8 May, 2012
The Otamatone looks like a cool mini-synthesizer. You slide a finger up and down the neck to change the pitch, like a slide guitar or tannerin, and open and close the mouth for a rudimentary filter.
The problem is that you can never produce a note that’s actually in tune. It’s not a matter of precision on your part. It’s the fact that the pitch ribbon doesn’t work smoothly, but instead jumps from one pitch to another, none of which are in tune with each other or with the Western tuning system.
I bought one of these a couple years back and assumed I just needed practice until I saw the official Otamatone demos (one of which is above) and realized not even the people who made it could get the fucking things to play a single note that’s in tune.