Beyond the Keytar

The greatest instrument in the history of rock n’ roll is unquestionably the only instrument that combines two of the greatest instruments in the history of rock n’ roll:

The keytar—part keyboard. Part guitar. All keytar.

By Phil Davies & Taylor Harkey
In the early ’80s, the keytar gave keyboardists the freedom to shred like a lead guitar player, owning a spotlight on stage for the first time ever and ending what was commonly known as the Piano Virgin Era. Other hybrid instruments have tried to rival the stage presence of the keytar, but none have come close. So to prove it, we’ll show you the hybrid instruments that paled in comparison to the quintessential portmanteau of rock.

Drum + Mandolin = DRUMDOLIN

Description: Bluegrass musician Jimbo “Hee Haw” Hawthorne invented the Drumandolin after being struck by lightning in 1972 at the annual Bluegrass Jamboree in Greengables, South Carolina. The Drumandolin was featured on his single “If It Ain’t Brokened” and is the only album that features a drum and mandolin solo at the same time.

Sounded like: A garbage man rolling trash cans through a bluegrass festival

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Trumpet + Piano = TRUMPIANO

History: The Trumpiano was invented circa 1988, featuring a trumpet mouthpiece on the side of a piano that allowed players to blow into it while using three piano keys to create a song-like object. The instrument was eventually deemed unsanitary and violated several laws in Oregon.

Sounded like: An orca whale giving birth to a piano

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Cello + Oboe = CELLOBOE

History: The Celloboe is a classical instrument that combines the two least popular instruments in music. With the body of a cello and the sound of an oboe, the celloboe was as uncomfortable to carry as it was to listen to.

Sounded like: The theme to Jaws, drowning

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Saxophone + Harp = SAXOPHARP

History: The saxopharp was first manufactured in Paraguay and imported to the United States for the purpose of torturing prisoners. While the saxopharp was never sold commercially, the government did adopt it for interrogating spies. While the US did not find any WMDs, they did locate other saxopharps through interrogation with the saxopharp.

Sounded like: Guantanamo Bay in the summer

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Harmonica + Congas = HARMONICONGAS

History: Drum circles all across the world were looking for an instrument that could carry a beat, but also hold down a tune. The Harmonicongas were invented as a solution that not only kept the beat going strong, but could cover any song by Blues Traveler.

Sounded like: John Popper at Burning Man

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Tuba + Banjo = TUBANJO

History: Marching bands in West Virginia were having a tough time covering Dueling Banjos accurately. So the University of West Virginia, through a state-funded grant, began creating the tuba banjo (tubanjo) that would bring pride back to their great state. Today, the Tubanjo Scholarship is awarded to one deserving student every 250 years.

Sounded like: Halftime in the movie Deliverance

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Trombone + bagpipe + piccolo = TROMBAGPIPICCOLO

History: The tombagpipiccolo was the first tri-hybrid instrument of its kind, and the last. The instrument debuted at NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) where it sparked an attendee protest that resulted in an estimated 800 refunds and a lifetime ban of the trombagpipiccolo from the trade show. Scotland declared March 29th Official Never Speak of the Trombagpipiccolo Again Day.

Sounded like: A man in a kilt being clubbed to death by a piccolo while playing a trombone

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