Sunday, February 14, 2010

omnichord is the future

This is the mysterious charity shop item, revealed at last. It's... an omnichord! That's me rocking out with it, although it is not exactly a rocking instrument. I plan to use it (once I manage to prise it away from Graham) to become the next Au Revoir Simone. If you click on that link you can see them using an omnichord, which means you won't need to read the rest of this long and befuddled-hangover-head blog post!

For those of you who have no idea what an omnichord is (I didn't know what it was when we found it, which seems strange now since our lives have pretty much revolved around it for the last month) it is an electronic instrument that anybody is supposed to be able to play, regardless of their musical ability. The buttons on the left make various rhythms and there are volume knobs etc. Sorry, I'm not doing a very good job of explaining - my head is very fuggy today. The rows of buttons in the middle play chords when you press them. The top row has major chords, the middle row has minor chords and the bottom row has sevenths. See the bit to the right there that looks like a circuit board? You strum that (with your finger or the giant rubber plectrum provided) and it plays beautiful twinkly notes that belong to the chord you have selected. It's so much fun! This one still had its instruction manual with a whole load of songs in it including Rhinestone Cowboy, which I intend to learn to play! Much to Graham's horror...

I can't believe it took so long to buy this. The day Graham spotted it (over 4 weeks ago!) it had just arrived and the lady in the charity shop said she had no idea what price to sell it at. She took our number and said she would keep it for us and let us know once it had a price. Afterwards, Graham said he'd probably pay £20 for something like that, but when we started looking them up on the internet, we realised they were selling for A LOT more than that. The more we looked at them, though, the more we really wanted it. We presumed the charity shop would be looking at the same internet sites as us. Graham started saying he would probably pay £50 for something like that. After a few days the shop still hadn't been in touch, so Graham phoned them. They said they still hadn't valued it and that they would phone once they had. Graham started saying he would probably pay £70 for something like that. We waited and waited and waited, but still the shop hadn't phoned. Graham phoned them again and they said it was currently with a musician being valued and he should phone back on Wednesday. When he phoned back that Wednesday, he was told to phone back on Saturday. When he phoned back on Saturday, he was told to phone back in a week. When he phoned back in a week... You get the idea! Graham started saying he would probably pay £100 for something like that. By this point, though, we were kind of resigned to the fact that we weren't going to get it. Since they were taking so long to set a price, we expected the price would be really high. Just what sort of research were they doing? I think we were also beginning to question our sanity - it was becoming a bit of an obsession and I was quite scared by how much we were willing to pay for something that we hadn't even known existed a month before that...

Anyway, on Friday afternoon the phone rang and it was the very apologetic charity shop to say they had finally priced the omnichord. They said they had been planning to charge more for it, but they felt really bad that Graham had been kept waiting so long and had been having to chase them up so... they said he could have it for £20 - exactly the price he had been willing to pay the day he first saw it! It was obviously meant to be his (mine! mine!) and it has turned into one of those nicely rounded charity shop stories. Graham has locked himself away all day, adding omnichord to his songs. Apparently it was just what they needed :)


  1. i HAVE to see this magical instrument in the flesh. or do i mean plastic? are you sure you can't dress up as a pirate on friday for a few sneaky pints? xxx

  2. Oh my god! Perfect instrument and perfect price - how could you not suddenly morph into a member of kiss?! x

  3. You are both welcome to visit and play with the omnichord. If we arrange it for a time Graham is out/working, we won't even have to ask his permission - har har! Lorna, I told you already - no fancy dress! Anyway, I'm scared you give me an electric shock with your pen and I end up on the tracks, chasing my list of drinks purchased and change received. I've heard about your sub crawls...


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