Lonnie Smith ,styled Dr. Lonnie Smith, is an American jazz Hammond B3 organist born and raised in the US. He was named the “Organ Keyboardist of the Year” in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009 by the Jazz Journalist Association. Smith has performed at several prominent jazz festivals with artists including Grover Washington, Jr., Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Donaldson and Ron Holloway. He has also played with musicians outside of jazz, such as Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Etta James, and Esther Phillips. Smith toured the northeastern United States heavily during the 1970s concentrated largely on smaller neighborhood venues during this period. His sidemen included Ronnie Cuber, Dave Hubbard, Bill Easley and George Adams on sax, Donald Hahn on trumpet, George Benson, Perry Hughes, and Larry McGee on guitars, and Joe Dukes, Sylvester Goshay, Phillip Terrell, Marion Booker, Jimmy Lovelace, Charles Crosby, Art Gore, Norman Connors and Bobby Durham on drums. With a rep of talents he has played with, it was awesome to have this guy come into the store to talk music and his upcoming European tour. He brought in these guys for some TLC:
Wow… is all I can say about his guy and his instruments. It was like a NAMM field day in our store. How lucky are we to see and observe a great player in action? Let me tell you a little bit of each instrument as many are scratching your heads looking at these things.
The Slaperoo Walking Cane
Imagine the look on the faces of your audience as you plug in your stylish walking stick and start shaking the room with deep, thumping bass lines, space sounds, crunchy guitar riffs, or anything else you can come up with?
The unique design originally was inspired by the unusual sounds created by high-tension steel strapping used in industry for securing shipping crates. It was discovered that this strapping on a large crate had some amazing musical qualities when struck by a stick or hand.
Inventor and percussionist, Andy Graham, set out to create a new kind of musical instrument using this steel strap, but with the addition of an electric pickup and means to fine-tune the strap. The result was a prototype that eventually became the Slaperoo.
The Slaperoo strap floats just above the length of the body, allowing it to vibrate and be ‘fretted’ like a bass. However, rather than strumming, the strap is struck or tapped with one or two hands, or with a stick.
It was discovered later that using electronic effects with the instrument created a whole new world of sounds. Held like a guitar, the cane can make anyone with rhythm sound like a slap-bass player. It can also be flexed to sound like an electric talking drum. Despite it’s small size, this thing sounds huge. The cane was custom made for Smith and now has become a legendary instrument to Smith’s arsenal.
The Kelstone is a 9 stringed instrument tuned all the way in fourths designed by creator Jan Van Kelst. The essence and innovation of the Kelstone is not so much that it is a tapping instrument but that the strings and hands lie in front of the player. This position gives the hands a lot of new opportunities and control over a string for expression and harmony.
If you want to hammer on strings, this is an instrument especially designed for it. And because of the new position of the hand all string-techniques like strumming, fingerpicking, hammer-on, pull-off, sliding, bending, playing harmonics,.. can be used and explored in a new and different way.
You have a total range of 5 octaves and 3 whole notes. Two fingers can overlap almost 4 octaves and all the notes in between. Chords and scales have the same figure in any key, regardless of the position on the neck (26 frets). As on the piano, you can assign bass and melody/chords to different hands. It has also a patented muting system that give quite a unique sound. Basically and literally one views a string from a different angle.
Some pretty in-depth instruments. So you probably want to know what they actually sound like….well here are some vids on what these sound like:
So there you have it. Some crazy sounding instruments I tell ya. We always love the unique here at Ant Hill Music. Bring you instrument for some TLC if needed or come by to shoot the breeze and we can talk music. Till next time, play well and play on!