3 Incredibly Weird (but Cool) Guitar Accessories
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The guitar industry has come up with some wildly innovative tools and accessories that have bettered the instrument. Things like locking tuners, wireless systems, and digital amps where all at one time or another considered quite weird. However, nowadays products like these now seem quite common and accepted by the community at large. So, what are those weird innovations that exist in the market today? I’ve listed my top three weird (but cool) ones down below.
Kicking things off we have a very interesting take on how the guitar can be played. The Hammer Jammer is a device designed to make your six-string into a plucked instrument. How is this accomplished? Well, the machine mounts to your strings right above the soundhole/pickup of your guitar. Once mounted, pushing one of the six buttons on the Hammer Jammer will cause a hammer to strike the string. The tone received from this process has been compared to both dulcimers and pianos, it’s a pretty unique timbre, to say the least.
As far as how usable this one actually is… it’s debatable. The original asking price being upwards of $70 is a little much for just buying one to try out. Additionally, reviews are fairly down the middle as far as quality goes. Many customers complain that the setup feels quite rough, having to bend certain parts to get things up and running. However, the idea here is very intriguing to me and many others looking to open up the possibilities of a guitars sound. There just hasn’t been enough of a punch for this type of thing in the guitar market. We will just have to hope to see better versions of the Hammer Jammer and like products in the near future.
Ever wished that you didn’t have to buy that self-tuning Gibson just to experience the magic of robots? Anybody? No, well then, you’re going to hate this product. But for the rest of you, it might be worth your time to check out the Roadie 2. This contraption does exactly what the name implies, it is an automatic tuner for string instruments (basses have their own version). Just place each of your tuning pegs in the opening and play a note, Roadie does the rest. Now, I know what your first impression is, “sounds like gimmicky garbage”. I had the same thought. But then I saw the price, $129. Weirdly, this actually encouraged me to dig deeper. To my pleasant surprise, this is actually a 100% legit guitar tool.
Let me paint you a picture many will be very familiar with. A guitar player with little to no expendable cash plays in cover bands and writes his own original music. This guitarist is constantly in different tunings for different gigs and songs he is writing. There is just one tiny problem, this individual only has one guitar. The players reading this are all cringing at the thought of having to change between standard to open G on the spot. Well, if this resonates with you, you need to pick up a Roadie 2.
The Roadie 2 shines when you look at its programmability. This automatic tuner can store 40+ alternate tunings in its onboard memory, which can all be accessed via the very well thought out mobile app. The more you look into this one the more the idea will grow on you. Weird? Sure. Pointless? Not in the slightest.
The Gizmotron is a fantastic polyphonic sustainer for electric guitar and bass, and no it’s not just an Ebow. Rather than altering the magnetic field, the Gizmotron utilizes six (or five on the bass version) serrated wheels that graze the strings. These wheels and their motor attached to the top of pickups, once installed, all you do is fret your notes and press the keys that activate the wheels.
Having all six strings capable of being bowed really opens up the possibilities compared to other sustaining options. Playing a simple chord can sound massive, just think of several violins swelling a triad together. In fact, that is really what can be used to describe this tool, a viola or violin effect. Just go listing to a demo, it is like an Ebow on steroids.
Truthfully, the only real con of this accessory is that it comes in at $299.99. While this price is not absurd it might hinder many just wanting to try one out. If you are going to pick one of these up, your likely to be in the mindset that it is like buying a new instrument. Regardless the Gizmotron is a seriously cool guitar “accessory”.
While I doubt if all of these accessories mentioned have a longevity of importance to guitar players, they sure are exciting to explore. Keep in mind that products like these are constantly being introduced every year. You don’t have to look very far into new NAMM products to see a trend of unique ideas for the guitar. While yes, many of these products are going to be duds, not all will be. Even things that only last a year or two can simply be victims to faulty marketing. So, for the adventurous out there, consider giving one of these a try, you might just find your “sound”. But for the rest of us, we will just have to wait and see what pans out.