By Andrew Liszewski
The accordion has never been considered a ‘cool’ instrument and if someone like Weird Al can’t make it popular I don’t think anyone can. But while the Thummer appears to take some of its design cues from the accordion that’s where the similarities end. Besides being far easier to learn and play the Thummer also includes a couple of joysticks that look to have been salvaged from a dual-shock controller. If you’re looking for a way to encourage kids to play an instrument this is probably a clever way of doing it. But the joysticks also provide some very useful functionality when it comes to playing the Thummer.
The thumb-operated joysticks have similar mobility to the human shoulder and wrist. Each thum-stick has two DoF- technically, that’s four degrees of freedom. The left thum-stick controls brightness (muting/muffling) and expression (instrument volume). The right thum-stick controls portomento (sliding between two notes), modulation (a quavering or pulsating effect produced in an instrumental by minute and rapid variations in pitch) and pitch (which can be bent up or down).
The Thummer is still under development and isn’t available for sale as of yet but if you’re curious as to how it sounds I’ve included a video of it being played after the jump.