,,,still have sbsolutely no idea of, is how did I manage to get so many views that day.

Yesterday was a slow day again - and I really don't know what else could I try. This month the U.S is the one that read my posts the most - and from there Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Hammond. I have no idea who's watching me from there, but I wanted to thank them. If you see this post again, maybe you could write a few words in the comment section so I know I'm not going mad?

Anyways, yesterday Ágota and I had a little debate about musical instruments, so this gave me the idea of posting something about them. The thing is, there are so many of them the post would be miles long if I would write about all of them.

So I thought I would select only a couple of them - a few that are probably less known- and introduce them to you.

1. The Chapman Stick
One thing you will notice right off the bat is that the Chapman Stick dosen't really have a body, rather it's just one big fat neck. It is an electric instrument and there are three varieties, a 8 string, a 10 string and a 12 string. It was designed by Jazz musician Emmett Chapman in the early 70s.

Since it lacks a body, the chapman stick wasn't designed to be picked or plucked but instead it is to be played primarly via tapping and fretting with both hands. Because of this the Chapman is able to sound off many more notes than the average stringed instrument. With every Chapman there are 4, 5 or 6 melody strings and 4, 5 or 6 bass strings. This enables Chapman players to play bass, chords and melody lines simultaneously. The Chapman is also known for its very unique tone.

Notable Chapman Stick players include Guido Ponzini, Don Schiff, Guillermo Cides, Greg Howard and of course Chapman himself. But the most notable is Tony Levin, he was to the Chapman Stick what Hendrix was to the electric guitar as far as popularizing the instrument and truly defining it's capabilities is concerned.


2. The Harp Guitar
The name says it all. Though this instrument is not too common or well known. Its not new, in fact this instrument is at least two centuries old. The idea is simple, an acoustic guitar but with an extra neck which supports unstopped open bass strings like that of a harp.
Harp guitar is a great instrument for those who specialize in acoustic music, its picked up a following with jazz players as well. One notable harp guitar enthusiast was the late Michael Hedges, one of the greatest acoustic guitarists who ever lived. Other notables include Muriel Anderson and Andy McKee.


3. The Pikasso

The first thing that comes to mind is, how in the hell does someone play that? How do you even pick the damn thing up? Indeed it does look like something the great Pablo Pikasso would cook up. But it was actually cooked up by Linda Manzer, one of the finest luthiers in the world, and it was custom made for Jazz fusion great Pat Metheny. It was Mathenys desire to play a guitar with "as many strings as possible".

A true freak among guitars. 4 necks, 5 main bridges on the body, 2 sound holes, 2 access doors and 42 strings. It took 2 years to create. Its rather heavy, it weighs around 6.7 kg or 14 3/4 lbs. It features a state of the art pickup system. The fretted six string section features hexaphonic pickup which allowed Metheny to control synthesizers and samples, simply by playing this instrument.

Only two Pikassos have ever been made, one for Metheny, and a strictly accoustic version for the late Scott Chinery, it is simply known as the Pikasso II, and was recently on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.


4. The Daxophone
This crazy thing was invented by Hans Reichel, its a friction idiophone, similar to the musical bow, only completely different. Its made up of a thin wooden blade fixed in a wooden block. Theres usually a mic attached, and its usually supported by a tripod. It is often played with a bow, producing a distinguished (and very obnoxious) sound and tone. It can also be struck or plucked. The fretting item in the second pic is used to control the pitch and tone of the instrument.

A wide range of vocal like sounds can be produced on Daxophone. Depending on the shape of the wooden blade (they come in many shapes and sizes) and where it is bowed.


5. Bandura

The invention of an instrument combining the elements of lute and psaltery itself is currently creditable to Francesco Landini, an Italian lutenist-composer of trecento. Filippo Villani writes in "Liber de civitatis Florentiae": "...(Landini) invented a new sort of instrument, a cross between lute and psaltery, which he called the serena serenarum, an instrument that produces an exquisite sound when its strings are struck." The rare iconographic evidence (Magnasco) points that such instruments were still in use in Italy ca.1700. Similar instruments are documented in Ukraine from the previous century.


6. Celestial Harp
The Celestial Harp is an innovative new musical instrument designed and built by Robin Armstrong. The original idea of the Celestial Harp was to play a person’s horoscope, or to play the horoscope of the very moment one was living in. The dream of musically expressing the healing vibrations of the heavens grew. It evolved into a sound sculpture synthesizing the Zodiac, the I Ching, the Pyramid, the Solar System, and the Stars in the sky. Since the sound or feel of the instrument varies widely, depending on the person or individuals playing it at any given time, we present 3 short unique sound snippets of the Celestial Harp.


7. Dulcimer
The dulcimer is one of the few original American musical instruments. It's ancestor, the scheithlot, was found in the late 1700's in Pennsylvania. The Appalachian people changed this instrument and came up with the dulcimer in the 1800's. The word dulcimer means "sweet song", and that describes it well. The Appalachian dulcimer is shaped like an hourglass, or like a woman, as many say. In those days women playing a stringed instrument were not allowed to stand in front of the men. So, they played the dulcimer, which was played on the lap. Originally the dulcimer was strummed with a quill. It can be played with a pick, bowed, fingerpicked, or with a short piece of dowel called a "noter". Different playing styles are used to bring out different sounds. Many chords can also be played on this instrument. Dulcimers are handmade and very beautiful. Most dulcimers have three to five strings, and while tuning modes can vary, usually only the first string is used to play melody, while the other strings provide drone accompaniment and backing chords.


8. Huaca
Invented in 1980 by Sharon Rowell in the California bay area, this multiple chambered pan-cultural vessel flute, based on the thousands of years old idea of sound in clay, is a radical innovation. Chambers are tuned to a specific key and to each other in a tempered fashion like the piano. The shape of the instrument reminds some of lungs or the heart, while the finish looks ancient and earthy. The huaca has three large chambers with a split mouthpiece allowing one, two or three notes to be played simultaneously.


9. Shruti Stick
The Shruti Stick is an electric small bodied 12 string instrument (6 guitar and 6 bass strings). It is tuned with a variety of different preparations principally high tension clips and individual mobile bridges in order to attain different tunings and “special effects”. To play the instrument, he decided to place it firmly on a short horizontal stand allowing freedom of both hands to approach the instrument percussively and in other ways. There are two custom made pick-ups: a custom made magnetic pick-up near the bridge and a custom made piezo transducer pick-up near the nut end of the instrument.


10. Waterphone
Waterphones are stainless steel and bronze monolithic, one-of-a-kind, acoustic, tonal-friction instruments that utilize water in the interior of their resonators to bend tones and create water echos.

The rods can be played with superball mallets, by hand or with a bow. When the tonal rods are sounded some of the fundamental tones and/or harmonics are sympathetic to the bottom & top diaphragms.