Lacking in musical talent? Not to worry — you can still be in the band by looking the part with the Offerman Wood Shop Kazoo ($42). Maybe or maybe not hand-crafted by Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation fame from poplar and walnut and designed to fit easily inside your pocket/belt/bag, it's as serious as you can get... while holding a kazoo in your hand. [Scouted by John]
Tired of trying to learn guitar via videogame? The Fretlight Guitar ($TBA) is an honest-to-goodness instrument that will have you playing in no time. Thanks to a system of lights inside the fretboard itself, the Fretlight lets you see the correct finger positions instantly, without needing to glance back-and-forth from a book to the guitar — just hook it up to your PC or Mac, select a song, and go. Available in a variety of colors and styles, it'll have you ruining otherwise decent parties in no time.
If you've ever dreamed of owning a custom guitar but haven't had the dough for the real thing, these Unfinished Electric Guitar Kits ($125-$300) should be right up your alley. They're based on classic guitar designs like the Les Paul, Stratocaster, and Flying V, and include the body, neck, fingerboard with frets, pickups, tuning parts, bridge, pick guard, and hardware to build a right-handed guitar — all you need are some common tools, glue, finishing supplies, and time.
Half musical instrument, half aquatic-themed sculpture, the Whaletone Piano ($TBA) is completely gorgeous. Designed by Robert Majkut, its two-tone black and white body is meant to resemble a whale rising above the waves, and while your focus will initially be the shiny lacquered finish, inside you'll find features like a velvet interior, an electrically controlled lid, a flagship model of Roland stage piano with a built-in list of 500 sounds, a four-channel amplifier, built-in speakers, and an Ivory Feel keyboard. Built only upon request, it's the perfect thing to put inside your water-themed eco-mansion. [Scouted by Rich]
Yes, it looks a little like a science fair project, but make no mistake: the Noise Hero ($90) is no toy. This 4093-based electronic noise maker uses three oscillators, five knobs, eight switches, and one push button to output everything from light, Mario-esque beeps and bloops to grinding, NIN-style growls. As for the low-rent looks? They just add to the charm.
Making music with music isn't exactly a new idea, but doing so in such a direct manner surely is. These Recycled Record Guitar Picks ($5/6-pack) are hand cut from old vinyl records, with the edges sanded down to a comfortable smoothness. They're supposed to supply a crisper sound than traditional nylon picks, but we're sure they'll bring a touch of vintage coolness to your next jam session.
Overly ornamental vintage amps these aren't. P3 Amplifiers ($300-$5,200) creates great-sounding guitar amplifiers and speaker enclosures by incorporating everything learned over 60 years of tube circuit evolution, using the finest components available, hand wiring every unit, and placing them in military grade aluminum enclosures that make nearly every component fixable and/or easily replaceable, thus ensuring that the amp is around as long as you are.
As a general rule, guitar shapes haven't changed much in the last 40 years — and that's not exactly a good thing. Sinuous Guitars ($1,750-$2,150) aims to change this by offering up organically sculpted guitars boasting poplar bodies, hard maple necks, dual Humbucker pickups, and a range of rock-worthy finishes. And if you had any question about the company's woodworking chops, know that the founder builds Herman Miller's Eames Classic line as his day job. Yeah.
Oh sure, you could buy an iPad and over $300 worth of music apps instead, but then you'd miss out on all the colorful, tactile fun of the Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer ($850). This all-in-one sound box features eight built-in synthesizer engines, multiple effects, four rotary encoders, an FM radio(!), a built-in four-track recorder, a color-coded interface, OLED display, and 16 hours of battery life.
Just because you play guitar doesn't mean your den, office, or man cave needs to look like a stage. The new line of Yamaha THR Amps ($TBA) offers fantastic tone and versatility in small, decor-friendly packages. Powered by Yamaha's VCM technology, each THR offers multiple amp styles — including clean, crunch, and modern — in a single package, as well as USB connectivity, included Cubase AI software, and the ability to run off AC or battery power. Arriving this January.
Perfect your picking with Corter Leather Guitar Picks ($10/5-pack). Crafted in the U.S. using firm hides, these 5oz thick picks offer a warmer tone than their plastic counterparts, can be tanned and oiled to a carmel brown if you'd like, and even mold to your grip a bit, letting you focus even more on your playing, whether you're holding an acoustic body or a 12-string axe.
You paid a fortune to get your impossibly vintage-looking Jag-Stang just the way you wanted it, so why are you carrying it from gig to gig in a pedestrian case? The Brixton x Fender Guitar Case ($200) is worthy of carrying such a lovingly-crafted axe, with a vintage-inspired design, solid construction, and a near guarantee that it won't be mistaken for the opening band's gear. [Scouted by Eric]