World Rhythm Finger Piano / Four Tone Box

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finger pianos and tone boxes may sound a little left-field, but for the adventurous musician, the possibilities of extending the sound palette are almost limitless.

Although they are not particularly viable acoustically, so rather than using off-board mikes with all the associated problems, Jazzwise amplified the two instruments using a Schertler moving coil transducer contact mike and put them through a Headway Shire King 60 acoustic amplifier which made for some intriguing results. Positioning on the body of the instrument, as might have been expected, is crucial to getting the optimum sound but once found, not only was the tone of the instrument faithfully reproduced, so too was the timbre. Needless to say, bass, mid and high end levels can be adjusted to suit the particular sound the player is looking for and putting an effects pedal into the mix can take you to musical heights you never thought existed. Although the tone box is a non-tuneable instrument, the finger piano can be tuned to a pentatonic scale or alternatively siting naturals to one side and sharps to the other. There is also the option of thirds, fifths and so on – the choice is yours. These are basic instruments, but they’re remarkably versatile and deserve greater attention.

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