Having a bit of trouble figuring out where to start in learning to play your Otamatone? This guide will teach you how to find and mark the placement of each note so you can begin following along with simple sheet music and play your first song!
Before you get started, you'll want to remember that each individual Otamatone differs slightly in the placement of its notes and may even sound a bit different (we like to think it gives them character!) so you'll only want to use markings from any photos you find or from a friend's Otamatone as a general guide, since you may need to adjust from these positions slightly. The photo below depicts a rough estimate of where each note may be located on an Otamatone deluxe based on our testing, but you'll need to experiment with your own in order to get it just right.
Furthermore, while you may not be able to locate the exact 12 notes of the chromatic scale on your Otamatone, you should be able to find enough tones to play plenty of songs! Part of the fun of the Otamatone is its silliness - so don't worry about sounding perfectly in tune - just get as close as you can and have fun with it!
STEP 1 - MARKING THE NOTES
One of the easiest ways to figure out the placement of each note on your Otamatone is to use a tuner or tuner app. If you or anyone you know has a tuner for a guitar, this will work perfectly - if not, there are a variety of free tuner apps for both Apple and Android devices you can download that will work well too. An app is also ideal for those who have never used a tuner before because the interface is often far more beginner-friendly. If using a tuner, you'll want to find a quiet room since any background noise will be picked up by the tuner as well and will make it more difficult for it to detect each note.
If you'd rather not use a tuner, another way to find the notes on your Otamatone is to play the key for each note on a piano or keyboard and try to match that note with your Otamatone, noting the position of the note once you have it matched. If you don't have a piano or keyboard, you can use a website like this to play each note on a virtual keyboard or use an online tuner to tell you what note you are playing.
Using the above photo as a starting point, look for the first note on your Otamatone. (From our test, this was F.) Find this first note either by playing an F on a piano (see the image below if you aren't sure where each note is located on a piano) and finding a matching sound on your Otamatone, or by moving up and down slightly near the top of the stem until your tuner or tuner app reads an F. Once you've found this note, mark its position on the stem.
Going from this first lowest note to the bottom of the stem (from the lowest to the highest notes), mark each recognizable note. Marking sharps and flats between each may prove useful but it's by no means necessary, so you may either omit sharps and flats entirely, or only mark the ones you'd like to remember for the song you've chosen to learn. Because each note is not an equal distance from the next, you'll find you'll only have room to mark a few anyway, as you can see from our example above.
To mark the notes, you can either attach a piece of masking or painter's tape lengthwise along the stem and write your notes on it in marker, or you can find small number/letter stickers (such as those for planners or calendars) to stick at the location of each note. To indicate sharps, you may write or place a pound sign (#) sticker after the F note, for instance, to indicate an F# (F sharp) note to save space rather than writing out "F#" since space will be limited.
STEP 2 - MAKING MUSIC!
Finally, once you have marked all the notes you can find, search for some simple sheet music you'd like to play (music for the recorder may be a good place to start). Begin with a piece you know to ensure your notes are marked in the correct positions, then practice, practice, practice!