Tired of playing the same old axes as everyone else? Consider pickup up one of these Bohemian Oil Can Guitars ($250-$350). They're available in two styles — Boho and Vintage — with the former featuring new parts, and the latter born from antique oil cans and lunchboxes, with parts sourced from used instruments. As you might imagine, the Vintage series tends to be the more interesting, as each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind. No matter which you choose, you'll end up with a fully-functional electric guitar that's far more interesting than your average Strat knockoff.
Make tuning your guitar a thing of the past by picking up a new model with Gibson Min-ETune ($TBA). This clever, battery-powered robot tuner can tune all six strings in just seconds, and delivers over 75 tunings per charge. To do so, it tunes your physical strings — as opposed to digitally, which can result in degraded tone — and gives you access to 12 common alternative tunings, including six that you can program yourself. Available on a wide range of Gibson SG and Les Paul guitars.
Take control of your music composition and performances like never before with the Ableton Push ($600-$1,200). This new instrument is powered by the USB cable that connects it to Ableton Live on your computer, giving you nearly endless creative options. The hardware itself — built by pad controller experts Akai Professional — consists of 64 velocity- and pressure-sensitive multicolored pads, with a layout that adapts to the track you have selected, along with a touch strip, 11 touch-sensitive endless encoders with a four-line LCD to show what you're working with, a bevy of knobs and buttons, and ports for foot switches to add even more control. Shipping in 2-3 months with either Live 9 Intro, Live 9 Standard, or Live 9 Suite.
You don't need to be a platinum artist to enjoy the Pioneer RMX-1000 Remix Station Platinum Edition ($1,000). This smallish instrument/device lets you create and utilize a wide range of remix effects, split up on-machine into four separate groups — Isolate FX, Scene FX, X-Pad FX and Release FX. Hardware includes RCA and quarter-inch inputs and outputs that sit alongside a USB port that turns the entire thing into a controller for many audio programs. Pretty much the only thing it can't do is supply you with musical ability.
We're not 100% sure where you'd be traveling that you'd need all the ruggedness of the Alpaca Travel Guitar ($575), but we are sure that if you do need it, you'll be glad to have it. Handcrafted in Vermont from carbon fiber, flax fabric, and bio-derived resins, this waterproof instrument features a headless neck, a soundhole near the forward part of the body, an embedded daisy chain on the back for connecting it directly to any outdoor gear — think backpack or rucksack — and a three-point strap system.
Straddling the line between a hard case and a gig bag, the Bowoo Guitar Case ($320 and up) promises to be the last case you'll need. Handcrafted in Vermont, it features a rugged Cordura exterior, a soft, Velcro-friendly interior lining, an included neck rest block, and suede on the case handles, headstock and soundhole paddings, and shoulder straps. In addition, it also offers reinforced seams, metal hardware, a rigid internal frame with 20mm of interior padding, straps that convert from a single shoulder to backpack-style, and enough room for everything from an electric all the way up to a full dreadnaught, all in a package that's half the weight of a traditional hard case. Shipments begin next month.
Blurring the lines between a piano and a guitar, the Seaboard ($TBA) is a new musical instrument that offers the form factor of the former and many of the traits of the latter. Thanks to a soft, three-dimensional surface that's laid out as a standard row of keys, the Seaboard gives you full control of pitch, volume, and timbre simply by touching the keys. SoundDial software lets you control the instrument's sound, giving you a unique opportunity — since only 88 are being produced at first, you won't have to worry about the band down the street playing the same thing.
We're not going to lie — we were pretty flabbergasted that there hadn't already been a top-loading guitar case. Yet here we are, staring at the Mono Vertigo Guitar Case ($205), which claims to be the world's first. Aside from the aforementioned loading breakthrough, the Vertigo also features a redesigned Headlock system that automatically clamps your headstock in place, protecting it from side-to-side impact and backward drops, and a custom molded rubber outsole/EVA insole on the bottom, dubbed The Boot, that protects against vertical drops. All you need to do is load your axe, strap it on your back, and go.
Anyone who's ever resorted to playing their axe with a quarter knows what a great tone can result — as well as how fast doing so will wear out your strings. Now these Coin Guitar Picks ($10-$30) are here to offer the best of both worlds. Made from actual quarters, dollars, and pennies, these unique picks offer the metallic makeup that provides the tone, as well as a liquid smooth beveled edge to keep your strings intact. Rock on, George.
Combine the joy of making music with the nostalgia of a classic arcade machine with Pianocade ($250-$325). This powerful synthesizer is designed to sound, look, and feel like a vintage arcade game, offering a 128-note range, 5-pin and USB MIDI connectors, and either one or two octaves worth of buttons. Feel like customizing your own? You can buy the electronics by themselves for $100.
The number of awesome audio apps seems to grow by the day — yet getting your real-world gear to interface with your devices still requires messy dongles. Or at least it did. The Fender Squier USB Stratocaster Guitar ($200) sports a built-in mini-USB connector that lets you hook directly into your iDevice, Mac, or PC, as well as an onboard headphone jack with volume control. Of course, it's still a Strat, so you can also plug it into any amp and rock out the old fashioned way — the choice is yours.
Lacking in musical talent? Not to worry — you can still be in the band by looking the part with the Offerman Wood Shop Kazoo ($42). Maybe or maybe not hand-crafted by Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation fame from poplar and walnut and designed to fit easily inside your pocket/belt/bag, it's as serious as you can get... while holding a kazoo in your hand. [Scouted by John]