1. Walkabout Guitar Body Hand Drum
Ever been at a party, or campfire, or just jamming backstage and someone starts drumming on the body of an acoustic guitar? What if that guitar were actually a drum? Walkabout has developed exactly that. Their wearable hand drum looks like an acoustic guitar sans neck and strings. It’s also got a strap and a 1/4″ jack to plug into a PA. Co-creator Bob Kilpatrick, a native of Sacramento, California, said some folks call it a wearable cajon or guitar cajon, but it’s not quite a cajon. The guitar-shaped body requires less structural reinforcement inside than a guitar, which allows for more resonance. The unique plus-shaped soundhole allows you to reach in and place a metal “snare” attachment on a magnet inside the body near where the neck would be. There are two models: the Venture, with a proprietary internal mic, retails for $299; the Odyssey, with the same mic and an LR Baggs pickup, retails for $449. Son Ian Kilpatrick, also working the company’s demo booth at NAMM, says plans are in the works for a completely acoustic version, which will retail for under $200.
2. Natural Acoustics Lab Shakers
Shake it. Shake it like a Polaroid picture. Or a can of paint. Or like the Queen of England waving at a crowd. Each action will yield a different sound and groove with Natural Acoustics Lab’s box shakers. They’re versatile, dynamic, and movement-inspiring. Founder Al Di Cicco calls them “little groove machines,” and it’s an appropriate name. Thanks to a patented chamber system, the 3″ thin square shakers have much more to offer than a maraca, egg, or even that vegetable-shaped shaker you always seem to end up using because it just has that sound. Different angles and motions give completely different sounds, and inspire new groove experiments. Wood choices include walnut, maple, lacewood, purpleheart and others, with a retail of $80-$100 each. A version made of teak was also on display at SNAMM with a retail price of about $30.
3. Kelly Shu Internal Tom Mic Mount
Kelly Shu has been making its internal bass drum mic system for about 10 years now, and it’s been getting more and more use on stages from sold out ballparks to cramped dive bars. For the uninitiated, the Kelly Shu Kick Drum Mic System is a semi-permanent, bungee-suspended, horsehoe-shaped microphone mount for a that sits in the middle of a bass drum, eliminating the need for an external stand and giving sound engineers more isolation of the drum without stage bleed. Now the company is working on a system for toms down to about 13″ in diameter. Husband and wife team Jeff and Kathleen Kelly came to Nashville from Nebraska to show the prototypes of their internal tom mike mount, which is scheduled for release later this year.