The ‘holiday itch’ is back in full force for musicians this year; and with a product this satisfyingly provocative, we don’t mind being your enabler. The Artiphon INSTRUMENT 1 is an next generation multi-instrument, and MIDI controller that encompasses an entire band within its impressively compact package. The versatility of its physical design, (something of a hybrid between a guitar and ukulele) allows the INSTRUMENT 1 to siphon between various play styles based on the users instrumental familiarity. Hold it like a guitar, violin, xylophone, and more, while playing sounds of all the aforementioned instruments, and then some, in whatever style you like— all at the touch of a button. The INSTRUMENT 1 was designed to simplify digital music production, effectively cutting your work time in half. It’s physical design is just one of many ways the Artiphon staff intends to innovate, and diversify a musicians workload; the other being on the DAW (digial audio workstation) side of things.
The instruments pressure sensitive finger board are a series of soft nubs for strumming, with decent response time, though it may offer a not so steep learning curve, that’s well worth the effort. Notes can ring out, or be silenced by placing your hand on the fret or finger board. Even their sensitivity can be modified to feel like a standard instrument (because they thought of everything) .
The potential of the INSTRUMENT 1 truly shines by way of utility, in creating both hardware and software that organizes, and simplifies the users DAW workload. Artists can produce music digitally easier than ever, all while still being able to utilize advanced techniques like Capo-ing, hammering, and more, at the seemingly thematic touch of a button. The Artiphon ios app, and the Instrument 1 editors allow its user to save custom presets for a project they might be working on, and has the luxury of overlapping with various other applications, like Garage Band for example. Changing preferences and customizing the instrument happen on the instrument from head to toe, whether the user wants to individually map notes, adjust the fret and finger boards nubs touch sensitivity, or its tilt, sensitivity and overall functionality are a few ways to make the device your own. Up to four presets can be saved on the devices internal memory with more presets save-able on the application itself; again, with the ease of a button click, because why shouldn’t life be easy? Pairing the ios app with other applications on a computer, tablet, and ios devices make projects feel a lot less like work, and a lot more like play.
The point of the INSTRUMENT 1 is to make your life as a musician that much easier. At a $400 price point it’s undeniably on the expensive side, but makes up for the expense by being an all-in-one device. Veteran musicians may feel wary about the instrument’s learning curve at first, but the time and effort is well worth the eventual improvement of time management. The INSTRUMENT 1 is a worthy addition to the arsenal of musicians, and non; because even non-musicians can experience the beauty of music making just for the joy of learning to play an instrument. The INSTRUMENT 1 a cracked door leading to musical creation, and anyone can enter as long they want to take that forward step.