An Otamatone is a Japanese instrument that's shaped like a music note and sounds like a theremin or synthesizer. It’s important to know how to set up the instrument and adjust the sound settings to produce different notes. You use your fingers on one hand to play notes on the stem (or stem switch) while your other hand grips the base. Once you get a feel for it, you can incorporate techniques like vibrato, glissando, and squeezing the “mouth” to produce a wacky “wah” sound. The Otamatone was created to be a toy, so have fun creating all kinds of funky tunes!
- For the deluxe version, if the light doesn’t come on, you may need to change the batteries.
- If you plan to record a song on your Otamatone, it's best to use the loudest setting.
- The dots on the base are pinched to open the mouth of the instrument, which changes the sound from "woo" to "wah."
- If you are left-handed, it may be more comfortable to grip the base with your right hand and the stem with your left.
- A light grip is important because you'll be moving your fingers up and down the neck to produce different notes.
- If you have a digital version, the stem will have keys on it like a piano. The standard and deluxe models simply have a smooth bar that responds to the pressure from your fingers.
- Deluxe Otamatones start at C and go all the way up to a G-sharp (covering a single octave and half of the next octave), but some deluxe versions start at different notes (like from F to A). Refer to your Otamatone instruction manual to see how your Otamatone is set up.
- The standard model only covers a single octave covering C to C. Due to its small size, you don’t need to slide your finger very far down the stem to reach the next note. You can access a higher or lower octave by sliding the octave switch to the right or the left on the back of the base.
- Practice playing scales up and down, covering each note. Some people find the notes to be fairly close together, so the more you get used to small jumps from note to note, the better Otamatonist you’ll be!
In the following video, a Cellist (and proud Otamatone owner!) shares some tips for mastering hand placement on a fretless (a characteristic the Cello and the Otamatone have in common) instrument and “adding some love” to your notes using vibrato. While these pointers are based on the experience of a relative expert, they’re applicable - and quite helpful - no matter your skill level.