The Stylophone Returns!
What is it with Rolf Harris and wacky instruments? If he’s not assaulting our lugholes with his wobble board, he’s blowing into his jumbo didgeridoo. And let’s not even talk about those daft ‘ahoo-aha-ha’ breathing noises. Let us instead talk about Rolf’s finest musical moment: his association with the legendary Stylophone. Why? Because the brilliantly bonkers Stylophone is back and it’s just as entertaining as you remember.
Classic Stylophone box!
This “electronic organ in your pocket” was all the rage back in the 70s (3 million were sold apparently), and thanks to Rolf’s (over) enthusiastic ad campaign, most of us assumed the beardy paint-chucker had actually invented it. He didn’t, but he should have because the Stylophone was as inexplicably enthralling as Rolf himself!
Original vibrato feature
So what exactly is a Stylophone? Well, basically, this bizarre little battery-operated instrument is a box packed with transistors, resistors, diodes and other old-school electronic bits and bobs. The idea is to press the integral stylus against the various metal keys in order to close the circuit and emit a peculiar but unique squeal. Weeeeeeiii!
Tweak your wacky sounds
This re-issued version is just the same as the original except you can now control the volume (phew!) and play along to your MP3 tracks (bizarre). There are even a couple of all-new Stylophone sounds and a vibrato knob. Bonza! And if you think the Stylophone is unfit for proper musos, think again. Luminaries as diverse as Bowie, Pulp, Kraftwerk and Marilyn Manson have all used the Stylophone to add a touch of whiny ethereal lunacy to their recordings.
Whether you owned one as a kid and can’t remember where your mum hid it, or you’re a first time fiddler in need of an ironic retro fix, the Stylophone Original is guaranteed to bemuse, amuse, irritate and fascinate. Now available from various retailers for only £14.99 (or about $30), it is certainly worth the investment if you’re in need of cheering up on a rainy day.