Why Don't They Make...
Ever wished some manufacturer would come up with a particular gadget? Tell us about it.
Welcome to Making Music's if-only-somebody-made-a-thing-that-did-this department. We all get brilliant ideas which any manufacturer could make a million from.
So why don't they? This column is dedicated to those moments of inspiration. Send us yours and there'll be free subscriptions to Making Music for the best three we publish.
To get you started here are 9 corkers — six from us, and three from the star-type person Tom Robinson who phoned us up to suggest the idea. We nicked it. Shamelessly.
• A lightweight flight case for your favourite rack-mounted effect so you can carry it from studio to studio in the back of the car. Only fully fledged metal flight boxes seem to exist for rack effects, and these invariably dislocate your arm and debowel your upholstery.
• A security system that would allow you to chain all the easily moved items of gear together at the end of a gig. After the last number you could put everything in its case, then link all the cases to, say, the heaviest speaker cab. Filthy thieves always go for the instantly portable stuff. You could then unlock the equipment, piece by piece, and carry it to the van to be chained up again.
• A cheap, full-sized, plastic keyboard that will fit over the top of any miniature synth and depress its tiny keys as you played the big ones.
• So many effects units and synth modules are now MIDI programmable, why hasn't someone developed a simple self-contained MIDI switch box with a long lead that would allow you to step through the patches by remote control. If the MIDI controller was linked to the system using the through sockets, you could change all the effects at once.
• An automatic count-in machine. A beats-per-minute metronome, especially for the drummer, which would give him a starting count at the right tempo. And why not make it mechanical rather than electrical so he could put his hand on it and feel the beat instead of having a sound patched into his earphones/monitors etc.
• Lockable DIN sockets for your MIDI outputs.
• A clock built into your guitar case (or guitar!) that would turn on when you took the instrument out, and turn off when you replaced it. You'd then have a record of exactly how long you'd played and it could form a digital diary reminding you when to change strings, carry out routine maintenance or submit it for an overhaul.
• A lightweight but sturdy keyboard stand that folds down to fit comfortably into a shoulder bag rather than uncomfortably into most of a transit van.
• Miniaturised effects pedals without knobs which are programmed by small incrementing buttons, like synths. You could then fit three or four into a Walkman sized package and use it at rehearsals or sessions which don't need the fast changes of a gig.
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