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Friday, October 20, 2006

Music Gear for sale in Second Life

I've never been to Second Life, but - inspired by this Wired feature - I've been trawling the shops for cool music gear. Dissapointingly, I've found no vintage synths (supergeeks will have to make do with this) and rather a lot of new-agey crap. By far the most prolific SL music-gear-maker is Robbie Dingo - you can buy his guitars, percussion kits, pianos, bagpipes and Hyper-Flutes here. A steel drum costs L$120 (40 cents in real money), while a Hyper Flute - which seems to let you create your own music - costs L$3,000 (around $10). Most Second Life instruments are really toys - they'll play a couple of sound loops and animate with your avatar. Some are slightly more advanced: Robbie's 1965 Fender Stratocaster (L$400/$1.40) "loops a funky pattern that can be transposed via the menu system to any key whilst remaining in time". How many guitarists can say the same?

Robbie (who is British) has a blog about Second Life instrument making. His greatest claim to fame was creating the guitar used by Suzanne Vega when she played a gig in Second Life - as far as I can work out, this is just a prop - she was playing a real guitar into a microphone, whch was beamed into the concert. There's a great video about making the guitar here.

Other SL gear manufacturers include Neurocam Audio, who produce headphones and microphones. How does a microphone work? It "serves a purpose: It changes your chat to GREEN in the chat window, allowing the event host the ability to be noticed above noisy crowds!".

Finally, just L$1 (1/3rd of a cent) buys you a Cigar Box Guitar as featured in Make Magazine.

Does this all seem a bit strange to you?
UPDATE: A house full of synths here and a cool groovebox here. (Thanks, Stella)

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