Some unusual instruments used by One Ring Zero
Claviola: This focal point of One Ring Zero was designed by Ernst Zacharias in the 1960’s. Similar to a melodica, air is blown into a mouthpiece and then directed toward the reeds by pressing on piano-like keys. Pipe lenghts then shape the pitch. Read more about the claviola.
Theremin: An instrument designed in the 1920’s by Russian scientist Leon Theremin. Sound is created by waving your hands across an electro-magnetic field, but never actually touching the instrument; thus creating a series of notes tied together in a portamento fashion. Voodoo! To learn more about the theremin and where you can get one, check here.
Toy Piano: Dont be fooled by the recent digital versions. Not the same. You can find these gems on occasion at yard sales and thrift stores.
Melodica: A small keyboard that you blow into to create a sound. It uses free reeds just like a harmonica.
Bass Melodica: Smaller in range, but and an octave lower than the regular melodica.
Metallophone: An idea taken from Making Simple Musical Instruments by Bart Hopkin. See here. Much like a Xylophone, but made from metal pipes of varying length.
Jones-O-Phone: Named for inventor Chip Jones. The Jones-O-Phone is similar to an electric guitar, but weighs more than a small elephant. This eight-stringed-instrument is tuned in octaves and sounds extra dandy when played with a distortion pedal and a slide.
Megamouth: A small plastic megaphone found at toy stores for about $2.50. Relies on the basic principal of a vocoder.
Power Drill: Duh!
Bread Machine: The sound the blade making a single stir of the dough, recorded and then looped to make a rhythm track.
Cajon: A percussion instrument of Afro-Peruvian descent, most commonly used in Cuban and Peruvian music. The performer sits on top of the cajon and uses his/her hands to hit the sides. One side sounds more like a snare drum, while the other more like a bass drum. The word cajon means box. The word cojones means testicles.
Kitty Litter: Take your most expensive microphone and stick it as close as you can get to a box of kitty litter. Now stoke the litter with the scooper. Add a little reverb for flavor. Check out the song “Clock” from Tranz Party.
Thomas Solid State Organ: This was a hand down from Michael’s father. It’s an old 1970’s furniture organ equipt with foot petals, a drum machine and lighted keys. It was the heart and soul for the first couple ORZ albums. It has an actual leslie built in. And yes, it boasts on its name tag “Solid State.”