A whole crop of manufacturers and homebuilders of analog modular synthesizers has
mysteriously sprung up in the last couple of years. I suspect that
some sort of undocumented technology advance is responsible, combined
with some Empty-Nest Syndrome (meaning a little extra cash, and an
unoccupied bedroom or two) on the part of people of an appropriate
age to be nostalgic for these things. Here's the builders and resources I have
There's lots of old autoharps and related instruments
(ukelins, marxophones, etc.) out there. If you see
one you'd like to buy, it might be a good idea
to bone up on Autoharp Inspection.
Oliver Seeler has a lot of interesting things to say
He also has a lot of
good information for builders of brass instruments.
Chiff & Fipple
is The PostStructural Tinwhistle Internet Community.
It combines an enormous amount of information about penny
whistles with a generous helping of silliness. It's got
how-tos, reviews, Photoshop fakes of national figures,
anything you can imagine about six-hole fipple flutes.
They have a mailing list, as well.
makes the most peculiar guitars I've ever seen.
Instead of a wooden box, you get a balloon in
a guitar-shaped cage. (The Baschets
had this idea in the 1950s.) These modular instruments
break down to fit in a small box. And, they're
beautiful. (No idea how they sound.)
The Dactyls of Phrygia
are a performing arts group who develop music with
traditional and handmade instruments built from salvage.
The Dactyls have been playing improvised and original music
for over a decade on both homemade and conventional
instuments, including the flubaphone, the vestigial organ,
the suitcase-lyre, the buffoon, the pick-axe pickaphone,
the curlhorn, the clariphone, bones, etc.
Brian Dewan's Dewanatrons are gorgeous-looking and sounding electronic music instruments.
David Slusser pointed out especially the
Swarmatron, a ribbon controlled unison-cluster synthesizer.
Do you have a Yamaha DX7? I do, and the battery that
provides standby power for its voice memory has long
ago run down. When I get around to replacing it,
I'll follow these instructions.
Raymond Scott was a band-leader and popular composer in the 1930's and '40s.
He's best known today because his often off-beat tunes were primary source
material for many of Carl Stalling's scores for Warner Brothers'
Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Scott was also a techno-buff
and musical instrument designer. The work of his musical R&D company,
is documented in a 144 page book and a pair of CDs. (Also available
Product announcement at Gear Junkies.
Technology makes a very nice, if pricy, controller
knob called the Powermate
that plugs into a USB port.
It's a beautifully machined, free-standing aluminum knob,
with a glowing blue base (looks sharp, and makes it easy to find in the dark.)
I've been looking for a good-feeling, cheap rotary controller
for a long time, and while this isn't it (at $45, I can't
justify a dozen of them), at least it's got the good-feeling