Foamcore / Foamboard Mandolin

Rapid prototyping methods are the new wave of engineering. As manufacturing new test design move toward lasercutting and 3d-printing, I’ve been looking into one materials. Foamboard makes a great sounding board, and nobody seems to work with it So, I put together a quick foamboard mandolin based on the Saga Mandolin kit.

Here is the first prototype:

Foamboard Mandolin

Now, what makes a great sound board? Well first, we need to dive into some engineering terms.

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Kickstarter Electronic Recorder

Our friends over at Cantux Research launched their Kickstarter project for the electronic recorder synthesizer.

Ever since  The Outliers where Malcolm Gladwell popularized the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, we’ve been looking at electronic instruments that repurpose existing paths to virtuosity. To reach that 10,000 hours – an instrument requires a progression from which to travel from novice to master. Learning curves with existing teachers and learning materials come with a track record of success. The recorder fits the bill. It already has tons of books, videos and teachers. But, the eCorder takes it to a whole new level

On top of the recorder interface, Michael Shonle and his team has built a synthesizer based on Physical Modeling (PM) principles combined with subtractive synthesis. All the nuance of tone and voice control is used to drive a PM synth, which is then combined with some wicked resonant filters and DSP goodness.  Or take advantage of  its has MIDI and CV output, and use it to rock out on existing synthesizers.

We’ve written about the best kickstart musical instruments in the past, and the eCorder is one of our favorites. Michael designed his own case which is 3D printed, as well as the circuit board that is the underlying controller and the software synthesis software that is included. This is the future of musical instrument manufacturing indeed.

Go support this kickstarter project!

Best Kickstarter Musical Instruments

Crowdfunded musical instruments keep impressing. Innovators are taking novel concepts to the market faster than ever. We’ve assembled a new list of 10 great projects that raised over two million dollars combined. This list surpasses our previous, and now outdated, top ten musical instruments on kickdstarter.

Over one million dollars raised. Artiphon captures the essence of guitar, piano and even violin through a combination of a slick hardware interface and a smartphone. Gorgeous woodworking and years of iterative design gave birth to an instant classic.

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Keyed Monochord – Acoustic Modular Stringed Instrument

A look at some photos and video from the keyed monochord as part of the Acoustic Modular Stringed Instrument, wanted to finish this up before 2014 came to a close.

The module works as a stand-alone keyed monochord. It has a bottom plate & end plates where you can attach strings. Also, the octaves are independent and can be dropped into the acoustic modular stringed instrument.  The design started off with a cardboard prototype. After some minor corrections, a  wooden version was produced.

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