Monday, November 09, 2009

Recycled Bass Guitar

I love this simple idea:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amplified Cajon from Tycoon Percussion

Check out this cool Cajon from Tycoon Percussion. It includes an embedded amplifier and speaker to produce a larger sound that the acoustic instrument itself. I don't own one, but this is a cool idea.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bowed Piano

Great video of a bowed piano:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale

This is an absolutely amazing demostration of the intuitiveness of the pentatonic scale by Bobby McFarrin, during session of the World Science Festival 2009

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

iphone app: Cleartone Tuner

I was looking for a digital tuner application to add to my iphone, so that I am never without a digital tuner. There are so many times that I am in a vendors booth at festival, looking at purchasing a new instrument, or even checking the tuning of my 'toys' at the beginning of a jam session. I thought that it would be useful to have a digital tuner app on my iphone.
After some research and looking at reviews for all of the digital tuner applications in the iTunes app store, I decided to purchase the Cleartune app from bitcount.
Cleartune features a unique "note wheel" interface allowing you to quickly find your pitch, paired with a highly responsive fine-tuning meter for the perfect tune. See the screenshot above for what it looks like. Some of the other features that I like include:
  • You can change the sensitivity of the needle, so that it doesn't bounce around so much.
  • You can select: "Pitchpipe" to have it generate a tone
  • You can select up to 23 temperaments out of the box, and you can enter in your own.
  • Cleartune supports A4 calibration in increments of 0.1Hz.

All in all, I really like the design and function of this application.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Does the Belkin TuneTalk work with iPhone?

I discovered that the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo microphone indeed functions beautifully with my iPhone 3G. I purchased the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo microphone originally, to use with my iPod fifth generation. It worked great with my iPod, except for the occasion hickup when the iPod 5G would pause for a second to write to disk (very annoying). But the sound quality was great. When I purchased my iPhone 3G, I was curious if it would work, so I plugged the microphone into my iPhone. It fits perfectly, however, you get the following message popping up on the screen when you plug it in.

But if you discard the message (by tapping on NO) and them open up the iTalk application (by Griffin Technology) you now have an awesome portable digital recorder. I haven't found anything better yet for the iPhone to record great sound. Plus the microphone is so small that I can pop it in my shirt or jacket pocket and easily insert it into my iPhone when I need to record something.
Plus the the TuneTalk has a stereo mini-jack for a line in, which means that you can easily insert an out from the master board line out at a show if you need to record something live.
I use this all the time now to record events, meetings, songs, interviews, inspirational moments.
iTalk application:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chromatic Kalimba

Another interesting experimental instrument by Tong Intruments:



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Tong Gong

I stumbled on to this link with a new instrument called the Tong Gong. The 6 metal tongues are attached to a wooden base. The tongues can be changed and placed in any configuration, and each tongue can be tuned over a range of several tones. Furthermore, the tongues can be fine-tuned very precisely. This makes a great variety of tunings and configurations possible.
It's produced by xx of Tong Instruments.

Here's a link:

Here's a couple videos:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Puck'n Stompa by Peterman

I caught a concert this weekend with N. Scott Robinson. During the show he was stomping on some awesome sounding, bass-drum like little black thingy. After the show, I went up and asked him what it was that he was playing and he showed me the Puck'n Stompa by Peter Sesselmann.

It's a great idea. It uses a real hockey puck, and plugs right into your bass or guitar amp.

Here's the link:

And a video:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More from the Halo Drum from Pantheon Steel

This first Halo is tuned: Minor Pentatonic 9 - C ding - F Ab Bb C Eb F G

For more info:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ZT Amplifiers - the loudest little amps in the world

Alright, so here's the story. I was in Vegas a few weeks back, checking out some live blues at the Sand Dollars Blues Club (the best live blues in Vegas, in my opinion). It was open mic night on Mondays and I was checking out the local talent, when one of the guys steps up to the stage with this tiny, cute little amplifier. He proceeds to plug it in and warm up. I am amazed at the sound quality (and volume) coming from this little box, so I approach that stage and ask him how many watts the little box has.

He says: "200 watts"
I say: "No way, 200 watts in that little box? You gotta be kidding me..."
He says: "Yup, it's a ZT Lunchbox amp"

So I go back to my table, pull my iPhone and google "ZT Amplifiers" right there in the blues club. Sure enough, 200 watts from an amplifier no bigger than a lunchbox. Incredible.

Here's a pic of the "cute little amplifier" with the monster sound from a 6.5" speaker:

You'll find all of the details here:

I don't own one (yet), but this little guy is now at the top of my wish list.

