The Harpejji. I've been wanting to get my hands on this for at least a year now, since first hearing about them (I believe) on Facebook. Then when I heard that Stevie Wonder played one for the General Assembly on UN Day last week, I couldn't take it anymore. I found that one of the 16-string models was living at the Museum for Making Music (museumofmakingmusic.org) in Carlsbad, NAMM's tribute to the history of musical instruments. Since I was heading to San Diego with the kids anyway, we swung by the museum – which has a whole hands-on sections and was a great deal of fun for me AND the kids, btw – and I formally introduced myself to Marcodi Music's (marcodi.com) first new instrument.
I love, love, love this instrument. After a few minutes with it, I was able to actually play stuff. Being a guitar player trapped in a keyboard player's body, this little wonder filled a huge gap for me. The notes are laid out differently than a keyboard or a guitar, but I totally got it. Honestly, it actually makes more sense to my brain and fingers than a piano does.
It's incredibly versatile and dynamic. As this video illustrates, you can do some clav-like comping, but with the added benefit of being able to bend strings and slide from note to note. Hell, you can slide whole chords, while keeping their structure intact en route. But as this video does not demonstrate – I was lucky my girlfriend had the presence of mind to shoot this much - I was also able to bust out some cool guitar-esque riffs and rhythm parts (I played some Smoke on the Water, natch. Sorry, had to.). The sustain is just lovely. Locking down the upper register and making it sing is something I'd have to work at a bit, because the frets are closer together up there. The 24-string version extends to the low end and has a separate output for those bass strings, which makes my brain explode with possibilities.
I want to build a pedal board for this thing. Pop it into a Fender Twin. It's crying out for a wah-wah and volume pedal. I want to buy it jewelry and paint its toenails. But the biggest thing for me, beyond the sound, is that it got me thinking about music in ways I haven't in a long time. Playing it made me want to learn a bunch of old songs and write a bunch of new ones. And since I left the museum, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it; there are still so many things I want to try and to master. I'm completely obsessed and can't wait to get my fingers on her again.
Well. At least I have this video.
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