Did you know that the iconic Stylophone is well over 50 years old, having launched in 1968? Over the years this little electronic noise-making toy has forged a place in the hearts of millions of people, and despite a rather dubious choice of marketing personnel in the UK at least, also saw several professional musicians use it in their work, including Davie Bowie, Kraftwerk and John Lennon.
Discontinued, revived and evolved with the likes of the Stylophone S-1, Stylophone GEN X-1, Bowie Stylophone, and now discontinued GEN R-8, the company behind it all — Dubreq Stylophone — is about to launch a new product in the brand. The Stylophone Beat promises to be an ultra-affordable pocket drum machine, featuring the same stylus and pad technology of previous models but with a few additional features.
For a start, the traditional horizontal set of ‘keys’ have transformed into a circular pad with twelve divisions on the perimeter and a central circle. Thirteen pads but you can make out the piano keyboard design around the circle.
The emphasis is on simplicity. There are four drum kits and four bass sounds, which include classic sounds and beatbox samples, as well as automatic tempo lock, multi-layer recording, and sound muting.
No fancy inputs (there are none) or outputs (a single speaker/audio out) and battery operated. This is still very much a toy, and is likely to retail for around $40, but we know how even musical toys can become iconic and find their way into “serious” music making. Even if it doesn’t, it’s fun.
Anyone interested in owning a modern piece of Stylophone gear can add their name to the mailing list and be notified when it becomes available. The company claims it will have limited units available initially. More details here.