Anyone want to buy a 30 watt Crate Taxi amp, cheap?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Tonehammer Hang Drum Samples

I just discovered a set of Hang Drum samples from Tonehammer. I didn't download them yet, but I thought that I'd pass it on for those of you working on projects and don't have access to a physical Hang Drum, yet would still like to use the sounds. Here's the description from the site:

"The Hang Drum is a unique tone based percussion instrument,
which is almost impossible to come by, since there is only one maker in the
world and less than 1000 drums in circulation. The instrument has a soft,
sorrowful, melancholic tone to it and is a perfect companion for emotional or
ambient type of scores. The Tonehammer Hangdrum is unique in the sense it was
recorded at an average of 15 velocity layers and with 10 round-robin repetitions
pr. layer/note, so you will never experience any repetition in the articulation.
We used custom microphone set-ups to capture the delicate resonance both inside
and outside the drum, since the resonance defines the true sound of the drum.
Additionally we sampled multiple playing techniques with fingers, palm, slaps,
hand brushing and the back-side of the drum, which has the similar properties to
the Udu. Multiple versions of all multis allow for a variety of ways to switch
or fade between articulations while playing.

COST: $59

Formats: Kontakt 2 and .wav

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rufus Cappadocia and Friends - Pop!Tech 2008

This video blows me away. It's of Rufus Cappadocia at Pop!Tech 2008. This is cello music like you've never heard before...


Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Pantheon Steel Halo site is LIVE!

The Halo site is finally open on the Pantheon Steel website. There a four minute video posted on the site showing we may finally see the Halo shipping soon! I can't wait...
If you want to get on the info list or even the waiting list, every thing is there to make your dream a reality.

About the Halo:
"The 1st generation HALO is a bit larger than the Hang and is lower in pitch. Where the low D3 (Ding) resides on a Hang is a low C3 on the HALO and the first three notes in the tonal circle (F,G,G#) are lower than the lowest tonal circle pitch (A) on a Hang. Our Ake Bono scale is C - F,G,G#,C,C#,f,g,g#.

Looks like the price will be $1500 USD

With 2300 people already on the waiting list, the folks at Pantheon should be busy for a long time. I am in the first third of that waiting list, so you'll definitely hear my Halo, when the time arrives. Until then, I'll just have to keep dreaming and listening to the videos.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Great Guitar Intonation Article

Here's an excellent article on how to set the intonation for your guitar:

Patheon Steel HALO is Coming!

I am on the newsletter distribution list and waiting list for the release of the upcoming "Hang-style" drum from Pantheon steel. This drum is called the "HALO". Listen to the sound links below and you'll be hooked. This is going to be one awesome adventure...! Thanks Pantheon.

Here's the content of the recent email newsletter:

"HALO is now reality!

The developmental phase of the HALO has now become the production phase. For the past 20 months we have been working to contribute to this art from while respecting the originators by not making a copy of the original, but rather introducing our own unique process, material and sound. We feel we have stayed true to that in producing an instrument with a soulful and rich timbre of its own that is capable of creating a powerful sonic experience.

The 1st generation HALO is a bit larger than the Hang and is lower in pitch. Where the low D3 (Ding) resides on a Hang is a low C3 on the HALO and the first three notes in the tonal circle (F,G,G#) are lower than the lowest tonal circle pitch (A) on a Hang. Our Ake Bono scale is C - F,G,G#,C,C#,f,g,g#. The warmth and projection of our lower register creates a new tonal experience in HandPan playing. The helmholtz (internal) resonance of the HALO is being used in a new way that not only can be activated when the top dome is played, but also while the low F pitch of the tonal circle is played (depending on leg placement and/or tilt angle). You will also notice that when leg placement is correct it creates a 'pedal pitch' of C2 which remains active while entire HALO is played. If you listen closely enough you can hear this in the upcoming audio as well as the video. We are excited about the nearly infinite possibilities our manufacturing process provides. The 1st generation HALO might possibly be the lowest pitched production HandPan in existence.

You may be wondering why the HALO is being unveiled in two stages. So much can be missed while both listening and watching something. Therefore we have decided to release the audio track of the HALO before the video itself. We would like your ears to discover the HALO and all its harmonic abilities first. Please use quality headphones or speakers. Nothing is better than the real experience, but quality sound reproduction is the next best thing. Listen over and over to the many nuances as the HALO comes to life.

Part 2 of the unveiling (the video) will be sent in approximately 24 hours.

HALO audio 1

HALO audio 2

Kyle Cox and Jim Dusin
HALO creators
Pantheon Steel, LLC

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guitar Fret Calculator

I am working on creating a bass guitar from some scratch materials. I wanted to calculate that scale and fret locations as I am sizing materials. If you're looking for a nice, online fret calculator for any type of stringed instrument (guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, mandolin) then check out this link: