bricks to click onto.
The latest edition of the Roadie automatic tuner is twice as fast as the Roadie 2. It can tune almost any stringed instrument with geared pegs in a couple of seconds, and can quickly wind new strings to the proper tension before tuning. It also supports alternative tunings, and doubles as a vibrating metronome.
Here’s an unusual musical instrument we never heard of before now. Created in the 17th century, the enormous baroque theorbo is basically a lute on steroids. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explain the history of the theorbo, and provide a sampling of the sounds that it produces.
The kalimba is a small musical instrument that’s played by thumping your fingers on its springy metal keys. But the same idea can be DIYed using a bunch of popsicle sticks, screwed in place at varying lengths along a board. Mr. Mash shows off his homemade instrument, along with an abridged version of his how-to video.
Typewriters have gone the way of the dinosaur, rarely used by anyone but the most hipster of writers these days. But the Boston Typewriter Orchestra continues to get use out of these mechanical office relics, even when forced to work from home due to their in-person concerts being canceled.
David Klavins builds musical instruments unlike any other. Combining design elements from upright and concert grand pianos, he builds modern, vertically-oriented instruments, including the world’s tallest piano, measuring 15 feet tall. Great Big Story went inside of Klavins’ workshop for a demo of these impressive pianos.
The yellow machine you’re looking at is “Le Mécanophone,” otherwise known as a 1935 Citroën truck, equipped with 42 different car horns. But this thing doesn’t just beep, it’s basically a calliope on wheels. We want one of these just so we can honk at traffic all day long.
Made by Japanese toy company Kiko+ and gg, this beech wood burger and fries are designed for kids, but we’d be happy to play with our food too. The cheeseburger clacks like a castanet, while the fries make the sounds of maracas. We want one of their telephones for our desk too.
This pocketable, palm-size gadget is a real-time performance controller for MIDI- or OSC-compatible music software. It has two backlit, velocity sensitive pad grids, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and a joystick for adding expression to your digital music. Pairs with iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows via Bluetooth LE or USB Type-C.
You’d think that a violin could only sound like a violin, but OddViolin proves that wrong by making his sound like a flute, harmonica, cello, and even bagpipes. Previously, he convinced the string instrument to sound like animals and make various sound effects.
Artist and musician Bichopalo makes unusual electromechanical musical instruments which incorporate organic shapes and plant life. At the center of the magical Plantyflutesizer is a spherical birdhouse, where his avian pals Pico and Verdi take up residence and enjoy a soothing ambient tune.
With help from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, musician Rob Scallon got to check out how a pipe organ works, and noticed that the one they have is capable of outputting MIDI signals. After a bit of experimenting, he figured out its keyboard and pedals can also be controlled via the digital music protocol.
Scrap wood City wanted to make a sword out of wood. But rather than just build a weapon, he created a funky musical instrument instead. The three-stringed electric lap guitar features brass and copper hardware, and can be played with a slide like a steel guitar.
Colorful, see-through Little Gem banjo ukuleles are fun to play and super fun to look at, especially the new light-up model with three LED settings, including sound-activated. It’s plastic but it’s a serious instrument, well-built with a maple neck, sealed tuners and USB charging cable. A NAMM “Best in Show” winner.
This amazing gadget for guitarists takes the analog sounds of your instrument and layers them with thick synthesized enhancements. The Boss Synth SY-1000 pedalboard gives guitars a whole new range of capability, with its sophisticated sound engine, and the ability to produce a mix of rich acoustic and electric tones.
A few years back, we learned about musician and artist Andy Thurlow’s collection of unique musical instruments, known as The Anarchestra. Documentarian Daniel Wolverton of Special Head returns to visit with Andy and check out some of the strange and wonderful noise makers he’s built in the past few years.
Artiphon’s Orba is a unique instrument that is sort of the musical equivalent of a fidget spinner. It combines a synthesizer, looper, and MIDI controller all in one, and is small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. It’s great for tinkering around with all kinds of sounds whether you’re bored or working on your next great composition.
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