Eight years ago, California musician Andy Graham had a fateful meeting with a shipping crate. The container had a tightly-wound steel strap wrapped around it, and was slightly dented at the top, creating a small gap beneath the strap. By slapping that strap against the crate, Graham discovered that he could make all sorts of interesting noises. That experience motivated him to create the SLAPEROO, a unique musical instrument that we spied last week at NAMM 2012.
In the place of a shipping crate, the SLAPEROO features a long, skinny tubular aluminum body. "Floating" slightly above the length of that body is a very tight high-carbon steel strap, which can be tuned via a tension-adjustment nut at the top of the instrument.
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Music is created by slapping the strap against the tube with one or two hands - it can even be played like a stand-up bass, with one hand whacking the strap while the other handles the equivalent of fretting. Users can also tap the strap with a stick, play it with a bow like a cello, or do just about anything else they can think of to get music out of it.
A pickup inside the body converts the vibrations into an audio signal, which can be sent on to an amplifier or computer via a quarter-inch instrument plug in the back. Graham highly recommends expanding the creative possibilities by hooking the instrument up to an effects pedal.
The sounds that can be created with the SLAPEROO are kind of hard to describe, although there are certainly elements of bass and electric guitar present. Take a listen for yourself in the video below, where Andy plays one through a Digitech RP1000 effects processor.
The SLAPEROO comes in any color you want, as long as it's blue. It can be purchased from the product website, for US$599 plus $30 shipping and handling within the U.S.