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Are we entering an era of disposable instruments?

Laura  Barnes
Are we entering an era of disposable instruments?

Technology and music has always gone hand-in-hand. Even before the invention of the electric guitar in 1931, musical instruments were evolving and adapting with the latest breakthroughs in techology.

Thanks to the world of science and tech, musicians can get huge, clear sounds of out powerful yet incredibly compact amps. Any budding producer can hone their skill in their own bedroom on virtualised instruments – they don’t have to be fortunate enough to have access to a studio full of expensive equipment.

At one point, technological advances in the MI industry were creating high-priced instruments that musicians would cherish and look after.

But have we advanced in technology so much that instruments are starting becoming disposable?
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Earlier this month, we wrote about how Pizza Hut has integrated functioning DJ decks into its pizza boxes.

This imaginative idea means you can scoff a pizza then sync the box via Bluetooth to your laptop or smartphone. You can actually select and mix together tracks just by touching printed out control buttons on the box.

And if a pizza box isn’t disposable, I don’t know what is.

OK, so mixing your Spotify playlist together might not technically be classes as playing an instrument, but what about 3D-printed instruments?

Formlabs has just created a 3D-printed acoustic violin, and not only does it work, it actually sounds pretty decent. It might not quite be ready to take over traditional wooden violins, but think of the potential.

The beauty of 3D printing is that you can share your print design files, meaning anyone with access to a 3D printer can copy your instrument.

While it’s still a little pricey buying your own machine, there are shops and services now where you can go and get stuff printed.

As the 3D print phenomenon increases, prices will continue to come down, meaning in the near future, expensive acoustic instruments could potentially start to be replaced with plastic ones, which will cost a fraction of the price.

While I believe traditional instruments will never go away – the acoustic guitar is still going strong after all – I can easily see this new idea of cheap and throwaway instruments and music making tools becoming more enticing to those looking to try out something for the first time, or perhaps parents not wanting to shell out loads on an instrument for their kids.

It will certainly be interesting to see where this trend goes and how the MI retail market reacts/takes advantage of it.

Tags: 3D printing , Opinion , Pizza Hut , disposable instruments

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