Riyaz Professional

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Buying presents for music geeks is almost impossibly hard. If you're determined, there are a few simple ground rules: 1) Anything made by Moog, Oberheim or Sequential Circuits will make anyone happy. 2) Built-in loudspeakers are not a mark of quality. 4) A "Karaoke Function" is not always necessary. 4) Knobs good, buttons bad, wooden end panels excellent. 5) Dusty musical toys from thrift stores are surprisingly welcome, but don't be surprised if they're in pieces by New Year's Eve.
If that sounds too complicated, here are a few highlights from the Music Thing Christmas Gift Guide.


Kazoo

Electric Kazoo: Just $17.95, the Kazooka Electric Kazoo (Handmade in the USA) sounds like a distorted guitar or an analog synth when it's plugged into an amplifier.
Pink Flying V Ukulele: Four strings, $59, perfect for the rocker who's secure in his own masculinity.
Fernandes ZO-3 Travel Guitars: They're tiny little guitars with built-in amps, painted in tribute to Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately Japan only, costing around ¥40,000.
Riyaz Master Tabla Machine (pictured top): This is a self-contained, battery powered drum machine for Indian music, basically a tabla player in a little white box. They cost around $190 from Asian music shops.
Future Retro Revolution: It's a beautiful little boutique synth, with a built in sequencer for making bleepy acid house noises. At $699, it's still cheaper than a vintage TB-303 bassline synth.

The diamond-encrusted iPod nano