The music industry is thriving like never before, and thanks to the internet, people can find music from different cultures, languages, genres, and themes quicker than ever in the comfort of their homes.Quite an upgrade from when we had to hear music from the local radio station, eh?
The music experience changes every few years. However, one thing that hasn’t altered in a while is the instruments used by artists to compose songs. Guitars, pianos, flutes, violins, drums, and other musical devices have existed for centuries, only receiving slight variations every 60 years or so.
Even then, only the shape or way the sound is perceived is altered. Very little has been done in these past few decades regarding the way musicians compose and produce their own songs, go about their careers, and utilize other instruments in their songs.
When musician Benzi Thee asked himself why his guitar can’t function the same way his keyboard does, he came up with OMB (OneManBand), a company dedicated to making a tool that changes the way guitar players compose, record, and perform.
What is The OneManBand Toolkit?
The OMB Toolkit is a device that converts the guitar’s vibrations into electric signals using a sensor inside the device. These electric signals then get transmitted into an app and are processed with no delay.
OMB makes guitars with this built-in tool, but they also sell it separately, so you can modify your personal guitar with the same technology.
The modification takes about 10 minutes and is done in a way that leaves no mark if you later decide to remove the device.
The device is able to pick up signals by detecting which strings you press. Currently, it is only capable of recognizing sounds of up to 14 frets, but that can change in the future.
The reason OMB is a gamechanger is because of the incredible features that allow your guitar to function much like a synthesizer.
Playback mode allows you to play along with the sound of a full, dynamic band which adjusts to your playing.
Very rarely does the guitar take the lead in songs, but with playback mode, the rhythm of the guitar is center stage as the song flows to the sound of your strumming.
Instrument mode is the synthesizer part of the deal. Using the app, you can produce the sounds of different instruments using only your guitar.
No longer are you limited to playing one role in the band. If you want, you can add a little extra flair to songs by adding in a violin, trumpet, sax, cello, flute… all at once. You now have the power to play a bunch of instruments with only six strings.
Guitar to MIDI is a feature that allows you to record MIDI directly from your instrument. With those files on hand, you can then use the music software of your choice to edit the results.
You can use the OMB app to control and mix sound. With it, you can record and then immediately loop it or play it back.
In playback mode, you can change the genre of the digital backup band, change the tempo, change the volume, mix, and add new musical instruments.
The OMB Foot Pedal
This extra device sold by OMB is used so that you can control the app with your foot wirelessly, leaving your hands free to play.
It has five buttons that you can program to your needs using the app, which is available on iOS and Android.
What The OneManBand Means for Artists
OMB is truly a device of its time. More and more musicians are going the indie route and doing everything themselves; the OMB helps make that process easier.
The ability to easily convert guitar chords into files for faster editing is a step towards more freedom and expression from individual artists.
Being able to play back your own songs will offer richer live performances for musicians that would otherwise have to play a single instrument alone or become part of a band.
Where Can I Get OneManBand?
OMB launched their Kickstarter in November 2017. The campaign ended on January 28th, 2018, and will begin shipping to backers in September 2018. Afterwards, they will sell it on their website for anyone to buy.
You can pre-order the OMB Guitar Toolkit alone to modify your guitar for $149 (the retail price will be $249), or invest in other pledge perks such as OMB electric/acoustic guitars with the built-in tool and foot pedal combo for various prices (which will also be a higher retail price once the Kickstarter campaign ends).
Will you give the OneManBand a try?