NAMM 2023: InstaChord is the guitar-style instrument that even beginners can play, but will they want to?

NAMM 2023: Of all the retro electronic music gizmos that we thought would have a major moment in 2023, Suzuki’s Omnichord would have been pretty low in our list. However, already this year it’s received props from Damon Albarn and been confirmed for a reboot to celebrate Suzuki’s 70th anniversary, and now the Instachord - an instrument that appears to owe a significant design debt to the Omnichord - has landed on Indiegogo.

Promising “a revolutionary user interface and in-depth features,” InstaChord is said to be “an all-in-one game-changing digital instrument that provides effortless and limitless musical possibilities for starters and pros alike.” They’re not underselling it, then.

Playing InstaChord starts with selecting some chords, with each one being given a number. Then it’s simply a case of pressing the corresponding numbered button for the chord you want to play, and then strumming, hitting or pushing the ‘strings’ to trigger it.

You can choose from 128 built-in sounds (these conform to the General MIDI standard) and there’s a built-in speaker. There’s also a stereo line-out and Bluetooth MIDI. The rechargeable battery, meanwhile, promises 10 hours of play time.

As well as simple major and minor chords, you can also create more complex ones by pressing other buttons at the same time (7, 6, sus, add, dim, aux and inverted chords, for example). There’s a left-handed mode, too, which reconfigures the buttons and display for those who want to play the InstaChord ‘upside down’.

As things stand, the InstaChord Indiegogo campaign still has some way to go to meet its £30,000 funding target, but if you like what you see, you can pledge £302 to get a super early bird bundle that contains the instrument itself (in metallic black or pearl white) a case, a strap and a stand. 

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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