It was back in 1997 with the release of Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners’ book Digital Nomad when speculation began percolating about how technological developments on the horizon would one day allow workers to “once again…live, work, and exist on the move”. The phrase evolved into a genuine lifestyle for the fortunate few – a subculture of global remote workers perpetually working, yet also concurrently vacationing at the same time. Digital nomadism has quietly grown into a thriving global subculture deserving of its own conference, travel/housing services, and even cruise ships. Now we can also add a musical instrument designed with a moniker to match the idealized lifestyle: NOMAD.
Designer Orit Dolev found inspiration to design her own minimalist digital instrument after a trip with her guitar in tow:
I thought to myself: this would be a great way to meet new people by bridging gaps of culture and language through music. but the experience of traveling with this musical instrument turned out to be frustrating. The shape of the resonance box prevented me from putting it in my backpack and the strings would constantly break and get out of tune.
Dolev’s conclusion was to subtract the guitar down to its core minimalistic form, leaving only the guitar’s neck/fretboard with little much else. The resulting instrument evokes a very narrow skateboard deck with a more than passing semblance to sections of the Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair that can be strummed like a guitar, but with only the fraction of the weight to worry about.
An accompanying amplifier doubles as a case cover, protecting the instrument while folded over in a wood-as-bread submarine sandwich configuration. Playing instrument is accomplished with the NOMAD’s pressure sensitive frets and flexible Smart Strings, recognizable enough for anyone acquainted with the traditional guitar to immediately begin playing the NOMAD, with a notable and important feature for traveling bards used to toting an stringed instrument: the NOMAD never goes out of tune.