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August 13th, 2014 KATHRYN PEIFER | Culture Features
 

Buy Portland: Oregon-Made Music Gear

buy_portland_musicPhotos by Thomas Teal

Edwina microphone

Ear Trumpet Labs, eartrumpetlabs.com.

Philip Graham produces old-school microphones by hand at his Portland company. The Edwina mic ($499) has a large diaphragm set in a head basket constructed from plumbing flanges and stainless-steel bolts. The head basket is attached to a pivoting bracket for easy positioning and rotation in order to manipulate the mic while you bust out some vocals. The mic can be used onstage or in a studio.


Deck wireless speaker

SOL Republic, solrepublic.com.

This Wilsonville company was founded in 2011 by Kevin Lee, Scott Hix and Seth Combs, who say they wish to “rid the world of hollow-sounding headphones.” SOL Republic’s deck wireless speaker ($199.99) features a 300-foot wireless range and “heist mode,” a feature that allows five different mobile devices to connect to one deck, the only speaker that can do so. The wide wireless range is perfect for anyone who wants to DJ while also making it out to the dance floor.

 

Cello bow

Ken Altman Bow Maker, altmanbows.com.

Silverton’s Ken Altman creates impeccable bows for cellists, violinists, violists and string bassists. Altman designs and builds the bows according to custom order, creating them in such a way that accentuates a player’s talents and complements the instrument for best sound. This cello bow made with horsehair (starting price $3,600) is akin to an enchanted wand—handmade by a long-standing artisan with near-magical precision, using only the finest wood and inlaid with gold and mother-of-pearl.


White IKEA/Midcentury modern amp

Hovercraft, hovercraftamps.com.

The Portland-based company is unique in its craftsmanship: all materials are reclaimed and reused. This amp ($1,500) was built from an IKEA cabinet, hairpin legs, a recycled wood control panel and four guitar knobs. No two Hovercraft amps are alike in appearance or sound—guaranteed.

 


Brown leather guitar strap

McPherson Goods, etsy.com.

Comfort and durability are a guitarist’s first concerns when searching for the perfect strap. At McPherson Goods in Portland, these qualities are guaranteed, making the color of leather your only real concern. Scott McPherson handcrafts leather goods, including this vintage-style guitar strap ($60) with a solid brass buckle and adjustable strap. He also makes drum key holders, drumstick bags and purses and wallets, all from quality leather.


Atari Junk Console DIY kit

Synthroteck, synthrotek.com.

For the DIY musician, this circuit ($49.99) comes at an affordable price but also packs the punch for sweet-sounding noise. Synthrotek owner Steve Harmon first etched his circuits out of laser paper, acid and iron at a Seattle startup in 2009. He eventually decamped to Portland, where he remains dedicated to helping musicians make audio synthesizing easier and distinctive by answering questions about assembly, troubleshooting and technicality. The kit has five controls—for volume, rate and three oscillators—to produce a “junky lo-fi vintage asteroids sound.”


Dynamo guitar

M-tone Guitars, m-tone.com.

Portlander Matt Proctor remembers the first guitar he fell in love with: a blue paisley Jaguar in the window of a pawn shop. Today, Proctor designs and builds some of the coolest guitars in town. The Dynamo ($2,500) has an alder body, a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard. Weighing in just over 7 pounds, this guitar won’t strain your neck as you strum. Proctor never uses plastic or computers. He makes all of his guitars, many of them custom-ordered, by hand, and prefers steel for a clearer sound, cleaner appearance and better feel.


Pearl Case

Case of Bass, caseofbass.com.

At Case of Bass, you’re sure to get an amp that fits your sense of style. Handcrafted in Portland, the body of this amp ($595 with a battery system and Bluetooth) was constructed from a vintage suitcase, which holds two speakers selected for best sound and fit. You can add customized accessories to the amp, including input types, amp sizes, power supplies and batteries. While the team at Case of Bass uses some new parts, most of its products incorporate recycled material and older electronics.



 
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