When Suzuki introduced the Omnichord in 1981 it had a profound effect on both music instruction and as a tool for professional musicians. An electronic musical instrument, it features a touch plate and chord buttons, making it almost too easy to play. Just press the chord buttons, strum the touch plate and you're playing dynamic chord progressions. Beginners can immediately start playing in tune, while professionals often use the instrument to help map out and shape songs, especially on the road.
The Omnichord has evolved over the years, but we still love the original OM27 (pictured above), with its preset rhythms with tempo controls and voice effects like vibrato. Over the years new features like chord memory were introduced. Collectible for both musicians and techies, you can find used Omnichords on eBay and other specialized sites.
The most recent model, the QChord (pictured right), features a midi interface and song cartridge capabilities as well as numerous other features. True to the spirit of the original but substantially more advanced, it is still a great tool for students and professionals alike.
Over the years the Omnichord has gained a cult following. Musicians that use the instrument include Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Dolly Parton, Elvis Costello, Bjork and others that might surprise you.